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Realistic Wing Tutorial - P.0

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By Sunnybrook1   |   Watch
Published: March 6, 2013
© 2013 - 2019 Sunnybrook1
Some of you asked for it, so here it is - a list of the materials needed to follow my tutorial and make a full set of realistic costume wings.

Click here for a transcription/text version of this list~

Part 0 - MATERIALS :pointl: YOU ARE HERE
Part 0.5 - TOOLS
Part 1 - CONCEPT
Part 2 - FEATHERS
Part 3 - HARNESS
Part 4 - ASSEMBLY
Part 5 - COVERTS
Part 6 - ARM-COVER WIP
EXTRA -  RESULTS: See what OTHER people have made following this tutorial~ :la:

Still working on the last part - post questions, suggestions, and encouragement below~ :D

EDIT 05/19/2014: Made sure to add that 12 gauge wire is equivalent to hanger wire, as the latter is becoming harder to find in some areas.
EDIT 05/16/2017: Hot tip from TatianaDragonWhisper, if you find dog collars at your local dollar store you can harvest parachute buckles & D-rings from them for cheap!

Already finished your wings? Please fill out this questionnaire, I'd love to hear about it!


Wing Design/Tutorial © Sunnybrook1
Image size
1000x3736px 2.33 MB
Comments161
anonymous's avatar
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StrangeCat-13's avatar
StrangeCat-13Hobbyist General Artist
I'm so excited to make a pair of these for my crow harpy costume! Thank you for all the time and effort to make this tutorial! I was thinking of thrifting a few umbrellas for wire in place of the hangers? I have a one busted umbrella already. The wire seems flexible  enough and bounces back to its original shape. What do you think?
Sunnybrook1's avatar
Sunnybrook1Hobbyist Artisan Crafter

Depends on the umbrella/wire thickness, but sure! Umbrella spines are usually light but strong - as with any untested material, I'd try it with <i>one</i> first, then see how it goes~

If you share pictures of the results, I'd love to see them!

StrangeCat-13's avatar
StrangeCat-13Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks so much for getting back to me! Will do!
Winterschlaeferchen's avatar
I'm sooooo absolutly gratefull for this tutorial! totally try to get all stuff or trying some different stuff. So THANK YOU!
starlagirl's avatar
wowie....so much supplies but  its going to be so hard to find what I need o-o
not to mention expensive to get all that wire and fabric

but I am not giving up XD
Sunnybrook1's avatar
Sunnybrook1Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
It's worth it, I think, and I've tried to mention alternatives to having to buy expensive new materials, when I can. Wire hangers, cheap dog collars, bed sheets, & so on. I wish you luck~ :thumbsup:
starlagirl's avatar
oh my god- I already have 14 yards of white cotton fabric QuQ
I shoulda looked here at the time but my mom bought the fabric without me lol
Sunnybrook1's avatar
Sunnybrook1Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Well, you have it now I guess? ^^; Use what you got~
starlagirl's avatar
*nods, determined* I shall complete this XD I even found 100ft copper 12 gauge wire....which took longer than expected
FennekinTheFabulous's avatar
FennekinTheFabulousHobbyist Artist
Oh, golly. I'm going to attempt to make the wings today,
Sunnybrook1's avatar
Sunnybrook1Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Oh boy, if you do post pictures, as always I'd love to see~ 
Shadkill's avatar
ShadkillHobbyist General Artist
I don't have a glue gun, mine blew up today hah XD
Sunnybrook1's avatar
Sunnybrook1Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Oh dear! :O_o: That sounds exciting, though not in the good way - hope you're able to replace it.
Shadkill's avatar
ShadkillHobbyist General Artist
yea we are ok xD I'm looking for an replacement now XD
TGreyhawk's avatar
TGreyhawkHobbyist General Artist
Ok, I've had this lurking in my favorites for some time, while I gathered together the materials and worked on the rest of my costume. I can't WAIT to finally get started, and want to thank you BUNCHES for this awesome tutorial!!!

My question is this: what is the benefit of the 12gauge wire and alligator clips? I saw mention that someone, somewhere had used straws??? I'm looking to try and keep the weight on mine down, and interested in alternate options as opposed to all that metal? Any suggestions would be much appreciated!
Sunnybrook1's avatar
Sunnybrook1Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Good luck with your build!

