Children are mesmerized by dragonflies, delighting when seeing these unusual creatures flit through the air and land nearby. Though people think of dragonflies as being green or blue in coloring, nature also makes dragonflies in red, purple, blown, nearly clear, yellow-streaked and combinations of hues. Their near iridescence adds to their mystique. Along with their coloring, dragonflies are recognized by their long, tapered wings. So when making a dragonfly costume, pay special attention to the shape of the wings, and then let your imagination fly freely.
Things You'll Need
- 4 thin coat hangers (all one color)
- 4 knee-high stockings or pantyhose
- Duct tape (any color)
- Spray paint
- Small gems
- Glue dots (small)
- Ribbon, 2 yards (same color as costume)
- Tights (to fit the child) or sweat pants
- Long top (same color as tights) or T-shirt/sweatshirt
- Shiny belt or ribbon
- Ballet slippers or jazz shoes
- Chenille stems (colorful or black)
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Stretch out the bottom of each hanger to make an elongated wing, leaving the hook ends intact. Round each end to make a natural looking dragonfly wing (see the photo for reference).
Pull a knee-high stocking or piece of pantyhose over one wing. Stretch it gently so the material is almost sheer and slightly taut, but not to the point of tearing it. Make a knot below the hook, or wrap duct tape around the edge of the stocking to keep it tight and attach it to the wire. Repeat with the other three wings.
Lay the four wings in front of you. Hook the top wings together at their hooks and bend the hooks so they stay together. Hook the bottom wings' hooks to the top wings' hooks. Bend the hooks so they stay together.
Decide what color your dragonfly and its wings will be. Lay down newspaper to protect your workplace from overspray of paint. Shake the spray paint as directed on the can. Lightly spray the interior nylon of the wings so it just has color; avoid saturating the fabric with paint. Leave the wings to dry.
Decorate the wings any way you like. Shiny, small jewels or sequins will catch the light and make the wings shimmer realistically. Place tiny glue dots at random and gently push the decorations on them. Your child can help with this if you wish.
Cut the 2 yards of ribbon into four pieces for the straps. Wrap one end of a piece of ribbon around one wing at the hook end in the center of the wings. Double-tie the end into a knot. Pull the knot tight. Repeat the process by tying the other three pieces of ribbons to the other three wings' hook ends.
Wrap duct tape around the four hooks to hold the wings in place, allowing the ribbons to stay free. It's OK if the wings move a bit, just so they don't come unhooked.
Find tights and a long top in the same color. If necessary, buy a white T-shirt and dye it the right shade. An adult T-shirt can be worn as a long top for a child.
Fringe the bottom of the long top with scissors. Or make a scalloped edge by cutting in a half-circle motion.
Add a shimmery belt to turn the long top or T-shirt into a dress. Cut off the sleeves of the T-shirt to make a sleeveless dress. For a warmer costume, add a same-color turtleneck underneath.
Choose instead, if you wish, a sweatshirt and sweatpants in the same color. Big-box discount stores often sell these together inexpensively in the fall.
Spray ballet shoes, jazz shoes or other flexible shoe with the same color of spray paint. Spray one light coat and let it dry. Spray another coat if necessary for coverage. Two light coats of paint will look better and dry better than one saturated coat. Let the finished shoes dry for 24 hours.
Purchase a headband in the color of your dragonfly or in black. Wrap the bottom of a chenille stem on the top of the headband, positioned like an antenna. Make it tight enough that the stem will stand up and not flip down.
Attach the other chenille stem next to the first one, separated a bit to resemble the positioning of antennae.
Trim the antennae if they are too long. Leave 1 inch more in length than you want for the end result.
Curve the end of each antenna into a circle. Or roll the end of each antenna into a dot.