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Making No-Sew Fairy Wings

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Raye loved playing dress-up so much that she went on to study costume and makeup for her BA, then got an MFA in surface design.

Lacey Wings

Beautiful wings in the costume contest from Faeriecon West

Beautiful wings in the costume contest from Faeriecon West

Angels, Butterflies & Faeries

Making your own fairy wings can be a fun project to do with kids, or a great way to get the exact look for a costume you are creating. The definition of fairy wings has grown beyond just simple fairies to encompass all sorts of wings with variations existing that are appropriate for angels, butterflies and gothic bat wings.

And they've gone beyond just being a Halloween feature. Fairy wings are good for dance clubs, spring festivals, rainy days and Burning Man. You can't go to a sci-fi or costume convention without seeing dozens of variations. And I've even know of a bride or two who made fairy wings part of their wedding dress.

The biggest fear most people have when it comes to the idea of do-it-yourself wings is having to sew. FEAR NOT!... What you'll find here are some great "no-sew" ways to make your own fairy wings!


Hub Table of Contents - Quick Links to Take You Right Where You Want to Go

Glitter Wings

Fantasy Wings

a winged unicorn outside PAX Seattle

a winged unicorn outside PAX Seattle

Light-Up Wings

Getting Started

The very first thing you need to do before you start making any wings is to decide what they are going to look like. This lets you plan everything else that comes next and will help you figure out just what you can do with the time you have to make them and what sort of budget you will need. Wings do not have to be expensive unless you aren't willing to settle for something that can only be made expensively.

Sit down with some blank paper, your preferred drawing tools (pens, pencils, crayons) and make a really rough sketch of what you want the wings to look like. Don't worry about exact sizes just yet, but give yourself a good idea of the wing shape, colors and any patterns. You may find you have to spend time online or at the library looking at books full of pictures of butterflies or illustrations of faeries before you can make up your mind.

Once you get done with that part, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How many times are these wings going to be worn?
  2. How sturdy do they need to be?
  3. Will they be worn inside or outside?

Based on your answers to yourself, it will start to give you an idea for how simply you can make your wings, or not. If you need to be outside and it might rain, you don't want to make wings from tissue paper but cardboard sprayed with a waterproof sealer might get you through a one-day event just fine. If you are going to wear them once and then just get rid of them, making them out of thick paper or tissue glued over thin wire might be the quick-and-cheap option you are looking for.


Bellydancer Wings

A flower decorated spine with glitter spirals and leafy trim

A flower decorated spine with glitter spirals and leafy trim

How To Make Wings For A One-Time Event

There are a couple of ways to make fairy wings for those of you in a hurry or who don't have too much in the way of sewing skills. The basic things to think about are how durable you want your wings to be, how big do you want to make them and how many times are they going to be worn. If you need wings for a one-time-only costume or event, there are a number of ways to make them very quickly and often using materials that you already have on hand.

If you need quickie wings for an event or party, you can make them from paper or cardboard and just decorate the surfaces. Large pieces of oaktag (manila folder paper) can work. You can find rolls of this material at better art stores. You can also use the sides from big cardboard boxes (to get larger, quickie pieces). For good colors that you don't have to paint and something that wears really well in public, try to find large sheets of flexible craft foam.

You can tape the wings together to make the spine (try brightly colored duct tape), and then add some string, elastic or fabric straps to wear them. If you don't want the spine to be completely flexible, a short piece of 1" PVC pipe can be used. Measure from a few inches below your neck to a few inches above your waist to determine length. Cut as needed and sand the edges smooth or tape over them with brightly-colored duct tape. Tape the wings to the spine and then decorate everything to match.


Fairy Wing Video Tutorial

Anime Wings

Fabulous wings at Faeriecon West, February 2013

Fabulous wings at Faeriecon West, February 2013

See Fairy Wings Made From Balloons

Fancy No-Sew Fairy Wings

If you'd like to make larger and more elaborate fairy wings, here's a great method for making shiny, iridescent wings using cellophane or even sheet plastic. For these wings you'll be using glue instead of sewing.

Start with some 14g or 16g wire. You can make the outline of your wings, or you can also make some veins and curls for inside the wing. I wait until I've got each wings covered before I attach them to each other as it makes it easier to work on them and lay them flat at this stage when they are unattached to each other.

For glue, I like to use a strong craft glue that dries clear. Other good options are colored glues that match your wings, or glue with glitter in it. Make sure the glue works on plastics and metals so that it will hold the wings together. Do not use hot glue if working with cellophane as the heat of the glue will melt the wing material.

Lay out one wing form and carefully apply a thin amount of glue to the part of the wire that is facing up. Gently lay the cellophane material over the glue so that the wing has a skin on one side of it. Turn the wing over so that the cellophane side is now down and the wire side is up. Again, carefully apply the glue to the wing wire and then lay a second piece of cellophane over that. You have now sandwiched the wire forms in between two layers of cellophane. When the glue is dry, carefully trim off any extra cellophane so that your wings take shape. If you make your wire forms very elaborately, sometimes you can even trim away interior shapes and spaces to make cut-out in your wings.

Tape or glue the two wings to each other to make a "spine" and add straps for wearing. If the wings are made to be worn with a corset or a tight bodice, you can make the spine part so that it slides into the garment and holds the wings on without shoulder straps.

Now you can add any glitter, feathers or other decorations to your wings if you want.


Faerie Wings for Everyone!

Fantasy Wings with Maribou

This bicycle rider has fantasy butterfly wings with fluffy trim.

This bicycle rider has fantasy butterfly wings with fluffy trim.

