Artist Andrea Linebaugh demonstrates how to make whimsical faerie wings.
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Materials and Tools:
16- to 18-gauge galvanized steel wire
2 pair of pliers
thick yarn desired color (furry and metallic specialty yarn)
ball of thin eyelash yarn (colors coordinating with other yarns)
6 mm crochet hook
needle and thread
6" x 8" piece of fabric (coordinating color to the yarn)
1/2" hank of elastic
large handful of poly fiberfill or batting
Note: To make faerie wings you will need a few basic items; including crocheting skills.
- If you can't crochet, follow the steps for the frames, however, use nylon panty hose to cover the wing surface and decorate them by gluing or sewing objects onto them.
- Fusible film and fibers can be used and ironed to the frames to create wing surfaces.
- Thinner coat hanger wire can be used as a frame. Use two of the same size, bend them into wing shapes and attach them to each other by straightening the hooks and twisting them together tightly.
- If you don’t have elastic on hand, sew four shoestrings to the center bar of the wings and tie two around each arm to wear.
- Be inventive and use what you have on hand to prevent making a trip to the craft store.
1. Measure two 28 inch long pieces of the galvanized steel wire and cut to length with wire cutters or pliers. These will form the wings.
2. Bend one of the pieces of wire into a loop with 2-1/2-inches of "tail" left on both ends of the wire (figure A).
3. To secure the loop, use a pair of pliers to hold it in place where the wires cross and the other pair of pliers to hold the tails. Twist them together, ensuring that the tails are twisting around each other tightly (figure B). Two or three twists should be enough to hold them in place. The excess will be used later--so don’t cut it of!
4. Repeat creating a loop and securing it with the other piece of wire.
5. Hold the loops together so that the tails are together. Bend the wire into a wing shape (figure C). Bending them together at the same time ensures that they will be evenly bent. Note: If you choose to do a wilder shape, you may want to bend one and then use it as a template to bend the other. The more elaborate your wing shape, the smaller the wings will be. If you want an elaborately shaped wing in a larger size, start with larger pieces of wire.
6. Join the wings together. Hold the wings together side by side similar to butterfly wings. Twist one tail from each wing together with pliers. Repeat with the other two tails. Then bend the wings outward until they are opened (figure D). Use the pliers to bend the tails so that they do not jut out into the area of the wing surface. Bend them back on themselves to achieve this.
7. Using the thick yarn and crochet hook and starting at the center bar of the wings, single crochet around the outside wire of each wing. Then single crochet around the outside edge of the wing using the wire as the "row" you are crocheting (figure E).
8. Single crochet around the center bar one more time and chain until you reach the other wing. Single crochet around the center bar again and around the wing edge until you reach the center bar. Single crochet around it and cut yarn leaving a four-inch tail and secure the yarn, tying it to itself.
9. Using eyelash yarn, tie a loop into the end of the yarn, put the hook through the single crochet closest to the center bar and single crochet, attaching the eyelash yarn to the thicker yarn. This crochet is very loose and open. Pull the yarn out so that there is 1/2" to 3/4" to each loop. The stitches should be held taut as you continue to crochet. Crochet around the inside of the frame using the thicker yarn row as the row to crochet into (figure F). Skip several of the thicker yarn stitches in between and vary the stitches, sometimes chaining one in between single crochets and sometimes not. Sometimes skip two stitches, sometimes three. Continue to crochet around the inside until you have reached the center and the yarn is taut. Cut the yarn with a four-inch tail and secure it by tying to itself several times. Repeat for both wings. Once you have mastered this skill you will be able to design patterns into your wings and change yarn colors as desired.
10. Cover the center bar by cutting a 6" x 8" (approximate) piece of scrap fabric matching the yarn colors. Lay it lengthwise in front of you, stuff it with a small amount of poly fiberfill in the center and fold all the edges of the fabric around it (figure G).
11. Wrap this around the center bar several times, being sure that all fabric edges are tucked in. Sew it in place by hand sewing the edges closed and sewing through the frame of the wing where it touches the fabric (figure H). Tie the thread off.
12. Hold one end of the elastic in one hand in the center of your chest, wrap the elastic around your shoulder and back to the center of your chest. When you determine a comfortable length, cut it and use it as a template to cut another piece the same length. Make the elastic into a loop, overlapping it slightly at the ends. Sew it together. Repeat with the second piece. Pin both loops in place in the center of the wings on the fabric at the edge of the wing. Making sure that they are even, sew them to the fabric with the needle and thread (figure I).
12. Try the wings on and adjust as necessary. If you bend the wings backward, keep the center bar flat so that it sits flat on your back.
Artist Molly McNamara of New Orleans simulates fiber through wire design.