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Cosplay wing tutorial

By etaru
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**Photo is large**

Why? Because I need proof that I'm not twindling my thumbs in cosplay! XD So I thought to upload it in a "tutorial" type photo.
Sorry for the aweful quality of the bottom photos, they got resized and went "Blah, Etaru's messing with us again....let's tick her off!!" And so they did... ⌐__⌐
In these photos, only one wing was done (but refer to other photos in my gallery to see the full set^^)

The steps:
1.) Bend copper wire (preferably thicker wire, or hangers if you have none) into the desired shape (think bird-in-the-distance: -v-)

2.) Bend a box-like base at the bottom, where they'll rest against your back when the wings are bent to extend away from your body.

3.) Cut chicken wire (or fence wire, whatever you feel is more structurally sturdy, but light) into either a rectangle or triangle shape. This will be "body" of the wings.

4.) Attach chicken wire to the wire base~~ Keep in mind, make the base at least 3-5 inches smaller than what you want the wings to be, because the length of the feathers should extend beyond it.

5.) Glue (white) batting onto the chicken wire, covering all wire. DO NOT USE FELT. I've seen it done and it's not as attractive when light is passed through the wings, batting helps diffuse the light so there's not a stark contrast between your feathers and the wire. Make as few folds/creases as possible, this will make laying the feathers that much simpler.

6.) Get a feel for how you want the feather to look (aka look into birds' wings, or how the character's wings are drawn) before laying feathers. Lay the feathers out to get an idea of they should look like.

7.) TRIM THE FEATHERS unless the artwork was fraying feathers. Compare picture #1 with #5. See the difference? YOU WILL TRIM. I KNOW you will trim.

