I had just come back from South Africa and I was inspired by the frequent reuse of Coke cans, bottles, bottle caps and the like that I saw.
Step 1: Step 1: Procure Materials (and Safety Tips)
-steel wire of various gauges: I used 14 gauge for the framing, 16 or 18 gauge for the ribs and smaller details and 28 gauge for attaching various larger gauges together
-coke cans: I used, I think 60-80 Coke cans. I'd advise looking in recycling bins and whatnot. My office at work goes through a lot of Coke cans. Mixing in some Diet Coke or other cans might also work well, to give it a more varied look like some birds have.
-duct tape: of course
-needle-nose pliers: the kind that have the wire cutting part work well for double duty
-scissors: use cheap ones that you don't care about being destroyed because they will be dull when you're done.
-copious amounts of free time: I spent a lot of time making this and expect that you might as well.
Safety note cutting soda cans will create sharp edges. Additionally small gauge wire is sharp. Take proper precautions while working on this costume and while wearing it around.
Step 2: Make the wing frame
First I made the outer frame out of the thickest gauge wire. I then added a second frame on 2 of the three sides in sort of a wedge (see second photo) for some strength and then connected the two.
Then I added the center rib running down the length of wing and the ribs running up and down the wing. These will be useful to attach the "feathers".
Lastly I added the handle to the end.
I did this sort of by eye and then matched the second one to the first.
Step 3: Make feathers
Wash out the cans and then dry them or let them dry as best you can. Cut the top and bottom off of the can. I used either scissors or a blade (utility knife or the like) for this. Careful!
Then cut the the can top to bottom to get what I call the 'can blank.' Make sure it's dry and flatten it out a bit. Cut the can blank in half in the long direction and you'll get two 'feather blanks'.
The length of the feather depends on how far down the wing you are. The ones near the tip are pretty short, while the ones near the base are basically the full length of the feather blank. The sides of the feather are just straight and you cut a curve into the tip. Then cut two tabs on the 'inside' (the left for the right wing and the right for the left wing) and one tab at the top. These will be used for attaching the feathers to the ribs on the wings.
Step 4: Put the feathers on the wings
The second feather will go to the left and below. Again, wrap the side tab around the rib and the top tab around the horizontal (length-wise) rib. The third feather goes above the second feather. The fourth goes
Feathers will always overlap the the one to the right. The feathers above the lengthwise rib will overlap the feathers below that rib.
You just continue toward the center until you have covered all the ribs.
Step 5: Finish up the wing
Step 6: Connect the wings to each other
I connected the two wings with a simple loop of wire (actually with a couple mini loops in it to keep the wings from sliding around the loop.). I put this over my head when I was wearing the wings and then put my hands through the handles. When I wanted to eat food or something I could let go of the handles and the wings would hang off of my shoulders.
Step 7: Make the frame for the mast
I made it to sit on a baseball cap that I was wearing backwards. This made sure that the small gauge wire wouldn't stick into my head and also allowed me to make the part that went on my head pretty simple.