DIY big Cellophane Fairy Wings for cosplay

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How to Make Fairy Wings

Three Methods:

Making fairy wings is a great way to save money on a Halloween costume or create a great gift for a child. While the simplest fairy wings can be made using just coardboard, you can make more traditional ones using coat hangers and stockings. If you want more realistic wings, try make a frame out of poster paper or wire, then cover it with cellophane!


Using Coat Hangers and Stockings

  1. Cut the hook part off of four wire hangers with wire cutters.Make sure that you cut the hook right down to where the twisted part begins. Do not cut into the twisted part of the hanger, however.
    • If the hangers came with a piece of cardboard wrapped around the bottom edge, cut it away with a box cutter.
    • If you can't find wire coat hangers, get some 12-gauge wire. Cut and twist the wire to make four large loops. Keep the twisted part 2 to 3 inches (5.1 to 7.6 cm) long.
  2. Bend the hangers into rough oval or circle shapes.You need to have 2 sets of matching shapes, one for the top and one for the bottom. Don't worry about making shapes perfect, however; you will be refining them later on.
  3. Overlap and tape 2 of the twisted parts.Lay your first set of wings down on a flat surface with the twisted parts facing each other. Overlap the twisted parts, then wrap a piece of duct tape tightly around them. Repeat this step for the second set of wings.
    • If you can’t find duct tape, try electrical tape or florist’s tape instead.
  4. Join the 2 sets of wings together with more duct tape.Set the wings down on a flat surface so that they are parallel to each other. Bring the taped, twisted parts together, and secure them using more duct tape.
    • Don’t worry if the wings overlap. You will fix this in the next step.
  5. Adjust the wings as needed to get the shape you want.Bend the 2 top wings upwards and the 2 bottom wings downwards. This way, they won't be overlapping anymore. If you are happy with the shape of the wings, you can more on to the next step. You can also take this time to bend the wire further into circles, ovals, or other wing shapes.
  6. Stretch a knee-high stocking over each wing, then secure it with tape.Slip a knee-high stocking over each wing. Pull the stockings towards the center of the wings until they are stretched thin. Twist the ends, then wrap duct tape around them to secure them to the wings.
    • White stockings will look the best; they will also show color better if you choose to paint them. You can also use other colors too, like black, if you want to be an edgier fairy.
    • If you can't find any stockings, use tights instead. Cut them off at the thighs first, however.
  7. Trim off the excess stocking and readjust the wing shape, if needed.Depending on how tightly you pulled the stocking, you may have some excess sticking out from under the tape in the center of the wings. Use a pair of sharp scissors to cut this excess off, as close to the tape as you can. If the wings got bent out of shape, take a moment to bend them back into shape.
  8. Mist the wings with spray paint, if desired.Step outside or into a well-ventilated area. Set the wings down on a piece of newspaper. Lightly mist them with spray paint, then let them dry. Flip the wings over and do the other side, if desired.
    • You can use regular spray paint or fabric spray paint for this.
    • You can paint the entire wing set, or you can mist just the tips for a gradient effect.
  9. Decorate the wings with glitter and/or rhinestones.Draw some designs on the wings using glue, then sprinkle some glitter on top. Shake off the excess glitter, then let the wings dry. For extra sparkle, glue down some rhinestones using fabric glue or hot glue.
  10. Cover the taped center with felt.Cut a 2 in (5.1 cm) rectangle out of felt that matches your wings. Make sure that it is long enough to cover the taped center of the wings. Fold it over the wire, sandwiching it in the middle, then secure it with hot glue or fabric glue.
    • You can wrap pretty ribbon around the wire instead for a nicer touch.
    • For a fancier touch, cover the felt part of the wings with a large fake flower.
  11. Loop 2 long pieces of ribbon around the taped wire center.Cut a long piece of ribbon that matches your wing design. Fold the ribbon in half and place it behind the taped wire center of your wings, with the looped part is sticking out by about 1 inch (2.5 cm). Pull the 2 loose ends of the ribbon through the loop, then tug on them to tighten the knot. Slide the ribbon over towards the left wing.
    • Repeat this step with the second piece of ribbon, but slide it towards the right wing instead.
  12. Use the ribbons to tie the wings onto your shoulders.You can tie the top and bottom ribbons together and wear it like a backpack. You can also cross the ribbons across your chest to make an X and tie them together that way.

