Earlier this week I got an email from Eli that said:
“I googled fairy wings and came across your picture. I love what you did and was wondering if you could share how you made them? I’m asking because some friends of mine are shooting a music video and we wanted to have a fairy in the video. 🙂
Unfortunately, the email address Eli gave me bounced back. After feeling sad that I couldn’t help an aspiring fairy make her wings I realized I have a blog. Now it’s a writing blog, and normally I keep pretty close to the topic, but it’s almost Halloween, so…
Eli probably found a picture of my amazing wings from Enchanted Hearth Designs. More than a decade ago, I bought wings from Deanna at Enchanted Heart on eBay. Now she has a great Etsy shop that produces custom and regular wings. She does amazing work, my wings sparkled brilliantly even after a decade of use. They never tore or ripped despite being worn to the Maryland Fairy Festival and on rides at Disney World. I even wore them to run various Halloween 5ks. (Where I won for best costume, because my wingmaker is just plain amazing).
The wings are sheer organza surged on the edges with a sleeve that goes over a metal piece which slides between my back and my corset. The metal is a single piece, bent into a square-bottomed u shape. They’re comfortable and travel well in a FedEx triangle box as checked baggage or shipped via ground (they weigh less than 5lbs). A word about cost: wings are not cheap. Enchanted Hearth has wings from $95 to $40. The bigger the wings the higher the price. Mine were around $75.
I also made my DIY Fairy wings using old dry-cleaning hangers and cellophane.
Simple DIY fairy wings steps:
- Pull the flat portion of a drycleaning hanger (cheap wire hanger) until it resembles a hoop, with the hook on one side.
- Straighten the hook.
- Repeat with 3 other hangers.
- Twist the hooks together.
- Cover the hooks with duct tape or another soft on the skin tape.
- Sandwich the wings between cellophane on a safe working surface (so cellophane, the empty wing frame, then another piece of cellophane).
- Use a hair dryer set on very high (or a heat gun if you have one) to melt the cellophane. Be careful not to melt the cellophane, or be ready to artfully melt the cellophane so no one thinks it was an accident.
These wings are worn by tucking the braid hanger hooks between a sports bra and your skin or by tying a ribbon around the braids to make a harness.
Here are some tutorials with roughly the same steps and pictures:
The DIY wings cost less than $15 in materials. They took me about three hours to make three pairs. The first two were epic failures. The photo above is my third set of DIY wings. If you Google “cellophane fairy wings” you can find some really amazing wings out there. Please remember, you’re not seeing anyone’s first attempt.
Also, bear in mind that cellophane wings aren’t as durable as the cloth wings. I wore these for a day at Disney World. By the end of the day they were destroyed. To contrast, my cloth wings made it through multiple Disney days without a scratch.
A word on wing size: I bought my purple wings in size “oh my yes”. I justified it by saying my wings would have to be twice my height to lift me off the ground. This meant that in large gatherings I had to have a ‘wingman’ walking behind me keeping the tips of my wings from gouging someone’s eyes out. As a smaller than average person (61.75 inches/1.6meters tall) I often forgot to adjust for wing height when it came to doors or openings in the crowd.
I’d recommend starting with wings in a more medium height, one less prone to hurting others or restricting movement. While I love my purple fairy wings with a passion I’ve wished many many times that I got a more neutral color – sparkly white gossamer wings or black veined dragon wings may have been a bit more versatile.
Then again, wings aren’t really about making the sensible choice, are they?
So Eli, and anyone else who decides to become a fairy, I hope that helps. My wings gave me great joy. They became a way to introduce myself and my culture – “I’m the girl who wears 6 ft purple fairy wings on the weekends”). I hope your wings do the same. Good luck!