Green Wings

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If you’re familiar with my work, you may know that I make angel wings from silk flower petals and sell them in my Etsy shop.

Blue and purple angel wings

I’m pretty proud of these wings, but they have one limitation: they can only be so big, since I can only get silk mums up to a certain size. So when I needed to make an archangel costume for my 72cm boy, I had to figure out something different for the wings.

After a lot of consideration, I went to the thrift store and bought an old silk blouse for a dollar. I pinned the fabric down on a layer of wax paper on a pizza box (it was flat and stable and available) and treated the silk with fabric stiffener.

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Sorry the picture’s upside down; I barely remembered to take any pictures at all.

This had the unfortunate result of leaving spots on the back side of the fabric. I’m not sure if the spots are transferred wax from the wax paper or pooled fabric stiffener. Maybe I’ll use parchment paper next time.

Then I measured out about a million rectangles and marked them with my sewline pencil, which I love for marking fabric, and cut them out.

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After they were cut out, I folded them in half and creased them and cut them to shape. If I decide to do this some more, I’ll experiment with shaping the feathers as the stiffener dries. Flower petals are curled, both front to back and side to side, but these will have to do.

I made a felt-over-wire armature just like I do for my smaller wings, only I supersized it. I call this the “chicken wing” stage of the project.

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Then I glued the feathers on, one at a time, like usual, and applied ribbons to one side for a harness. I touched it over with gold paint to hide the spots. The stiffened silk took the paint really well. It would be a good surface for painting, if one were into that sort of thing, which this one isn’t.

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I think they came out pretty well. The treated silk is pretty much exactly like the faux flowers, though maybe a little finer and more transparent. The only problem was, as huge as these wings looked while I was working on them, they were just barely big enough not to look silly on my boy. Seventy-two centimeters is HUGE! These wings are big enough for a standard 60cm doll, I think, but I will have to try making some even bigger wings later, with a different technique. These feathers aren’t detailed enough to be much bigger than this.

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