How to Make Butterfly Wings Out of Fabric

Updated July 20, 2017

You can easily duplicate the expensive look of fabric butterfly wings that are found in speciality stores without knowing how to sew and with very little effort. With all the beautiful fabric available for purchase, your custom-made butterfly wings can be as individual as you are. They can be left simply fabric, or embellished with glitter, buttons, beads, lace or anything else you wish. The options are endless.

Cut the cardboard box along the entire length of a corner with the box cutter. Open it up so it lays flat on the ground as a large sheet of cardboard.

Draw out the shape of the butterfly wings onto the cardboard using a pencil. When you are happy with the shape of your butterfly wings, use the box cutters to cut out the shape. It should be in one big piece with the wings connected.

Cover the entire front and back surface of your cut-out cardboard butterfly wings with duct tape. This is to help the wings be sturdier and more durable.

Lay the fabric out on a flat surface with the right-side down. Lay the cardboard wings down on top of the fabric. Use the fabric marking pen to trace the entire outline of the cardboard wings onto the fabric.

Add an extra inch to the outline of the wings on the fabric to allow for the material to hang over the edge of the cardboard, and mark with the fabric pen. Cut out the fabric on this new line. Repeat Steps 4 and 5. There should now be two pieces of fabric that are slightly bigger than the cardboard wings.

Cover a flat surface with newspaper that is larger than the wings. This is to avoid getting the spray adhesive on your surface. Lay out one of the cut-out fabric wings on a different flat surface with the right-side down. You want the plain, back side of the material facing upward. Put the cardboard wings on top of the newspapers. Spray with the spray fabric adhesive until one side of the cardboard wings is completely covered.

Pick up the cardboard wings, turn them over so the adhesive side is pointing downward, and centre them onto the fabric wings. Press down all over the cardboard wings to ensure a good bond between the cardboard wings and the fabric. When finished, you should see 1 inch of the wrong side of the fabric all around the edge of the cardboard wings.

Throw out the newspaper you previously used. Lay out more newspaper, and move the cardboard wings with the fabric attached to one side onto the newspaper. The cardboard side of the wings should be up with the fabric on the newspaper. Lay the remaining piece of fabric on a flat surface with the right-side down. The plain, back side of the fabric should be facing upward.

Spray the cardboard wings and the extra inch of fabric peeking along the edge of the cardboard with the spray adhesive. Spray until the adhesive is completely covering the cardboard and fabric is showing at the edges.

Pick up the cardboard wings, turn them over so the fabric side is up. Position them directly over the remaining piece of fabric. With the edges of the fabric lined up, place the cardboard wings down onto the fabric pressing all over to ensure a good bond between the fabric and cardboard. Both sides of the cardboard are now covered in fabric.

Allow ample time for the adhesive to dry per the manufacture instructions. If you are going to embellish the wings, do so after they are dry.

Make a fold line down the centre, between the wings, using the back of the butter knife. Gently fold the wings along this line.

Cut two pieces of ribbon, each 3 feet in length. Lay the fabric-covered wings with the folded-side down on a flat surface. Determine the centre of both pieces of ribbon, and place the ribbon centre along the ridge of the wings fold, about a third of the way down from the top of the wings. Staple the ribbons to the wings.

Pick up the wings to place them on the person's back. Tie the ribbons around the shoulders.


Always use proper precautions when working with box cutters, scissors and staplers to avoid injury.

Things You'll Need

  • Large, sturdy cardboard box
  • Scissors or box cutter
  • Duct tape
  • Fabric
  • Fabric marking pen
  • Scissors
  • Newspaper
  • Spray fabric adhesive
  • Embellishments (optional)
  • Metal butter knife
  • Ribbon
  • Stapler
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About the Author

Melody Gould has been writing since 2004 for various websites. She has a degree in accounting and is currently pursuing a dual Associate of Science in computer programming/design and Internet service technology.