There's something magical about a pair of organza fairy wings. The transparency of the fabric, the glittery sheen on the wingtips---a child could play dress-up for hours on end. Whether making a dress-up costume for a child or someone else, or constructing tiny wings for fairy dolls, you can modify and adapt the design directly to your needs. They're simple enough to make that you may find yourself making more than one pair, because everyone knows that fairies enjoy company.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- 12 gauge wire
- Combination wire cutters/needle-nose pliers
- Ironing board
- Organza fabric (any colour), 3 yards
- Hot glue gun with glue sticks
- Ribbon (any colour)
- Fabric paint (any colour)
- Glitter (any colour)
- Braided elastic, 3 feet long, 1 inch wide
Design your wings. Take some time to draw, using pencil and paper, the wing shape you'd like to make. Having the silhouette on paper will help guide you in the second step.
Cut two lengths of 12 gauge wire, one for each wing frame. The length will depend on the wing size you're making; for a child, cut the wire to 3 feet. You can err on the longer side if there are a lot of bends and tips in your wing design.
Lay the wire on the floor to shape the wing frame. It's important to shape it flat so that the organza is easier to affix in Step 7. Starting 7 inches into one end of the wire, use the needle-nose tip on the wire cutters to begin to bend it into the shape of your design. Work your way from the inside of the wing, where it would hit at about the shoulder blade. At the end of your wing frame, you should have roughly another 7 inches of wire left.
Bring the two free ends of wire (each 7 inches long) together and intertwine them 3 inches, thus closing the wing shape. Now you will have one 4 inch piece of free wire with which to construct the harness. Use the first wing as a guide in making the second wing, so that the two wings are the same.
Iron the organza to make it wrinkle-free.
Lay the full fabric on the floor. Place both wings on top of it. Cut the fabric to the shape of each wing by leaving the wings on top of the fabric while cutting. There should be 1 inch of extra fabric around each wing shape. Cutting need not be completely neat and accurate, as the excess fabric will be wrapped and glued to the frame in Step 7.
Make cuts---toward the wing frame---into the excess fabric, all around the frame, 1 inch apart. Put a line of hot glue on the wire frame, along the length of one of the flaps (1 inch of fabric). Pull the flap to tighten the fabric as you wrap the flap around the wire and glue it down. Repeat the gluing, tightening and wrapping with each flap of fabric around the entire wing. Carefully cut away excess fabric---if there is any---from the glued flaps. Repeat Steps 6 and 7 with the second wing.
Bring the wings together. Intertwine the 4 inch excess length of wire from the rightwing with the 4 inch excess length of wire from the leftwing, creating a single wire, or harness, to connect them. Cover the harness wire by wrapping ribbon around them. Tie the ribbons off.
Use the fabric paint to paint designs or veins on the wings. While still wet, sprinkle the glitter over the paint. Allow it to dry fully.
Cut the length of braided elastic in half. Tie one length to the top left side of the harness and the other end right next to it, creating an armhole for the left arm. Repeat on the right side, creating the right armhole.
Tips and warnings
- You can do research to help begin and refine your design. Fairy wings from art---old and new---as well as unique insect wings (dragonflies or butterflies) are good sources of inspiration. Fishtails are like underwater wings, so there are some interesting shapes to be found in fish also.
- Wings can be decorated as much or as little as desired. They can be partially painted, and flowers or feathers can be added---use your imagination.
- Use caution when ironing---one or two passes over the organza, at a low heat, is all that's necessary.
- Glue from a glue gun is hot enough to burn skin as it exits the gun; even though it cools rapidly, use the glue gun precisely and cautiously. Remember that if you make a mistake, you can gently scrape off the glue once it has cooled a bit.
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