Thursday, August 11, 2011

Regency Fairy... A wing Tutorial

My friend Katherine and I are in the sad position of being a pair of historical costumers in a landscape full of cos-players and fantasy costumers. To be honest though we have both costumed characters from movies, but for the most part, it's all about historical technique and construction.

She and I go to the Ren Faire most years. We try to make costumes relevant to the time period. We had planned on making rural Flemish gowns this year.. But wool?!?! Multiple layers?!? At 100'? Oh no. I just can't.

So Katherine and I were joking
around and came up with the idea of wearing light and airy Regency Gowns to Faire, but because it's Faire (not the most historically accurate event) wearing fairy wings had real appeal.

Being the big nerd that I am, I did a search for Regency Fairies and found this book..

It's a lovely little book, full of Regency Faries. I used the pictures in this book as a starting point for my wings.

As luck and serendipity would have it my friend MirthFairy is very knowledgeable in the construction of fairy wings. She even started her own fairy guild at the Ren Faire! She agreed to give Katherine and I, a crash course in wing making. It was very fun and educational... Plus I set out a pretty Tea. :)

No... I don't bake. Pic-link :)

With the information I learned and the magic of google I hitched a plan, and surprise surprise it was rather successful!

Like I said, I wanted my wings to have a realistic insect like look...
I found on etsy, and eBay... artist making printed wings on transparency film, for ball jointed dolls. They have dragonfly, cicada, and moth like veins through the wings. I was worried though that if I printed wings in a human size and tried to mount the printed transparency on iridescent cellophane the ink would smear... messy. So I decided cut work would do, even if it's not as realistic.


You will need:

a self healing cutting mat
exacto knife
Hammer and a board to hammer on
steam iron
small box to spray adhesive
A needle tool... Or a thin screwdriver.

spray paint (black) for metal
spray adhesive
black shower curtain liner
clear cellophane
iridescent cellophane
galvanized wire

First thing you'll do is draw your pattern... Or copy mine. :) you might want to copy 2 as a guide for placing your cut work.

Sorry about the glare...
I drew mine on old Christmas wrapping paper.

Next you'll need to bend your wire frame.

Then smash the center section with a hammer... Best part of this project! HULK SMASH!

Paint the frame... Do this outside so you don't asphyxiate yourself. :( .... Hang it out on the line so it will dry... And eat lunch now. :)

Now layer your wing diagram over 2 layers of shower curtain

Now cut out the wing

The cut wings will look kinda like this

Set up your adhesive station

And spray!!! But don't go crazy breathing is good... And its wicked sticky.

Your going to apply this cut shape to a layer of clear cellophane... This is kinda tricky. I'm good at this kind of tedious arranging... But if you aren't I suggest that you print out a pattern of the original drawing and use it as a guide. You can use a needle tool or a small screwdriver to manipulate the cut work.... it's infinitely better than your fingers! :)

Next you'll spray the correct wire wing section with adhesive also spray the cut work/clear cellophane assembly with adhesive withe the cut work side up...and apply the cut work side to the wire wing. Cut another section of clear cellophane and encase the wire wing. Turn on your iron... And using a TEFLON COVER!!!! I don't think it's possible to do this project without this... If you don't have one experiment with your iron on different settings to see what sealing and god forbid MELTING effects you will achieve... Otherwise use a heat embossing tool.

Once you have all the cut work applied use your iron or heat embossing tool and shrink the cellophane to the wire frame.

Now... I wanted my wings to have an iridescent effect... You don't have to do this part if you don't want to....

Spray the wing

Apply the iridescent

Iron... I messed about with steam for texture.

Trim off the extra cellophane.

Now the middle wire section is a mess... So cover it up with some fabric, and bows... And maybe a big ol silk rose. :) mine ties on with ribbon... Mine came from The Ribbon Store... Do go there!

All done!

I maybe might wear this dress... or make another... we will see! :)

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


  1. 1820's Fairy book! will have to check that out!

  2. @ Amanda... it's so very sweet! :)

  3. Hi Amanda, I love love your blog, I'm from Argentina, I hope you understand me because I am using a translator, I'm starting a little history and Victorian clothing, in fact I'm starting a blog, but my attention and it is not that table that you also with the different mediddas tenes, inches, yards, centimeters, degrees etc, and as the patterns used to, from, and thank you very much for Culqui information you could give me. I leave my mail

  4. Marisa.... I have a hard time understanding, but I believe you are asking what the measurements are for the fairy wings?

    I give no measurements for the wings, because this project is subjective. You are to use the directions and adapt them to your needs. I have given you a picture of my pattern. You can make them bigger or smaller than I have. You can use the pattern, or draw your own. You can take the idea of cutting a pattern out of a solid color plastic, or you can use a preprinted plastic and sandwich it between cellophane layers. Some good examples of preprinted plastic would be shower curtains, or static cling type window decals. The idea of this particular project is to learn about the process of wing making using fused cellophane.

    Otherwise all the measurements for the patterns I give are on a 1 x 1 inch grid.

    I'm very pleased that you like my blog, and wish you good luck with yours. :)

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