Are you looking for a tutorial to make fairy wings for cosplay? Cosplay fairy wings are significantly different from the fairy wings you make for your daughter as a Halloween costume. For cosplay purposes, the fairy wings have to look realistic, majestic and of course, they have to be adult-sized.
So how do you make one? For Tinkerbell wing design, the goal is to create something that appears wispy and fragile while still maintaining its shape. In this article, we’ll talk about being able to DIY fairy wings for your fairy dress costume.
Making DIY Fairy Wings
Making DIY fairy wings for little girls or yourself is relatively easy. Every YouTube video teaching you how to make wings follows relatively the same pattern and involves the same materials. Generally, here are the items you’ll need for the job:
The wire can be made of aluminum or steel – depending on your personal preferences. Of the two, steel will give you a better and stronger structure. However, it will also be heavier. When bent, you’ll have a hard time straightening it back up so make sure each bend is precise. Aluminum is typically the favorite because it is light and easy to manipulate.
This is the favorite wing material because it is transparent and has this iridescent fairy wings quality and can come in other colors. Of course, you can also choose other items like fabric or paper depending on the effect you want to achieve. Keep actual use in mind – if you intend to use the fairy wings multiple times, you might need to use fabric for longevity.
Long Nose Plier
This is primarily for bending and manipulating the wire. You’ll definitely need this to fix the ends of the wire so that it doesn’t poke you at the edges. Regular pliers would also work but a long nose would give you a better grip when you tie the tips of the wire together.
Glue Or Scotch Tape
This will be used to secure the cellophane to the wings. If you’re using fabric, then you might prefer to sew it onto the frame instead of just using glue. There’s also spray adhesive, glue gun, or even fabric glue to help you connect all the parts with each other.
This can be anything from glitter, paint spray, different colored paper, patterned fabric, or basically anything you want to attach to the wings. The way you design the wings would depend completely on the costume you want to carry. If you’re cosplaying a particular character, then their wings and color pattern should be your primary goal.
Scissors And Wire Snips
Scissors are pretty standard as you’ll need them to cut the cellophane into the wing shape you want. Wire snips will be used to cut the wires effortlessly – regular scissors won’t do it. Fortunately, most pliers today come with wire snips so this shouldn’t be a problem.
– for the sharp edges
– to be worn around the arms when wearing the fairy wings.
Different Parts of Fairy Wings
Before making fairy wings, you should first note that the wings must be made in steps and parts. It’s a lot like creating clothes – you need the pattern, the frame, and then finally the clothing materials. Here’s a step-by-step process for creating your own wings:
Designing The Frame
Fairy wings have primarily two parts – the frame and the wing itself. Before building the frame, however, you need to design it first. Start by drawing the wings you want on a piece of paper. You can draw a small one just to translate your fairy wing idea onto paper. This includes the shape of the wings, the colors, and the patterns.
Do you want butterfly wings or do you want dragonfly wings? Also, consider the fairy costume you will be portraying. Is it strictly Tinkerbell or do you want something that looks rougher instead of delicate?
Once you’ve created a small version of the wing design, the next step is to create a life-size version of the wings. You may have to use several pieces of paper taped with each other in order to make this possible. Lay the papers flat on the floor or perhaps tape them on the wall and stand over them. This way, you’ll have a better idea of how this would work for you.
It’s interesting to note that DIY fairy wings are typically copies of each other. This means that you can make the left-wing and just flip it over to create the right-wing. Therefore, you really don’t have to recreate the other side – just follow the wing shape of the one you already made.
Creating The Frame
Once you’ve created the wing design, the next step is to bend the wireframe according to the shape. This is why creating a life-sized design makes the process easier – all you have to do is follow the wing design by laying the wire on top of the paper. Do this twice and just flip the other side to create a perfectly identical pair of wings.
Be sure to leave a long length of wire before the initial bend of the DIY fairy wings. For the second pair of wings, make sure to also leave a long length of wires. The excess wire will be used to coil around the middle portion of the wings to hold the whole structure together.
