Spread Your Wings & Fly!
Fairy wings are good for costume parties, conventions, gatherings, street fairs, parades, Halloween, May Day fests, stage plays and rainy days. Fairy wings go great at protest marches, outdoor concerts, foot races and marathons, trips to the beach and have even been known to make appearances on brides at weddings. Kids have a special love for fairy wings, so consider a wing-making party for your child on their next birthday!
This page will show you how you can make your own wings easily, or help you find a ready-made pair if you are really in a hurry. The options for what your wings can look like will only be limited by three things: your imagination, what you want to make them out of and how much money you can spend (and I've got some suggestions for how to do wings without breaking the bank!)
The most important part of any fairy costume is a really great pair of wings!
FairyLore - books and research - Gather inspiration to create your fairy self
You may be surprised to learn that there are more types of fairies in the world than you thought, or you may be aware and feel overwhelmed in trying to decide which type of fairy you are.
In essence, fairies are magical creatures with humanoid form, often relating to the land or the elements. They can be fictional, fantastical or absolutely real, depending on your preference. They tend to range in size from itsy-bitsy to life-size, and can be totally wild or live a sophisticated court life in fairy society. Fairies are helpful or mischievous as they themselves desire.
You can be your very own kind of fairy too, made up of the bits that you like best. Take a look at lots of fairies and write down what sort of features and outfits you really like, and your fairy will soon reveal itself to you!
Types Of Wings
what sort of fairy are YOU?
Fantasy fairies can have any kind of wings you can imagine. Here are some of the most common shapes, styles and variations you'll find for wings.
One of the biggest considerations for making your own wings is the size and scale of the wings. Fairy wings that don't go past your own shoulders can be worn just about anywhere and travel easily. Wings that stretch out as long as your own arms, go up over your head and down past your waist can be show-stoppers but they also present many concerns for moving around other people, going through doors and when sitting down.
Angel wings - Large, fluffy white feather wings. The classic shape is like two arches over the shoulders with the wings folding down along the back. However some people are a bit more "dark angel" and do these wings out of black feathers.
Bat wings - Black, skin-like wings. These are often made of fabric and attached down the arms to unfold and wrap with arm movements.
Bird wings - These can vary to be feathered to match specific birds or can just be very feathery wings.
Dragon wings - Larger than bat wings, these are often very leathery. In older dragons, they can have ripped edges or torn holes in them.
Dragonfly wings - These wings are often iridescent and are very slender and long.
Butterfly wings - Large or small, these are often bright and have elaborate patterns.
Moth wings - More round than butterflies, these are often slightly translucent and a whitish color.
Fantasy wings - Make your wings any combination of the above as you wish!
Instructions for making your own Fairy Wings
Without too many supplies and a little effort, you can make your own fairy wings.
Deciding what to make your wings look like often takes longer than the actual wing-making part! You can make your wings look exactly like some type of real wings, or you can make up your own colors, style and shapes. It's best to work out your design ahead of time however, as that saves time and supplies when it comes to the actual crafting part of the process.
For making wings, you'll want:
- 14g-16g galvanized steel wire. The wire should bend easily, but not too easily or your wings won't hold their shape.
- wire cutters
- duct tape or heavy electrical tape
- pantyhose or sheer material. Hose takes less sewing.
- safety pins
- needle and thread
- ribbon, wide cording or elastic (to make ties for wearing the wings)
- wing decorating stuff = fabric paint, glitter, feathers, rhinestones, silk flowers, fringe, whatever!
To start, bend the wire into the overall shape of your wings. You can make a figure eight with the wire, or you can make two separate loops and attach them to each other. At that point, you can either leave the wings as round shapes or re-shape them as you wish. For large or elaborate wings, you make larger loops to have more material to manipulate. Use the tape to fasten the loops into closed shapes and/or to fasten them to each other. This taped part is the "spine" of your wings so make sure it's strong but not too bulky. Pay attention to how big your wings get. Too wide and you'll have problems walking around. Too long and you'll have trouble sitting down when wearing them. You can also take thinner gauge wire and twist two pieces of it around itself to make a thicker piece strong enough to use as a wing form.
