Making Insect Wings for a Costume

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Instead of heading to a costume store when you need a pair of insect wings, you can craft your own at home. The process is not hard and takes a minimal amount of time and money. It's also enjoyable; the only skill you need to possess is being handy with a pair of scissors.

Things You'll Need

  • Large piece of cardboard
  • 2 pieces of 2 yards of felt fabric in your color of choice
  • 2 yards of felt fabric in the accent color of your choice
  • 1 yard of 1" thick elastic
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Strong fabric glue
  • Computer access
  • Printer

Creating the Perfect Pair of Wings

Do a computer search to find images of insects and select the shape and appearance you want to create. Once you find the perfect picture, enlarge it and print it out on multiple sheets of paper. The goal is to print it out as big as you'd like the finished wings to be, so it will take multiple sheets of paper.

Tape the sheets of paper together to resemble a life-size version of the wings. Then cut off the excess paper so you are left with a traceable outline of the wings.

Place the outline on top of the cardboard and use a pencil to trace it onto the cardboard. Repeat this process with two large pieces of felt fabric. When you are finished, you should have the outline of a set of wings on cardboard and two two more on felt.

Use the scissors to cut out all three wing outlines. This is very important: When cutting out the felt wings, cut approximately half an inch outside the traced line so the felt wings are larger than the cardboard wings.

Place one felt wing outline on a flat surface and apply lines of fabric glue. Place the cardboard wings on top of the felt wings, making sure the cardboard is perfectly centered and with extra fabric extending evenly beyond the cardboard.

Loop the elastic around your shoulder and underneath your armpits without stretching it. This should be the length for the wing straps. Although you will attach the straps centrally on the wings, the stretch in the elastic allows it to fit snugly. Once you have the correct length, add two inches on either side of each strap before cutting the elastic.

On the cardboard, mark two spots with a pencil where you will glue on the elastic straps. Measure two inches from the middle of the wings and two inches down from the top of the cardboard to find the place where the top of the straps will be glued down. Measure two inches out from the middle and two inches from the very bottom to locate the place where the bottom of the straps will be glued down.

Liberally cover the pencil marks in glue, then put the elastic straps in place as marked. Leave the other end of the elastic straps hanging loosely for now, outside the cardboard area.

Cover the cardboard with lines of fabric glue, and carefully place the second set of fabric wings on top. They should line up with the first set of fabric wings beneath the cardboard.

Just before gluing down the bottom of the felt fabric to the cardboard, attach the other end of the elastic wing straps to the marked spots. Once you have two attached elastic loops for wing straps, press down the bottom part of the felt so it adheres tightly to the cardboard.

Apply glue to the inside edges of the felt extending beyond the cardboard. Once the entire set of wings is outlined in glue, press the two pieces of felt fabric together to conceal the cardboard inside.

Use the accent color felt to cut out designs, swirls, and realistic looking shapes to mimic insect wings. Cut out two of each shape (simply fold over the felt and cut through both layers) to have one piece for each side of the wings. This ensures a symmetrical design.

Tips & Warnings

  • After all your gluing is done, allow the glue on the wings to dry overnight before wearing them.
  • Make sure to purchase strong fabric glue. Other types of glues will not work.
  • Do NOT use Superglue for this project.

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