The frame itself can be made using different materials. You can bend the basic wire into shape or use aluminum to get the job done. The wire should be 3 millimeters minimum – otherwise, it would be too weak to hold the wings together. A thinner wire can be used for the intricate details of the wing itself. However, the fairy costume frame should be made of sturdy materials.
For a light and strong fairy wing, the bent aluminum wire should be perfect. However, if you have wire hangers lying around the house, you can use that for the frame. You will need about four of the wire hangers to create your wings and you won’t need a poster board as a template! To use hangers, start by cutting off the hook part of the hangers while making sure the corded part remains together. You want the wires to still be connected to each other.
Now, locate the center of the hanger wires and gently pull it outwards, creating an elongated shape. Do this for all four wire hangers. Once done, you can connect these four shaps together to create your wings. Note though that hanger wings may be a tad small for adult use. However, kids on cosplay will definitely find this wing perfect for their frame.
This is perhaps one of the harder parts of the process because you want to create a pair of fairy wings with clean, sleek lines. As you bend the frame, the curve may be too sharp or not large enough. This is when long nose pliers can be very useful as it helps you have better control over the fairy wing frame.
Some people like to use additional wires to create sections across the wing itself. This can be done using a slimmer wire or even nylon. However, make sure to always secure the tips so that it doesn’t scratch the skin. Some people also like to paint the wire so that it adds to the overall color.
Secure The Fairy Wings Together
This is an important step that most tutorial videos don’t tell you. The fact is that these two wings have to be secured to each other so that they form one whole costume. In order to make this happen, you have to think about the “bridge” between these two wings.
You have two options. The bridge can be the same as that to a butterfly where there’s a big vertical stick that brings the wings across the whole length. Basically, you’re creating the butterfly’s body by coiling the wire repeatedly across the full length. This is by far the easiest to do and also the most secure. The bridge will then lie in the middle of your back and create a very balanced feel.
Another bridge technique is by using a single strip of the horizontal bridge connecting the two wings together. This creates a more elegant look when viewed from the back. The problem with this DIY technique is that it doesn’t really support the full weight of the wings. If the wings are not completely balanced, then one may droop or be slightly askew compared to the other.
An electrical tape should be used to cover the tips of the wires so that it doesn’t graze your skin. An electric tape is usually tougher and gives you a flatter edge to avoid any scratches. Always check the wires for any sharp edges and get that covered as quickly as possible.
Filling In the Fairy Wings
The next step is to start placing the cellophane onto the frame to give your DIY fairy wings a body. As mentioned, you can use different ways to attach the cellophane to the frame. A Scotch tape will help attach all parts together while still keeping that transparent look. A glue gun can also have the same effect, but you will have a hard time sticking it with cellophane as the hot glue can burn off the material.
If you’re using a glue gun, make sure to set it at the lowest setting to avoid burning. Some people like to use duct tape for a more solid attachment. You can do this too if your plan is to spray paint the wings. The duct tape can be easily hidden with the paint.
Carefully wrap the cellophane accross the frame, making sure that you’re placing it on the side of the wings that would be exposed to the public when worn. Move through one wing at a time, making sure that there are no creases on the costume. You can take as long as you want in this part of the project because the fabric of the wings will be the platform where all design material will be placed.
Keep in mind that the wing fabric should be taut and secure because you will be adding weight to it. Glitter and ribbon may not seem much but the weight can add up, especially if you’re using an aluminum frame instead of steel. You can use the excess cellophane for designing more of the wings.
Designing The Wings
Let the glue dry completely before proceeding with the DIY fairy wing design. At this stage, you can go a little crazy with the style and pattern. Add glitter, spray paint the wings, or use some spray adhesive to attach other items onto the wings. Fairies can come in a variety of colors so go wild. When designing the wings, try to lay them flat on a poster board so there won’t be much movement until the designs dry up.
