Picture of Lightwings: Fiber Optic Fairy Wings
Add some glamour to your fairy costume using fiber optics.

This method for light up wings uses a simple circuit of LEDs and a battery to achieve a look a similar to EL wire, but thinner and almost invisible when not lit up. The lighting isn't as even as EL wire because it uses a single light source instead of glowing along its length, but it was an interesting and fun experiment.

It would be pretty easy to advance the project by hooking the LEDs up to a LilyPad to create blinking or fading light effects as well.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

* Fairy wings (store bought or handmade), with any decoration removed from the middle/center of the wing frame
* Sparkle Fiber Optic Cable - a specialty fiber optic that lights up along the length of the cable, choose the kind with 6 strands. The amount will depend on how large your wings are: in this example I used ~4 ft.
* Sewable Coin Cell Battery Holder
* 3V CR2032 Coin Cell Battery
* (2) 5mm or 3mm LEDs - super brights work best for a dramatic effect
* Conductive Thread
* Needle and Cotton Thread
* Felt
* Hot Glue Gun & Glue
* Electrical Tape
* Masking Tape (optional)
* Scissors
* Pliers
* Pen/Pencil
* Velcro
* Cardboard/Posterboard
sherylnd1 month ago

Love this idea! How long does the battery last with continuous use?

ninjanody4 years ago
lol. real nice instructable... i hope my girlfriend is not going to see this.. she is in love with fairy wings... she will force me to fix that for her.... :-)
the_gella (author) 4 years ago
Here's my Halloween costume using this technique - I added a switch in there and ended up soldering the connections instead of conductive thread, but the fiberoptics method was the same. I also made a matching mask with the left over ends.
Phusilly4 years ago
This is a great tutorial! Makes me want to be a faery next year! Thanks for posting :-D
TinCan4 years ago
At Radio Shack you can buy a 3 AAA battery holder with built-in on / off switch for $1.99 and use rechargeable AAA cells. May be a bit bulkier but in the long run, more usable & rechargeable.
Skyriam4 years ago
Hey great ideas! Thanks for sharing. I can't get the special fiber optic you mention, is there any way to get normal fiber optic to light all the way? Thanks!
TinCan Skyriam4 years ago
I called the link to wiedamark.com for the fiber optic cable and was able to order by phone a small amount. Their website has a $50 minimum, but by phone you can order as little as 1 foot + S&H
the_gella (author)  TinCan4 years ago
That's great news that you can order small quantities. Thanks for sharing that fact!
the_gella (author)  Skyriam4 years ago
If you are using normal fiber optic you can try sanding it a little bit along the length or scraping with an exacto knife or scissors, that should scuff up the surface enough to get some light. It won't be as bright as the specialty stuff, but I've had some ok results with that method, just make sure not to accidentally break the fiber optic by sanding/scraping too much.
katmajic4 years ago
How do we vote for you?
MrKazekage4 years ago
o very nicely done may i have an estimate of how much eveything cost? my friend would love this for her costume
the_gella (author)  MrKazekage4 years ago
The fiber optic I used was about $2.25 per foot, battery was $2.50, holder $1.25, and a 2 pack of LEDs was around $2.50. I had conductive thread and the wings on hand, but if you want a small sample of conductive thread you can get it for $5 at http://soft-circuit.com.

The total cost of materials to augment the wings should put you anywhere between $20-$40. (add in extra if you are buying your wings instead of making them).
well thank you very much ill get right on it haha i showed my mother this also so it looks like im making two one for my mother and best friend xD ill make the fairy wings and try a different method for angel wings it will look good with the feathers in my opinion. ill try and take a photo of the angel wings and show you thanks again ^-^
the_gella (author)  MrKazekage4 years ago
Awesome can't wait to see it : )
mkdieb4 years ago
Love it! how clever! The steps made it a cinch to follow!
Yeah for blinky bling fairy wings!
ChrysN4 years ago
So pretty!!
kenbob4 years ago
Nicely done instructable. good stuff!