Using Cardboard and Ribbon

  1. Sketch out your wing design on a large sheet of paper.You will be using this as a template for the actual wings, so you only need to draw one side.Use a large sheet of paper, such as poster paper or newsprint. You can also tape several sheets of paper together to make a larger one.
  2. Cut your template out, then trace it onto cardboard.Cut the template out along the lines that you drew. Set it down onto a sheet of cardboard, then trace around it with a pen or pencil. Flip the wings over to the other side, like turning a page, and trace again.
    • If you don't have cardboard, you can use poster paper instead.
  3. Cut the wings out just inside the lines that you drew.A box cutter or a craft blade will work the best for this. If you cut your wings out of poster paper, you can use a pair of scissors instead. Make sure that you cut just inside the lines that you traced. This way, you won't see the pen or pencil marks when the wings are done.
  4. Score or fold the wings down the middle.Find the center of your wings where they will bend. Lightly run your craft blade down the center to create a shallow cut. Fold the wings in half along the score, then unfold them.
    • If you used poster paper, simply fold the wings in half, then unfold them.
  5. Paint the wings a solid color, if desired.You can paint the wings using spray paint, poster paint, or even acrylic paint. Do one side first, let it dry, then do the other side.
    • If you are using poster paper, you might want to skip this step.
  6. Paint details onto the wings if you want them more realistic.Take a look at some pictures of butterfly wings, then copy the designs onto your cardboard wings with pencil. Fill the designs in using paintbrushes and acrylic paint or poster paint.
    • You can do this on both sides of the wings, but let the first side dry before doing the second.
  7. Draw designs with glitter glue if you want fantasy wings.Sketch out the lines with pencil first, then go over them with glitter glue. Iridescent will look pretty, but you can use other colors too. If you don't have any glitter glue, draw your designs using regular school glue (straight from the bottle), then sprinkle glitter on top.
    • Look at pictures of fairy wings or dragonfly wings for more ideas.
    • You can do this on both sides, but let the first side dry.
  8. Decorate the wings with other items if you're feeling creative.The possibilities are endless here. You can use basic craft supplies, like glitter glue or paint, or themed supplies, such as fake flowers or rhinestones. You can try:
    • Drawing designs using paint. Stir some glitter to the paint first for even more sparkle!
    • Gluing rhinestones onto the wings for extra sparkle. Add more designs using glitter glue.
    • Gluing paper doilies onto the wings to create a snow fairy look.
    • Decorating the wings using fake flowers or fake leaves to create a nature fairy look.
  9. Allow the wings to dry completely.How long this takes depends on what you used to decorate them. Paint typically dries within an hour, but glitter glue can take up to a day to dry. You can help speed up the process by setting the wings out to dry in a sunny location.
  10. Punch 2 holes to either side of your score/fold line.Use a hammer and a nail to punch 2 holes on the left side of the wing, and 2 holes on the right. The holes should all be the same distance apart, forming a box shape. They need to be 2–3 inches (5.1–7.6 cm) from the central score/fold line.
  11. Cut 2 pieces of ribbon and thread them through the holes to make straps.Thread the first ribbon through the top-left and bottom-left holes. Thread the second ribbon through the top-right and bottom-right holes. Make the ribbons long enough so that you can wrap them around your shoulders and tie them into bows.
  12. Tie the ribbons together to wear the wings.Have someone hold the wings against your back for you. Wrap the left set of ribbons around your shoulder, and tie them together into a bow. Repeat the process for the right.

