Introduction: Folding Dragon Wings

I've always loved dragons, and I've always loved dressing up as one for Halloween. However, the wings were always the main issue as stores don't sell ones that open/close or fold. I wanted to be able to walk through doorways without hitting the doors off the frames or having to take the wings off. Thus, I took to the internet, and after months of research I found a few ideas that I compiled together to create the look I wanted.


(this is just what we used and what worked for us, use whatever is best and works for you). Quantities are approximate. Adult assistance and supervision required

· Pencil

· Ruler + tape measure

· Paper

· Thread lock (blue)

· Drill + drill bits

· 14 Fender Washers 1”

· Flicker or lighter

· Black paint (outdoor) + brushes

· Eye hook

· 2 Metal strips – 10 gauge, 1 ½” x 15”

· Black foam (thick) or bicycle handle foam

· 1 Chord Lock

· 14 Binder Posts

· 34 #8 screws

· 2 D-rings

· Car seat harness

· 4 - 2” hinges

· Home-made mini hinge

· Paracord 20ft

· Wood – ¼” Baltic birch plywood for the bones, ¾” Baltic birch plywood for the backplate and ¼” x 7/8” x 16” for the push rods.

· Acrylic - 1/8”

Step 1: Intro

I have always loved the idea of making wings for a Halloween costume, and I thought a dragon would be perfect. So, when I found this image online, I just had to try to make them. I then enlisted the help of my dad to make these.

Step 2: Drafting the Bones

First start by making paper versions so you can be sure of the sizing. I couldn’t draw the curved piece so I just did a straight piece just to get an idea of what they’re going to look like and move like.

Step 3: Making the Bones

(Piece is 22” x 30”)

We used a CNC but the bones of the wings can be done by hand too. Lay out your pieces in aspire or draw them by hand. Then cut them out. Label the pieces as you see fit, this can be very helpful in later stages!

Step 4: Adjustment/verification Period

Moderately assemble the bones to get a clearer idea of their size, movements, and weight. Our entire assembly at the end weighs about 8 pounds. Adjust as needed or desired.

Step 5: The Backplate

This part may take more than one attempt (two attempts for us), as every person is different so our measurement might not work for you. Four holes for where the harness will attach. We cut out the bottom center of the backplate to lighten it up. Paint black.

Step 6: Attaching the Hinges.

Next, you’re going to attach one side of your hinges to the “hinge” pieces, and then attach the other end of the hinges to the backplate using a total of 24 #8 screws. The side that attaches to the back plate may need to be bumped up a bit so that the wings unfold and lay flat properly. During this step you can also put on the two d-rings that are used to help the wings move. One ring will get pushed up against the top of the second hinge set (see pictures for assistance), and the other approximately center between the top harness holes. Paint black.

Step 7: ​Push Bars

These allow you to control how the wings open and close, as well as the folding of them. The wood is ¼” x 7/8” x 16”, we rounded the edges. Paint the pieces before putting them together entirely – it’s easier, trust me. The hinge at the bottom is home-made. We cut a hinge in half, took out the pin and replaced it with an eye hook. We drilled a hole on each end of the rods, one end to connect to the TOP of each wing and the other end to connect to the hinge via binder posts.

Step 8: Assembling the Bones

Read very carefully and use the pictures! This assembly done best on the ground.

Paint all pieces black first. Then, using the binder posts, washers, the push, and thread lock(blue). You should put all of the bone pieces together only finger tight, using a screw driver will strip the binder posts and/or will make it too hard for the wings to move. Pay attention to which pieces are the inner pieces and which ones are the outer pieces. The TOP of each of the wings will have a longer binder post as the push rods connect there. The washers go between the bone pieces to allow them to be able to move against one another with ease. The thread lock will ensure that the wings don’t come apart no matter how much you open and close them. The basic order is: back of the binder post + bone + washer + bone + front of binder post with thread lock. Make sure that the front of the binder posts faces you, and the backs face the ground, otherwise you’ll have issues.

Step 9: Skid Plate

A piece of 1/8” acrylic that covers the hole at the bottom of the backplate so that the push bars don’t get caught on the bottom of the backplate. Secure with 4 #8 screws. The acrylic is fairly light and won’t add much weight to the wings overall.

Step 10: ​The Shoulder Supports

1 ½ “10-gauge metal strips, approximately 15 inches each. Using a metal rod, the approximate diameter of my shoulder, a hammer, and luck we bent the metal strips to fit comfortably on my shoulders. This was a lot of guess and check, only bending a little bit at a time. Once you are happy with the strips, mark two holes on each shoulder support for where the supports will connect to the inside of the backplate. Then cover with thick foam. Cut the foam so that it will cover the screws but won’t be between the metal and the backplate. Screw the supports on using 4 #8 screws.

Step 11: Harness!

Using the car seat harness, we looped the straps through the holes in the backplate. Tighten to the comfortability of the wearer.

Step 12: Threading the Paracord

Start by threading one end of the paracord through one of the holes for the harness attachment at the bottom of the backplate, then thread it down through the d-rings starting at the highest d-ring. Thread the paracord down through the eye hook, then back up through the d-rings. Thread the paracord through the other hole for the harness. Using a flicker or lighter melt the ends of the paracord, so that the ends won’t fray and come apart. Then push the ends through the front of the harness, through the opening between the plastic of the buckle and the fabric of the strap. Pulling on the paracord should lift the wings, releasing the cord will lower the wings. To secure the wings either up or down, use a cord lock.

You are now ready to SOAR!

Halloween Contest

Participated in the
Halloween Contest