The design of the wing can be inspired by different characters, different themes, or maybe even according to the color of your dress. Try to already imagine what the wings would look like before sticking anything on it. Ideally, when you designed the frame on a piece of paper, you already started choosing your colors and blocking the parts where designs will be drawn.
Once you’re done, take a step back and watch your fair wing design ideas unfold. Try to keep your desire to fill it up with color contained as the goal is something elegant and light. Remember that adding too much heavy material on the wing can make it too heavy to lift up. The hope is to have the wing stable for hours at a time – especially if you’re wearing it at Comic Con!
Attach The DIY Wings
Finally, attach the DIY fairy wings to your back by using an elastic garter. The attachment is basically composed of two loops where you can place each arm so that the wings rest close to the shoulder blades. Measure the garter around your arms, making sure that it fits just right to keep the wires in place. You can also use a ribbon to tie the DIY wings in place, although you might need to adjust this throughout the day as the ribbon tends to loosen when worn.
Making Iridescent Fairy Wings
Little girls love iridescent fairy wings or, basically, fairy wings that seem to change color. They tend to change color depending on how and where the light hits them. If you’ve ever seen rainbow hues in bubbles, this is exactly what iridescent looks like.
So how do you make a Halloween fairy wing wrap that looks iridescent? For this particular job, you will need good quality material. Typically, a cellophane film will be perfect for the job as it helps reflect light. Specifically, you want to look for iridescent cellophane material that you can buy in most arts and crafts services.
Using this filmy material, you can follow tutorial already mentioned here. Note though that because iridescent cellophane is transparent, you have to be very careful when attaching the edge of the cellophane to the wing frame. You don’t want to create jagged edges or portions where the scotch tape is very obvious. Maybe you can round off the edge by covering it with a ribbon, creating a stark outline that helps the wing itself stand out.
If you have the gift of painting, you can also try painting the wings using some light brushstrokes. The goal is to create the illusion of light as it hits the wings. Silver or white colors can do so much in making the wings look like the kind you find in fairytales. Remember: each half of the wings should look similar to the other.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it cheaper to DIY Tinkerbell fairy wings?
Yes, you will find that a DIY Tinkerbell fairy wing would be cheaper – especially if you already have most of the tools and materials needed to get the job done. More importantly, DIY wings would give you the chance to personalize the design.
Kids may prefer specific colors, designs, glitter, shape, or any other fairy princess dream. If your daughter helped with the creation of the fairy dress, she’s more likely to wear it when the day comes.
What other wing designs are there?
Other than fairies, you can try creating angel wings, dragonflies, butterflies, or even bird wings. The options are endless, depending on the character you intend to wear. Remember that regardless of any design you want to make, you have to make sure that the wings are secure and can stay in place straight through the hours of use.
How do I store my fairy wings?
Fairies have a very delicate look to them and their pair of wings look just as fragile. Hence, you have to be very careful when storing, transporting, or wearing them. Ideally, you should have a box where you can put the wings when not in use. Some people like to bend the wings together to save on space. However, this might not always be a good idea – especially if you’re using a rigid frame material.
When storing or transporting the wings, you want to make sure that the wings are covered by soft material like cloth. This will protect it from the elements and prevent the design from being jarred off the wings.
Can I just use cardboard for my fairy wings?
The short and simple answer is yes, you can just use cardboard to create your wings. The cardboard can be cut out in the shape of wings and attached with elastic to be worn. However, cardboard isn’t exactly made to last and will not look as good. It’s a good technique for a one-time Halloween costume for your daughter or for a school show. For cosplay purposes, however, it’s not exactly the kind you hope to wear.
To wrap it up, a pair of fairy wings would be the perfect topper to a fairy costume. When done correctly, they can last for a very long time and maybe enhanced as the years go by. They’re also pretty easy to do and you can find tons of tutorials for practically all types of wings. Finally, don’t forget to cover the wing when not in use. A good sign that you’ve made good quality wings is that if it holds its shape when worn.