Using Wire and Cellophane

  1. Sketch a fairy wing on a sheet of poster board.This will be your template for shaping the wire, so you only need one wing shape. Start with a basic outline, then add some veins and/or swirly shapes inside it. Make sure that the veins/swirls connect to the bottom corner of the wing, where it will come out of your back.
    • These wings are meant to be work with a corset or any other garment with a tight-fitting bodice.
  2. Bend heavy duty wire to match your wing's outline.Place some heavy duty 50 to 55 lb (23 to 25 kg) wire on top of your poster paper. Bend it until it matches your wing's outline. Leave a long stem about the length of your hand sticking out of the bottom corner of the wing. Cut the excess wire off with heavy-duty wire cutters. Use a piece of silver foil tape to hold the outline together, if needed.
    • Foil tape looks like metallic duct tape, except that it does not have as much of a texture to it.
    • You must use heavy duty wire that is between 50 to 55 pounds (23 to 25 kg), otherwise your wings will get bent out of shape. You can find this wire at a hardware store.
  3. Add the inner shapes using thinner wire.You can use any thickness of wire you want for this step, as long as it is visible from several feet/meters away. Use the same technique as you did for the outline: bend the wire to match your sketch, then cut it using wire cutters. Secure the ends of the wires to the outline with more foil tape.
  4. Roll out the cellophane, spray it with adhesive, then set the wing on top.Roll out enough cellophane to fit your wing, plus extra, then spray it liberally with spray adhesive. Immediately place the wing on top of the cellophane. Do not cut the cellophane just yet.
    • Clear, iridescent cellophane will look lovely, but you can use other colors as well.
    • Wearing gloves during this point will help prevent the cellophane from sticking to you.
  5. Roll the cellophane back over the wing, then cut it.Roll the rest of the cellophane back over the wing until it is completely covered. Cut the excess cellophane off. Make sure what you have a border all around the wing, including the folded part.
  6. Smooth the wings down, then cut them out of the cellophane.Press down on the cellophane with your fingers, making sure to smooth it down around the outline as well as between the inner shapes. If you see any bumps, be sure to smooth them out. Finally, cut the wing out, leaving behind a 1 in (2.5 cm) border all around.
  7. Let the wing dry beneath a stack of books while you do the next one.Set the wing down on a smooth surface, then stack heavy books and/or boxes on top of it. Use the technique you learned above to create another wing just like it. By the time you cover the second wing with cellophane and cut it out, the first one should be dry.
    • Use the sketch from your first wing to make the second wing. This way, they will be symmetrical.
  8. Cover the wings with paper before ironing them using a low-heat setting.Cover the wing with a piece of printer paper, then press it for a few seconds with a dry iron (no steam). Work your way from one side of the wing to the next. As you iron the wing, the cellophane will shrink, crinkle, and seal around the wire. Never let the bare iron touch the cellophane; always keep a piece of paper between it.
    • If the lowest setting on your iron is not doing anything, use the next lowest setting.
    • Your second wing should be drying beneath a stack of heavy books and/or boxes at this time.
  9. Trim off excess cellophane, but leave a small seam all around the outline wire.Do not cut all the way down to the wire, or the cellophane may come apart. Plan on leaving a to  in (0.32 to 0.64 cm) border all around your wings.
    • You can trim the cellophane off of the stem on the bottom of your wings.
  10. Finish your second wing.By now, your second wing should be done drying. Take them out from under the books and/or boxes. Melt them with the iron (remember to cover them with paper!), then cut them out, leaving behind a thin border.
  11. Secure the wings to a U-shaped piece of wire, if desired.Cut a strip of your 50 to 55 lb (23 to 25 kg) wire and bend it into a narrow U-shape that is 2 to 3 fingers wide and a little taller than your hand. Align each wing's stem with each side of the U. Wrap foil tape around the U-shaped wire, from one end to the next to secure the wings.
    • The stems should be completely hidden by the tape. Only the wings should be sticking out of the U.
  12. Slide the wings into the back of a corset or fitted dress.If you made a U-shaped wire harness, get into your strapless dress or corset first, then slide the wings down your back. The dress/corset will hold the wings against your back. If you left the wings with just the stems, you will need to sew narrow pockets into the back of your fairy costume, then slide the stems into the pockets.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    How do I attach the wings to my body?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    You can use elastic to attach straps onto the front of the wings that go around your shoulders. Or you can sew the wings onto a top/dress -- this will make them look more realistic.
  • Question
    Would it be weird if I wore a fairy costume as an 11-year-old?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Not really, no. Who cares if it would be anyway? You should feel free to wear a fairy costume if that would make you happy.
  • Question
    How can I make it sparkly and glittery?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    If you are making nylon wings, consider spraying them with some glitter spray or glitter hairspray once you are done. You can also draw designs on them using glitter glue. If you are making cellophane wings, you can try putting glitter in between the two layers of cellophane. When you are done, you are draw on them using glitter glue. You can also use iridescent cellophane instead of glitter.
  • Question
    Can fairies ride on animals? I have a horse, and I don't feel like making wings.
    Sanyu Nanteza-Kimuli
    Community Answer
    You can be a nature fairy and like to stay close to the ground. Fairies are not about the wings, but about being kind and considerate.
  • Question
    How do I make butterfly wings for kids?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    You can buy them at dollar stores. Otherwise, trace a template on a piece of cardboard, cut it out, and add some glitter.
  • Question
    How could someone fly without wings?
    Community Answer
    They can't. Humans cannot fly. Please do not really attempt to fly, with or without wings.
  • Question
    How big do I make the wings so that they are proportioned to an adult?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Measure the adult and adjust the sizing accordingly. Basically, make them bigger.
  • Question
    Would it be weird, if I, a child, wore fairy wings in public?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    It would probably depend on your age, and your own level of comfort wearing them in public.
  • Question
    What can I use instead of wire coat hangers?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    10 gauge copper wire. A higher gauge will likely be too weak to hold shape (definitely go no higher than 16). A smaller gauge will be much harder to shape.
  • Question
    Can boys also wear them?
    Pheonix RF
    Community Answer
    Yes, of course! To make them more masculine, make them a bit smaller and thinner.
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Quick Summary