8.) Start gluing feathers onto batting, starting at the bottom and working your way up in layers, NOT DOWN.

~~~~~~ 8.5) You can't buy feathers as long as in #4 and #5, probably because there's no birds out there with feathers 3 feet long. Combine several for the longer feathers, cutting off the "stems" where there's the fluff for each except the bottom one. For the one in #5, there's about 4 or 5 combined together. The longer the feathers, the larger your wings will appear to be.

9.) Be sure to cover both sides of each wing with feathers! Photo #6 is the back of the wing, see how it looks identical to the front? So lay feathers in the same direction/pattern.

10.) When you peel the feather layers apart on the bottom and side, you'll be able to see the batting, so "plug" it up with leftover downs, or buy some smaller feathers specifically for that.

11.) Each feather on top the other will cover the stems, but not on the very top. Cover them with the fluffy small feathers called "downs" (not shown).

12.) When both wings are done, cover the center base with more batting and perhaps fluffy downs, so you don't give it away that you're not REALLY an angel ^_~

The feathers are one pound of white turkey hen rounds bought from RainbowFeather Co. [link] who'll treat you real nice. The smaller fluff feathers were purchased from JoAnn's, but I recommend getting 1/2 lb. of downs just so you won't run out for a project. (Half a pound has lasted me over 2 years and through more than 4 pairs of wings lol).

KEEP IN MIND: There are many other ways that work just as well - if not better - so explore the options before starting, and have fun!
Refer here for final result: [link]
In the Alexiel wings [link] , the wire base was substituted with 1/2" PVC pipe, which calls for a different type of harness.
IMAGE DETAILS
Image size
701x1073px 179.96 KB
Make
KONICA MINOLTA
Model
DiMAGE Z6
Shutter Speed
1/40 second
Aperture
F/2.8
Focal Length
6 mm
ISO Speed
80
Date Taken
May 24, 2007, 1:11:39 PM
Published:
© 2007 - 2021 etaru
Comments525
anonymous's avatar
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muxidrud's avatar
Thats pretty kewwl!
Mcrmy37's avatar
How did you attach your wings? 
etaru's avatar
It's described in the tutorial, they're fabric straps that's worn like a backpack. 
Anele1996's avatar
These wings look amazing!
And I really like the technique and your explanation for making longer feathers.

But, I have a few questions before i start trying to make my own.

Did you use hot glue?
And is it wire thats the harness piece in the senter on the back?
etaru's avatar
Thank you, I'm glad it helped! 
Yes, I used hot glue for the feathers, but you may feel free to use a stronger adhesive. 
The center of the harness is wire, yes. If you can get the harness center to be a thicker wire than the rest of the wings, it'll help a lot with stability. 
Anele1996's avatar
Thank you~ <3

Gosh, I look foroward to start crafting now! ^^
FlashbackingArtist00's avatar
Cool! Very nice tutorial; I shall try to make these!
miraigami's avatar
hi, i was wondering how many feathers are about 1/2 lbs?
etaru's avatar
Somewhere around 300, last time I ordered.
ItsReah's avatar
Hello, may I use your tutorial in my website? I'll gave you all the credits, of course. 
But, can I translate to my language? 
etaru's avatar
etaru's avatar
Thank you very much!
italyslasthope's avatar
How many feathers did you use or I guess pounds sense that's what they're sold in? thanks.
etaru's avatar
For these wings and my latest Alexiel wings etaru.deviantart.com/art/Knock… (mid-sized) I used 1 pound. 
xoxoAdrienne609's avatar
This is great! I wonder if the wings are also the method Victoria's Secret fashion show wings are made! 
etaru's avatar
They use similar but differing techniques to make them as light as possible for the models, a friend of mine worked on their runway wings for 2 seasons. 
hedwiglovesquidditch's avatar
added to favs def gonna try this tut thanks!
etaru's avatar
Best of luck! :)
EscapeTheWorld0's avatar
I'm trying to cosplay Setsuna Mudou from Angel Sanctuary and I really love your cosplay for Alexiel; especially the first set of wings you made for your costume
Can I ask you to list out the items that were needed and how much of each item you used?
I also read your tutorial on Cosplay Gen, where it says 'hot glue, heat gun'; does it mean 'hot glue' and 'heat gun', or just a 'hot gun gun'?
EscapeTheWorld0's avatar
When ordering from 'RainbowFeather Co', did you ever contact them by email? or did you only call them to make your orders?
I emailed them a few days ago to ask questions, but they haven't replied.

Also, I'm having trouble finding downs.
Is this the same type of feather? (Link)
If it's the same, the Joann I went to, also it's website, doesn't sell it as a package of feathers; they only have it premade as a boa.
etaru's avatar
I can't itemize out the materials for you, as you may require different ones from the ones I used, or in varying amounts depending on how large you need your wings to be. 
I used a hot glue gun with glue sticks, the heat gun was for bending the PVC pipe, but I highly recommend you use copper wire as base instead since it can be bent by hand or with pliers. 
EscapeTheWorld0's avatar
Well I wanted to know what you used and how much so I could compare it and adjust it to how I want it to be... By the way, I'm a beginner crafter
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Also I have more questions
1. If I used wire and made the wings as big as your previous set of wings, would the wire bend just from holding the weight of the wings?
2. On the back, as the wire of the wings come together, does it just end up being like a pole along your spine? Or, with 2-wings, a wide 'U'; with 3-wings, a wide 'U' with the third wing coming from the bottom of the 'U'?
3. From the weight of the wings, at the harness does it slide to an uncomfortable position? Or since you have a corset, the wings are attached and it's not a problem
4. From  above can you explain Step 2, I don't understand what you mean by it
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I'll probably ask more questions later... Thanks for the help
etaru's avatar
The best I can tell you is, you'll have to just experiment until you find what works best for you. Wings are not a one-technique-fits-all, it's a difficult prop that you have to play around with on the design construction that suits your needs. Even years later, I'm still refining materials and work flows to make them lighter, more flexible, and less expensive, and I've been doing this hobby for many years. Trial and error will be your best bet!
anonymous's avatar
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