How to Make Butterfly Wings for Children

Updated November 22, 2016

A fun way for children to play pretend or dress up for Halloween and birthday parties is to be a butterfly. Although costuming stores are available, you can easily make butterfly wings for children with old supplies you have lying around the house. Creating the wings can be done as a surprise, or work as a group to get the children involved in making their own set of butterfly wings.

Pull on the bottom of a coat hanger to change the shape into more of a tear drop shape, with the twisted part near the hook as the point of the tear drop. Use your pliers to bend the wire as needed to smooth out the edges. Do this for all four coat hangers.

Pair two of the coat hangers together to be the top wings and two to become the bottom wings. Adjust the shapes of the wings as desired, adding curves, bends or other angles. Be sure the two top wings are reverse opposites and the two bottom wings are reverse opposites of each other.

Use the pliers to straighten out the hooks of the hangers. Pair up a top and bottom wing with the pointed ends together. Hold the two wings together by twisting the hooks around one another twice, leaving the ends of the hooks sticking out. This intersection should look like an X with the two wings on one side and the remaining few inches of hook stems on the other side. Repeat this step with the other top and bottom wing pair.

Slip one leg of a pair of tights or pantyhose over one wing and pull the tights down so the toe portion is over the end of the wing. Cut across the base of the hose a few inches below the intersection and tie two portions of the hose opening to one another around the twisted hooks. Repeat this step with each wing portion until all four are complete.

Attach the two pairs of wings by bringing them together with the hook stems all coming together in the centre. Twist the hooks around one another to connect the wings and form one unit. Cut a 2-foot strip of your ribbon and loop it all around the centre piece of the wings in a figure eight to fully cover the hook ends. Tie the ribbon along the back side of the wings.

Decorate the wings as desired by painting on a clear drying craft glue and sprinkling glitter over the glue before it dries. Any patterns you want can be created with multiple colours and shapes. Let the glue dry thoroughly for a few hours.

Cut two more strips of 2-foot long ribbon. Tie each ribbon to the centre intersection of the wings, leaving the tails an equal length. Put the wings on the child by bringing one ribbon over the shoulder and another under an arm and tying together in a bow on each side.


Have the children look over pictures of butterflies before they begin to get an idea of the shapes of the wings as well as the colours. This will allow them to better communicate what they want their wings to look like as you help them.

Things You'll Need

  • Four wire coat hangers
  • Pliers
  • Two pairs of tights or strong pantyhose
  • Scissors
  • 4-inch wide ribbon, 6 feet
  • Clear drying craft glue, such as Mod Podge
  • Paintbrush
  • Glitter
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