Once you get the basic wings assembled, you then cover them. If you are using pantyhose, you cut each leg off the waistband/panty section and stretch it over the wires. Be very careful or you can accidentally put runs in your wings. Patterned or sparkly pantyhose can make the wings fancy. If you are using a flat piece of sheer material, trim the fabric to be the same shape as the wing form, but just about a 1/4 of an inch larger is size. You then wrap the slight edge over the wire and stitch the material onto the wing frame with hand sewing. Make sure to use the lightest material you can, so your wings don't get too heavy. Sewing material over the spine is optional, but some people like to use elaborate or heavier materials for this part when they choose to decorate it. One cool thing you can do too is to make layered wings (like in the picture here). Adding more than just two wings can be really cool. Be sure to vary the overall wing shape from layer to layer for the best effect.
Next, add the straps for wearing. This way, you can still sew and bend the wings to shape without hurting any of the art. Most people like having four straps to fasten their wings: one going over each shoulder and one going under each arm, then tied across the chest. Don't make your wings tie across the front of your throat because you can hurt yourself if you snag your wings. Wings can also be sewn onto the back of clothing. Having a friend who can hold your wings in place while you work out the straps is very helpful! Whether these straps attach to the wing edges or the spine part is up to you. Which option do you think fits and/or looks best?
Then, once the wing shape is set and you can attach them to yourself, decorate them to your heart's content. Be careful again to not make the wings so decorated that they bend out of shape or make your upper back sore when you wear them. If you have bits of wing decorations left over, a thin wooden dowel can easily be made into a matching fairy wand.
Fancy Wing Effects - texture and sparkle
When it comes to making fancier wings, there are two ways to go. Either make yourself a pair of fairly plain wings to decorate or buy a simple/plain pair and then decorate the heck out of 'em! I happen to enjoy the second method a lot.
What you see here are some nice fancy wings that I photographed at Faeriecon West 2013. They show a combination of great effects. One is shaded wings. Notice they aren't just a solid color. Misting on fabric paint that has been thinned is one way to create this look. You can also paint dye on the wings if you know how.
Another effect seen on these wings is veining. Glitter fabric paint can be bought in squeeze bottles, comes in a huge range of colors and is very easy to apply. You can outline details or create patterns or veins. Keep a paper towel on hand to wipe the tip clean in between making different lines and you can easily avoid blobs on the wing fabric.
The most striking feature of these wings are the gold-edged holes. These are most often made by burning very tiny holes in the wing fabric with a stick of incense and then painting around the edges with fabric paint to seal them and prevent the fabric from running. Make some tests on scrap fabric before you actually try anything on a pair of wings so that you don't ruin all your hard work.
D.I.Y. Wings - more methods & techniques - Incredible tips and tricks for making your own wings
Here are more variations for how to make your own wings that I found on the web. If you are looking to make wings that vary from what I've described above, you'll probably find the how-to somewhere below. Check out the "no-sew" method, or see the amazing bat wings!
- Crafting No-Sew Fairy Wings
Making your own fairy wings is easy, no sewing required! Learn how to make faerie wings quickly and easily using paper, cardboard or fancy cellophane.
- How to Create a Fairy or Princess Costume
How to Create a Fairy or Princess Costume
- Umbrella Bat Costume: Now more anatomically correct!
from Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories - this IS the coolest! Use old umbrellas to make a fantastic bat wing costume where the wings are anatomically correct (they hang below the arm).
- 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!
- Coolest Fairy Costume Ideas
A fairy can't do without her wings, so I've also whipped up a few diagrams and easy step-by-step instructions to make your fairy costume wings:
Add some zing to wings
Dyeing Or Painting Your Fairy Wings - A good question from a reader!
"I'm making my own wings for my wedding. I'd like to dye the stocking, as I've seen some wings that look hand dyed in certain colors. I tried using acrylic paints but it looks weird on the stocking, do I use fabric paint?"
How you paint or dye your wings depends on the material being used to make the wings themselves. Acrylic paints will only work well on solid materials. They are too thick for sheer netting.