To make fairy wings using cardboard and ribbon, start by sketching your design on a sheet of paper. Next, cut out your template and trace it onto cardboard. Then, cut the wings out just inside the lines and score them down the middle. Once the wings are ready, paint or decorate them however you like. After they dry, punch 2 holes on the right side and 2 holes on the left side of the fold line. Thread 2 separate ribbons on either side of the fold, making sure they're long enough to wrap around your shoulders and tie into bows.

Did this summary help you?
  • A pair of pliers will help you hold the wires and bend them precisely.
  • Layer pieces of iridescent cellophane to create unique designs.
  • Sprinkle some iridescent glitter between the cellophane for extra sparkle.
  • If you can’t find 12-gauge wire, try 14-gauge or 16-gauge. Anything thinner will not hold up to the weight of the wings.
  • Dye the nylons and let them dry before using them for your wings. This way, you don’t have to use spray paint.
  • Another alternative to spray paint is to apply acrylic paint or fabric paint using a foam brush or a sponge.
  • Look at pictures of butterfly wings, dragonfly wings, and fairy wings for inspiration.


  • Do not use spray paint indoors. Use it in a well-ventilated space, preferably outside.

Things You'll Need

Using Coat Hangers and Stockings

  • 4 wire coat hangers
  • Wire cutters (heavy duty)
  • Duct tape
  • 4 white or neutral-colored knee-high stockings
  • Ribbon
  • Glue gun
  • Spray paint (optional)
  • Glitter glue and/or rhinestones (optional)

Using Cardboard and Ribbon

  • Pen or pencil
  • Paper
  • Cardboard or poster paper
  • Paints and paintbrushes
  • Box cutter or craft blade
  • Ribbon
  • Scissors
  • Embellishments (i.e.: glitter, rhinestones, fake flowers, etc.)

Using Wire and Cellophane

  • Poster paper
  • 50 to 55 lb (23 to 25 kg) wire
  • Wire cutters (heavy duty)
  • Foil tape
  • Iridescent cellophane
  • Spray adhesive
  • Paper
  • Scissors

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