Crafting Fairy Wings

  • Make Your Own Fairy Wings
    The most essential part of any fairy outfit, costume or persona is a pair of wings. Fairy wings are good for costume parties, conventions, gatherings, street fairs, parades, Halloween, May Day festivals, stage plays and rainy days.
  • Printable Wing Pattern
    Children will love making these wings for their Halloween costumes. Printable PDF with design and instructions.
  • Coolest Fairy Costume Ideas
    Easy directions to create your own Fairy costume and the biggest selection of Fairy costumes available.
  • How to Make Fairy Wings - wikiHow
    There are many ways to make fairy wings. This is the affordable version.
  • Make your own fairy wings for the May Day Festival!
    With a few basic supplies and your own creative spirit, you can make your own fairy wings to wear to the May Day Festival... or just to flit around town! Follow the instructions below, or, just wing it.

What sets your wings a-flutter?

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on February 27, 2015:

I find there is a good deal of interest in wing-making come springtime too. May faeries would seem to be an annual trend....

peachy from Home Sweet Home on February 26, 2015:

these wings hub is awesome, great for halloween parties

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on November 04, 2014:

Hillary, meeting fairies is pretty different from just making wings, but here's no reason meeting Faeries has to ruin your life.

hillary on November 04, 2014:

i'm a fairy believer, and iw iwl d anything to find some fairies no matter it ruins my life

angryelf from Tennessee on October 14, 2013:

I cannot wait for Halloween, and this is a great source for the fairies of the night. Great hub, pinned it on Pinterest (I'm an addict) and voted up! :)

CraftytotheCore on October 14, 2013:

What a great Hub! Especially this time of year. I've been to an anime convention in Maryland about 12-13 years ago now it seems.

FlourishAnyway from USA on October 14, 2013:

This was unique! Although I love the Victorian style wings in the very top photo, I do have to admit that the fella on the bike did something special for the wings he was wearing. That looks like a very fun event you attended. Voted up and more, plus sharing.

clair on November 03, 2012:

awesome

louromano on March 21, 2012:

Excellent hub. Great info. Thank you for the easy directions and for sharing your talent.

bristi on November 04, 2011:

I LOVE FAIRY AND WINGS TOO!

Stormy on October 16, 2011:

these are also really good for my clients at my retirement villiage they are wanting to dress up for hal. and I was looking up some idea and this was one of the best i have seen so far! :-)

Jamie Brock from Texas on April 15, 2011:

Awesome hub! Thank you for sharing the DIY fairie wings!

Alyse on October 30, 2010:

thank you! thank you!! thank you!!! thank you!!!! :) ...saved my costume and budget, really

bryll on October 13, 2010:

wow the wings is so easy to make...i hope i could make one for the halloween party

outlawbybirth from Lycraville, Florida on July 04, 2010:

Darn and I see people spend tons of money on wings every year at the Halloween costume store!

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on June 08, 2010:

thehands, that depends on the power of your imagination, doesn't it?

Jorge Vamos on June 07, 2010:

I reckon you can't actually fly with these, right?

scaffolding tower from United Kingdom on February 18, 2010:

The fairy wings in the picture looks complex and great!

ElliBert on October 28, 2009:

OMG ths is a great idea i am going to a haloween party as a dead fairy & vant find any black wing thank 4 the Fab Ideaa :D

MermaidGirl on October 15, 2009:

hey i say that i love those wings!

they're incredible!!!

StvRich from East Rockaway - Long Island - Planet: Earth ~ on October 04, 2009:

Even tho' I appear to be mostly hardware/science oriented. I actually find this interesting for insect construction. Good alternative knowledge all compiled and ready to guide. I do have a creative side (trying to indulge it more). Today I'm going to Home depot to check materials for special Aspen-wood gift boxes, and decoupage. So I always try to look for other craft sources and alternative material usage. For instance your wings would be great on a gigantic butter/dragon-flies.

Tracy711 on September 16, 2009:

very nice hub. I love doing these little projects with my nieces and they will love this one. Thank you for the easy directions and for sharing your talent.

mythbuster from Utopia, Oz, You Decide on June 08, 2009:

Great hub! The links are awesome, too. This hub is bookmarked!

Whikat on March 07, 2009:

Thank you for this excellent hub! I have 2 girls ages 4 and 6 who love wings and wands. If you have any tips on making magical wands that would be a great project too.Thanks again, can't wait to make these wings with my fairy princesses.

Sincerely,

Whikat

CayleighnJaymie on February 26, 2009:

GREAT GREAT GREAT I have a friend looking for just this hub and am calling here immediately ..So COOL

John Becker from Central California on January 19, 2009:

What a great resource! My wife and I have been looking for ideas to make custom fairy wings for our daughter. Thanks for sharing.

quiet tracer from South-Asia on May 27, 2008:

Great hub! very useful information. I'll reall try it for a fun.

Rena Klingenberg on March 10, 2008:

Thanks for these great ideas! I'll be referring back to them for an upcoming project.

RainbowRecognizer from Midwest on March 04, 2008:

I love this and my daughter will, too!!! Thank you much :o)

sissy on February 14, 2008:

thanks for the video on fairy wings. great detail, was very helpful. thanks again.

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on December 09, 2007:

When I travel, I'm always looking up my Hubs for info, especially recipes!

Kiz Robinson from New Orleans, Louisiana on December 09, 2007:

Relache, you always have the coolest hubs. I bookmarked this one, actually.

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on November 18, 2007:

Wow, that's great, and how appropriate for someone named "EarthAngel" too!

Earth Angel on November 18, 2007:

Thanks Relache!! My church has asked me to be the Angel this coming Christmas Eve and I need to make a set of wings!! Thank you for sharing!! I will email you photos!! Blessings, Earth Angel!!

trakker14 from franklin on November 15, 2007:

These are great thank you..