I have an MFA in Textiles, so I can tell you for sure that in order to dye fairy wings, you have to use dyes made to work on the specific fiber of the material you are using. I suggest avoiding anything with polyester in it, as for that you need hydrochloric acid to open the fiber molecules and make a color bond... nasty stuff!
There are brands of dye made for home and craft use that will dye nylon well. I avoid RIT brand dye myself, as it's a composite dye and usage of it is hit or miss. For dyeing nylon, I prefer to use Jacquard brand dyes. The instructions come right on the little powder container. Many of the larger chain craft and art stores carry their products.
Paints that are designed to work on fabric are what work best on materials that are sheer and stretchy, although be cautious about heat setting, as pantyhose will melt if you actually try to iron it. Since fairy wings are occasional wear, most of the time you can get away without heat setting the paint. There are fabric paints that are described as "flow-able" and this is the effect you want, something that paints on but acts more like a dye (which soaks in).
You will want to test what you are doing on some spare fabric as it will often take a bit of practice to figure out your painting technique. Thinning the fabric paint and applying it very lightly is often the only way to keep the wings from looking too caked or clunky when painting. Many professional wing makers use airbrushes to apply painted effects, but that's often too much equipment for the casual wing maker. There are a few brands of aerosol fabric paint on the market and those might be a good option along the lines of airbrushing, but I haven't worked specifically with any of those so I can't give a more informed recommendation yet.
Starting with material that is one of the colors you want is better than starting out with something that needs to be entirely dyed. That way you only have to work on adding accents. When painting on wings that are already on their wire forms, you'll want to make a hole or space so that you can put some tissue paper or paper bag between the two layers which will prevent painting right through and sticking the two wings layers together, however this can be a bad idea with nylon material as any break in the surface of the material can lead to an unsightly run.
Wing A Ding Ding - lots o' links - fairy festivals
So, now you've made some fairy wings... but where to wear them? How about out with more of your own kind? It turns out that there are LOTS of fairy festivals and you can go meet and mingle with some stunning Fae Folk.
- FaerieWorlds Summer Celebration
Faerie Festival in Oregon featuring Omnia, Stellamara, Delhi 2 Dublin, Treguenda, SJ Tucker, Adam Hurst and more. Fairy art, workshops, crafts, music and vendors.
- Faeriecon West
FaerieCon West is the wintertime gathering of the Faerieworlds community, held in February. The FaerieCon universe continues to expand to embrace fantasy, steampunk, goth, metaphysics and many other genres who enjoy sharing their diverse interests a
- Maryland Faerie Festival
The Maryland Faerie Festival celebrates the faeries with music, magic and merriment in May.
- NY Faerie Festival, A Midsummer's Dream
NY Faerie Festival : - Passports Booth Fees Applications Camping Registration Faerie T-Shirts fairy, fairie, New York
- Fairy Festival - Welcome to The World of Faeries
Fairy festival held in August in Illinois.
- Summers Past Farms ::: Fairy Festival ::: Flinn Springs, California 92021
Our annual festival takes place each June. Live music in the garden from 10:00 to 1:00! Our fairy festival will begin with the ringing of the bell. This enchanted day will feature a wee garden contest, fairy fashion parade and a fairy tea lunch.
- Spring Fairy Festival
an annual festival of music art & dance, tailored to the fairy & fantasy genre. Held in Auburn, WA in April.
Fairy Notes and Messages
Deep on February 20, 2015:
Fairies live under mushrooms, in biorudhses, under snowdrops, on water lily leaves, they live in all pretty stuff! I discovered some in the snow today! All those frosty twinkles are in fact fairies! But I'm talking about Northern hemisphere faireis. I don't know anything about OZ fairies!
Rae Schwarz (author) from Seattle, WA on July 21, 2014:
@SuperBusyMama: It's a great project! Have fun with it!
Amanda R on July 20, 2014:
Wow! How beautiful and fun! I want to try to make these for next year's renaissance festival!
Rae Schwarz (author) from Seattle, WA on June 30, 2014:
@Scindhia H: The funny thing is....once you make one pair, you then think of a way to make another...