The 12 gauge wire is strong & can hold up thicker fabrics like broadcloth & felt, if you go the straw route you'll need to use thin/light fabric & spreadable glue (wall-paint-as-glue doesn't work as well unless the fabric is thick enough to absorb it) as well as dowels to mount the feathers on, like so:
animatronic wing frame 04 by Bushitaka

Alligator clips: they're a bit pricey, but they allow you to adjust the secondary feathers more easily, HOWEVER I found that bending the end-bit of wire around the elastic & clamping it down tight enough to stay still allows you to tug it into a new position if needed:
Feather Names Labeled 2 by Sunnybrook1
TGreyhawk's avatar
TGreyhawkHobbyist General Artist
Oooh gotcha. Im looking at using either a cotton/poly blend or repurposed jersey knit (tshirt material) bedsheets so I might  need the heavier wire as opposed to the dowel rods I was eyeballing. I didn't realize the clips made the feathers adjustable, but that makes perfect sense. I'll experiment a bit and see what suits. Thanks so much for the reply!
Sunnybrook1's avatar
Sunnybrook1Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Clips are more easily adjustable & removeable, but honestly crimping a bit of the wire around the elastic just as well, it's just harder to unbend & remove if the feather needs replacing.

But BOY is it a time-saver when making the wings, no need to glue & wait & hope they don't come undone in the future.
TGreyhawk's avatar
TGreyhawkHobbyist General Artist
It has been DONE! Or something like it, lol. Lot of tweaks, mods, and touch-ups still to go, but....

Meet Greyhawk... WiP by TGreyhawk
Spinejackel's avatar
SpinejackelHobbyist Digital Artist
(forgot to add to original comment) I see you recommend broadfabric, but are there other kinds you would recommend? What would you recommend NOT using?
Spinejackel's avatar
SpinejackelHobbyist Digital Artist
what kind of fabric did you use or what would you recommend using? 

And with the painting part.. does it have to be paint? I feel like paint won't hold as well as fabric glue or contact adhesive would.
Sunnybrook1's avatar
Sunnybrook1Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I recommend NOT using: anything that's super heavy or expensive or rare, since they take lots of materials & if you ever want to repair them in the future not being able to find the right fabric would make it difficult.

And nope, doesn't have to be paint, I used what was cheapest & what worked - people have made it work with everything from spray adhesive, wallpaper glue, elmers glue (the strong gallon-sized stuff), hot glue, etc. There are pros/cons to each kind, could probably make an entire chapter in a wing-making books on types of glue & their effects. ^^;

I personally have liked the paint because despite the (cons) use too much & the paint color bleeds through the fabric a bit & may need to be color-corrected afterwards, and slides around more easily before it's dried, meaning I have to handle it more carefully, it has some unique (pros) once it has dried & you find something is off slightly/needs corrected, it can be peeled apart fairly easily & repainted, BUT it still keeps the fabric layers together quite reliably (up to a certain size) and the paint I used had a flexibility to it that allowed the resulting feathers to be flexible as well.

Some glues dry so stiff that the feathers make clacking sounds when they hit each other, unlike the soft rustling of soft fabric against fabric, or the thwack of a suddenly open wingspan~

Could kinda go all day about this, but really just wish I had tons of materials & some time, would love to do a weekly livestream where w just test out materials & see what the results are. :aww:
Spinejackel's avatar
SpinejackelHobbyist Digital Artist
I like making my cosplays a little stronger than clothes you buy at the store (especially the bigger some part of a cosplay gets) because in crowded places like cons, parts can get accidentally kicked/stepped on and could break or rip. And it's never fun when you have a part of your cosplay breaking at a con and you can't fix it, hints the original plan to use stronger/heavier fabric and asking about paint vs. glue to avoid such accident from happening.

This is very helpful. Thank you so much!
centaurieth's avatar
centauriethStudent General Artist
heyo! I really love these wings, and thank you so much for making this tutorial! I'm going to try making a pair for my decidueye cosplay. I have plenty of time for trial and error and plenty of material at home already so hopefully it will work out fine, i'm pretty excited to try it out!
anonymous's avatar
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