I promised this tutorial ages ago and since I was making a pile of wings this week, I decided now was the time. "Pile of wings"...hmm...is there a collective noun for a group of wings? Ack, I've been distracted by my inner word geek...back to the tutorial.
There are a few supplies that you'll need to make fairy wings:
plain white paper (copy, notebook, whatever)
32 gauge Florist's cloth covered wire ( the kind on a spool is best link )
small sharp scissors
non-toxic craft glue (I use Aleene's Tacky glue)
textile paint (I love Lumiere!)
a sheer shimmery fabric
dimensional or puffy fabric paint
applicator bottle and metal tip ( This is very important for those fine lines. Available here.)
an old towel
Now that you have your tools assembled let's go! The first thing you need is a wing design.
Look at pictures of butterflies and just make one that works for you. Here's one of mine:You'll need to have veins drawn on your wing and you will need to have a reverse copy. You can make this with your printer or simply tape the drawing to a sunny window and trace the pattern on the back side of the paper. (I like this; less wasteful of paper.)
Now take your wire and shape it to the outer lines of your pattern. Twist the ends together at the base of the wing and leave a tail. Easy peasy! How long of a "tail" depends on what type of doll I'm making. For the small dollhouse size pixies I need about 3" so I can wrap it around the doll.
Now paint the wing on both sides with the textile paint and let it dry. I like to use an egg carton with small holes punched in the bottom for my drying rack, it works great!
When the wings are dry, you'll need to cut a piece of the sheer fabric. Cut it bigger than the wing on all sides.
Here's where the old towel comes in. Apply the glue to ONE side of the wing. Remember you need a right and left wing so make sure you take this into account when gluing. I do this on top of an old towel and then gently blot the glue so it is evenly distributed and not too thick. Then lay the wing on the sheer fabric and gently press together (I use the towel for this as well.)
Now put your wing on a piece of wax paper. Once you've finished gluing all your wings, place another piece of wax paper on top and then weight them all down with a heavy book or two...at last those high school year books come in handy! You'll need to let these dry for 4-6 hours and then open the wax paper and give them an additional 30 mins or so. The glue needs to be completely dry.
Okay, now it's time to cut away the excess fabric from the outside of the wing. Be patient and cut carefully, right next to the wire. If the fabric is not sticking in any areas apply a tiny bit of glue and press together with your fingers; let dry again and then trim.
The next step is to mark the veins on the wing, this is why you needed a reverse pattern. I do this in pencil, but it depends on the fabric, a dark silk may require a white marking pen.
Now for the tricky part. You can use the tip that is already on the dimensional paint but I just don't think that they have a fine enough line. I switch out the tip on the bottle for a one of these in a size 5. This makes a very fine line.
Hold the wing slightly up and go carefully here when applying your lines as it's easy to make a mistake. If you really mess up you can blot the wing with a wet cloth, let it dry, and start over.
When you're done place the wing in a slightly bent position to dry. You don't want the wing lying flat at any point in this part of the process as the paint will soak through and spread.
Once the wings are dry, which takes about an hour, you're ready to go!
I hope this is helpful, please ask away in the comments section if you have any questions.