Scindhia from Chennai on June 30, 2014:
Amazing... I'm going to try one of these. Good work!
kittyhappykitty on June 19, 2014:
I used to have a set of fairy wings, and I am looking forward to making more soon enough. You make me happy!
Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on June 15, 2014:
Everyone loves fairies ad making fairy wings would truly be a lot of fun and a great craft project!
soniabaad lm on June 13, 2014:
I am always fascinated about angels. I love the wings. I want to get one. Great lens.
Rae Schwarz (author) from Seattle, WA on June 08, 2014:
@costumesngifts: Don't forget Fairy Day, which is coming up later in June! There's not much time left before that special day.
costumesngifts on June 07, 2014:
A must read for the upcoming Halloween season too! :)
sirteacup on May 30, 2014:
Wow, what a thorough lens, very informative! Definitely deserving of the #1 lensrank spot, well done
RoadMonkey on May 24, 2014:
Great ideas for easy wings. There's always some occasion where a child wants wings. Now I know how to make them. Thanks.
Amine from Doha, Qatar on May 23, 2014:
you earned your number one spot, i hope you do it again
Kimberlee Nelson from Tulsa, Oklahoma on May 17, 2014:
GEMNITYA5 on May 14, 2014:
Also shared on Facebook :)
kpheebs on May 14, 2014:
hollybobolly on May 11, 2014:
I love the wings! I really want to make some to wear to this year's Oregon Country Fair.
LoriBeninger on May 10, 2014:
I have linked to this lens from my "Endless Possibilities for Halloween" lens because I believe your techniques will work for a peacock tail...this may be the year I put that to the test! Thank you for this.
Tom Maybrier on May 09, 2014:
Great lens! Those Procion MX dyes by Jacquard are really wonderful, totally agree with your endorsement!
CalobrenaOmai on April 22, 2014:
I had no idea there was a dedicated day for fae. You just gave me an idea for a design task. Thanks so much.
anonymous on April 22, 2014:
Great lens. My kids would love to make these!
yukiedream on April 16, 2014:
It is good to know that we can celebrate International Fairy Day. I made a made up event from this for my study. Thank you.
GEMNITYA5 on April 13, 2014:
Really lovely lens. I love Fairy.
Charito Maranan-Montecillo from Manila, Philippines on April 13, 2014:
I didn't know there was such a thing as an International Fairy Day. Nice lens!Thanks for sharing.
Rae Schwarz (author) from Seattle, WA on April 11, 2014:
@Littlewings25: Perfect! Having someone to make wings with is awesome.
Littlewings25 on April 11, 2014:
This is brilliant! Both my niece and I are obsessed with fairies and this lens will be amazing for the summer holidays! Thanks!
Rae Schwarz (author) from Seattle, WA on April 08, 2014:
@SheGetsCreative: That was pretty much my reaction to learning about so many festivals too! There seems to be a specific faerie culture expansion in progress on the West Coast.
Angela F from Seattle, WA on April 08, 2014:
Lots of helpful DIY wing stuff, but the best part was the fairy festival info -- didn't even know there were multiples here in the NW :) Yay!
nelchee on April 06, 2014:
Wonderful resource, I actually wanted to make my own lens on how to make fairy wings, but you beat me to it! :)
I taught a crafts workshop for kids 2 years in a row on a myths & legends festival, and the kids loved it! But since we had to do a TON of them (I bet there were at least 30 kids per workshop, was too busy to count!) so buying pantyhose for each pair wasn't an option because it would be too expensive. I ended up using rolls of very thin paper and we painted over them with acrylics and glitter, and they looked magnificent!
Sadly, paper is a bit more sensitive to tearing so after 2 years of running around with my wings I had to throw them away. I must make another pair! :)
Rae Schwarz (author) from Seattle, WA on April 05, 2014:
@dancingdiva02: Wow, that would be so fun!
dancingdiva02 on April 05, 2014:
I had no idea there was an International Fairy Day! I may be au pairing this summer, so if I do I will definitely be looking at this lens again to make fairy wings for the little girl I will be looking after!
Dhookraj Singh on April 03, 2014:
Lionrhod from Orlando, FL on March 30, 2014:
Oh no! I see a project coming on! Great lens. Love faeries. Even wrote a YA novel of faeries vs. witches.
Scottf13 on March 28, 2014:
Now this is just awesome. Thanks for sharing. I might have to try and make some for a few of my little cousins.
Robert Connor from Michigan on March 24, 2014:
Great idea to do with girls before Fairy day!
anonymous on March 06, 2014:
Fairy wings that's a great idea for lens.
Elsie Hagley from New Zealand on March 06, 2014:
Love fairies, nice to see this article about making fairy wings. Thanks for sharing.
SteveKaye on March 06, 2014:
Fantastic lens. Congratulations on your success.
AnonymousC831 from Kentucky on March 01, 2014:
Very nice lens, thank you for the information.
flycatcherrr on February 28, 2014:
I spent a few hours on deviantart and elsewhere, yesterday, just looking at all the different ways that people came up with for making all different kinds of wings, but I must say, your fairy wings are right up there - I'm smitten with the glitter veining.
johnsonbrown on January 05, 2014:
So nice lens! :)
Rae Schwarz (author) from Seattle, WA on December 08, 2013:
@Hexadecimal LM: That can work, but if the wings are the "wrong" kind of material, you can accidentally melt/destroy the fabric/net/mesh with spraypaint, so anyone reading this....be really careful!
Hexadecimal LM on December 08, 2013:
I've done this before and had success using a little bit of spraypaint---mind you I only used it to darken up the tips of my wings & of course add sparkles!
chrisilouwho on November 18, 2013:
Very cute, and I had no idea that there was an International Fairy Day, thanks for sharing!
Laura Hofman from Naperville, IL on November 17, 2013:
Fairy wings are cool! Now I want to design some!
Rae Schwarz (author) from Seattle, WA on October 28, 2013:
@steveffeo lm: Thanks! Didn't think I'd ever pull off a two-fer.
steveffeo lm on October 28, 2013:
WOW number 1 congrats
KathyZ1 on October 23, 2013:
kepezzo on October 22, 2013:
Is a hat you are wearing on photo also made as the wings are ?
Jimmy J Oliver on October 19, 2013:
Hi nice lens you got there and ranking well.
Have given you a squidlike.
pitlock on October 15, 2013:
love this I am working on an angel project.. this is so going to help me thank you so much.
richardrose on October 11, 2013:
Makes me wish I really could fly :-)
EzLoanLookUp LM on August 29, 2013:
Great lens I've used fairy wings in costumes before and I loved them
jura on August 26, 2013:
Fairy wings that's a great idea for lens .
HughSmulders LM on August 14, 2013:
I like girls in such costumes on various thematic paties. They are always in the limelight.
girlfriendfactory on August 13, 2013:
I used to think I was a fairy when I was a little girl ~ now I can make my own wings! Woohoo!!!!!! :-)
BlowDryBar on August 09, 2013:
I will definitely be making wings with my daughter!
JHarbourn on August 08, 2013:
As much as I love fairies (I just made my first lens about "fairy food" aka Cooking with Flowers), I've never dressed up as one. I'm so excited to put a costume together now!!! Thank you for the awesome ideas :)
Rae Schwarz (author) from Seattle, WA on August 05, 2013:
@Metalpriest: Do it...yes!
Metalpriest on August 04, 2013:
Halloween is coming, and I found this lens at the right time! Dark angel anyone?
LoriBeninger on July 18, 2013:
Okay, you make this sound so fun and I've just got to try them this Halloween! Great lens. Thank you.
socialcx1 on July 15, 2013:
My grand daughter just absolutely loved your lens. Thanks
JZinoBodyArt on July 15, 2013:
You've inspired me, for sure. Belated congrats on your LOTD!
marymeng on July 08, 2013:
@hazeltos: I also had no idea there were so many different types of fairy wings. Very good!
RoSelou on June 29, 2013:
June 24 is International Fairy Day? I did not know that. Maybe, it is the reasons I saw fairies (smiles). Actually, It is St. John's Day in our place.
cdevries on June 28, 2013:
What fun! Suddenly I need to make myself a pair of gauzy wings...
vicky71 on June 27, 2013:
My Daughter is gonna love this.. Great Lens. Thanks :)
Susan Hazelton from Summerfield, Florida on June 17, 2013:
I had no idea there were so many different types of fairy wings. This is a great lens. Sharing and loving it.
GameHelp on June 15, 2013:
Haha, very neat! Great lens.
Cynthia Haltom from Diamondhead on May 22, 2013:
I tried to make wings a long time ago for one of my daughter for Halloween, They were OK but not and pretty as yours, I didn't use paint or glitter for them they were kind of plain.
Rae Schwarz (author) from Seattle, WA on May 08, 2013:
@Gaby81: Good wings go way beyond Halloween....
Gaby81 on May 07, 2013:
Nice to know some Halloween tips
stevemarker on April 22, 2013:
Great lens, thanks really!
Rae Schwarz (author) from Seattle, WA on April 22, 2013:
@DAEdmonston: What's been a great surprise about this lens is how much I keep learning about them!
DAEdmonston on April 22, 2013:
I never knew there was so much to fairy wings! Thanks for sharing.
castelloautore on April 20, 2013:
Anyone who reads this, would truly want to be a fae (fairy)
anonymous on April 19, 2013:
I really love your lens, it has some great ideas for a project I am helping my niece on at the moment. I really appreciate the time that you took to create this for others. :)
DanielleStorm on April 19, 2013:
Great lens. Fairies are my favorite mythical beings. I was actually one for halloween last year.
pickyshopper on April 13, 2013:
love faeries - loved your lens.
Klinetka on April 10, 2013:
Very nice wings:-)
theleader300c on April 08, 2013:
I didn't realise there was such an art to fairy wings but now I know better. This lense is a great resource on the subject.
yidras on March 29, 2013:
sweet woman with wings, like a real fairy godmother
SquidooMegan on March 23, 2013:
Nice lens and beautiful wings. No wonder you're noted as a good example on Squidoo!
daylu9 on March 22, 2013:
Cool fantasy lens! I love faeries and other fantastical creatures. Books and movies with these are among my favorites.
DecoratingMom411 on March 13, 2013:
Very cute and nice lens! Would love to have the Purple Butterfly Jewel Fairy Princess 5 Piece Costume Set. So adorable. Thank you for sharing this lens!
jntnevins lm on March 11, 2013:
Pretending to be a fairy is one of my daycare kids favorite things to do.
anonymous on March 08, 2013:
Amazing how well these wings can look. You have definitely perfected your method for making the perfect wings!
anonymous on February 27, 2013:
Very good lens
Margaret Schindel from Massachusetts on February 26, 2013:
Rae, I just popped back to refresh my blessing on this wonderful lens. Happy Tell a Fairy Tale Day! :)
victoria91 lm on February 26, 2013:
This is a great lens.
Elastara on February 22, 2013:
Awesome lens on Lovely Fairy Wings!
Dominique84 on February 19, 2013:
Fairy wings are a must in any dress up box! Lovely lense.
beaworkathomemom on February 16, 2013:
Thanks for the inspiration and information! Great tips and ideas!
onlyforwork on February 07, 2013:
I think with those wings I will become a squidoo angel :) ha hah aa
WordChipper on February 07, 2013:
My daughter is into butterflies. Will be using your lens to fashion some butterfly wings. Thank you
ruthclark3 lm on February 07, 2013:
Wonderful lens. I have granddaughters who just love fairy wings. One plays dress-up with them and even has some wings accents on her bedroom walls. Great tips. I shall have to share this with her this coming summer. Thank you.
justramblin on February 07, 2013:
Oh how I love this fairy wing lens. I'm a fairy fan as well. What a fun lens you've made.
Jogalog on February 07, 2013:
I'd love an opportunity to wear some fairy wings!
maryseena on January 19, 2013:
This lens is very informative. THANK YOU SO MUCH ! ! ! !
ChristmasWithKids on December 13, 2012:
Just reading through your lens makes me want to stretch a little taller, somehow! Great lens.