Introduction: Light-up Tinkerbell Wings and Dress

Tinker Bell/Fairy Wings

This is still a work in progress. This is how I made the dress,
but I am working in trying to figure out ways to make it easier
and more durable not to mention working even better.

Materials and Tools
  4 large sheets of starched felt
  9 gage wire or wire hanger
  LED lights
  Copper beading wire
  Masking Tape
  1”-2” Ribbon
  Small pliers
  Wire cutters
  Lily Tiny
  Battery holder
  3volt coin battery
  Dress that is desired size
  Beading Wire
  Conductive thread
  Normal thread
  LED lights
  Iron on interfacing
  Wire cutters
  Masking tape
  Lily Pad
  Battery holder (I used 2 because of the amount of lights that I used)
  Battery holder (I used 2)
  Small piece of starched felt
Supper glue (you may want to put a dot on your knots because conductive thread doesn’t hold a knot as well as normal thread.)

Tinker Bell/Fairy Wings

1. Draw one wing to the size and shape that you wish. Using the drawn pattern, cut four pieces out of starched felt.

2. Using the pattern again bend wire (I used 9 Gauge wire) to the shape of the wing bending ends to fasten them together. Make 2 of these.

3. Place 1 starched felt wing on one of the wire shapes and using needle and thread, fasten them together.  Do this with the second wire frame first flipping it so it is facing the other direction.

4. Using drawn pattern decide where you would like to place lights. Place small pencil marks on the felt wings in corresponding places.

5. Using xacto knife make hole for LED light by placing the tip in felt and twisting. (take care not to make the hole to big) Place a light in each of the holes that you just made.

6. Attach beading wire to each of the lights and run towards where the two sides of the wing will connect and leave some extra wire so that you will have enough to attach it to the lily tiny later. Place a piece of masking tape in any spots in which the wires cross.

7. Next is the negative line for the lights. I used the wire frame as my negative line and attached each of the LED lights to it using beading wire.

8. Place the ends of the wings together so that they overlap to make the connection sturdy. Sew the two pieces together.

9. Place the other two pieces of felt on the wings in order to cover the wires. Place the lily tiny slightly off center in the middle (placing it off center will leave room for the battery holder later). Trace the holes of the lily tiny as a guide but don’t attach it yet.  Poke the wires from each side of the wings into the corresponding holes, once again placing tape where they may overlap. Attach the felt pieces to the wire frame using a needle and thread.

10. Now attach the lily tiny by using the beading wire that is attached to the lights and don’t for get to attach the negative lines using beading wire to attach the lily tiny to the wire frame. Also attach a battery holder. 

11. Now cut a piece of starched felt that will cover the battery and the lily tiny and sew it in place along one edge and put Velcro at the other so that it can be covered when the wings are being used but the battery is still accessible. 

12.  Using glue, draw desired design on the wings and cover with glitter. (Cover your work Surface with a large piece of paper to help keep glitter from getting everywhere, which it will anyway.) Let sit until completely dry and then carefully shake off extra glitter and flip over to other side and repeat process.

13. This is the point in which you make it so that the wings are not just flat. On the outside edges of the cover of the battery and lily tiny bend wire so that wings come upward slightly.

14. Now cover the exposed wire frame and stitching along edges with glue and glitter. Let dry.


15. While you are letting the last of the glue finish drying you can make some leaves or something to decorate the middle where you attached the cover.  This is not necessary, but by doing this you can also tie the look of the wings into the rest of the costume by using material used in dress. (I just used the scraps from the wings and material from the dress.) 

16. Cut 2 pieces of ribbon long enough so that when center of ribbon is in the middle of back it can reach over the shoulder and under the arm and tied in a bow.  Attach the center of the ribbons to the center of the back of the wings. (The wire that you can see in my pictures of both the back and the one that shows the lily tiny is not needed. It is something that I put in there when trying to figure out how to make these and is wasn’t causing problems so I just left it.) 

17. Enjoy your fairy wings.

1. Start with a dress that you think would work for a fairy costume. You can buy it or make one if you would like. (I made mine because I am a bit picky about what I wanted.)

2. Decide where you would like the lights and place them there by poking the prongs into the material and then curling the ends on the other side. Poke the shorter of the two prongs towards the hem and the longer ones towards the waist. (Some of my lights were placed through holes that I had cut, but I found that this way was much easier and actually looked a little better to do it this way.)  I places mine just above the bottom hem so that running the negative line would be easier to run to all the lights but you may place them anywhere, you will just have to adjust how you do the wiring.

3. To run the negative line you will start in the back of the dress, or the side if there is a seam that runs up the side and not the back.  Using the beading wire you will attach to the negative wire of the LED light and then run the wire inside the hem to the next light where you will attach to this one also. Beading wire is thin enough that you can do this using a needle. Continue this all around the dress until all the lights have been connected. (Make sure that the dress is not bunched along the wire as you go. Give it enough that it will look natural but not too much or it will look stretched.) At the last light continue the negative line by running it up the seam.  Have the wire come out of the inside of the dress and leave plenty of wire so that you can reach the back of the dress, if you are not already there, plus a little extra.

4. Next you will be attaching positive lines to each of the LED lights.  Using beading wire attach to a LED light and then do a running stich up to about the waist line.  You can make the stich wavy or straight depending how you want it to look, it will show on the outside of the dress, just be careful not to cross lines with another light. At the waist you will curl the wire around the end of pliers to create a sturdy loop in which you can hook conductive thread later. Do this for each of the rest of the LED lights. 

5. Now cut a rectangle out of starched felt big enough to fit your lily pad and battery holder. (One of my battery holders is on the reverse side because I ended up adding it later and had not planed on it.)  Place the lily pad on the rectangle and one at a time attach beading wire to each port that you wish to use then poke it through the felt and run it long the back to one side and make a loop, same as you had done with the positive lines, so that it hangs off the edge. Do this to the negative port also.
6. Attach the battery holder to the lily pad with beading wire. Turn the rectangle over and make sure that none of the lines cross or touch then cover with glue and place another rectangle of starched felt over it cover wires and keep them from moving and touching. You may sew around the felt rectangles at this point to make sure they stay together if you wish, but it is not required.

7. Once the glue is dry on the felt rectangles you will attach it to the waist of the dress in the back by placing the edge that has all the wire loops along the seam of the waist and stitching it in place with regular thread.

8. Now you will need to decide what lights go to what ports. Start by numbering your ports with pieces of masking tape and them figure out how many lights will need to go to each of the ports. Number your lights with masking tape also so you know which ones you are taking where. Be sure that you are spreading out the numbers so that you don’t have lights that go to the same ports to close to each other.   

9. For this next part I have thought of using really thin insulted wire to make it easier but I did not have access to it so I had to do it the more difficult way.  Using conductive thread I went from each loop I had made for the lights to the corresponding loop of the port using the labels I had put on earlier so I knew where each one went. It might be helpful to attach one edge of a strip of material along the waistline seam so that you can run the thread through this, otherwise it will show on the outside.  I did not have to do this because the dress I used had multiple layers so I just ran the conductive thread through one of the lower layers.  Be careful not to cross lines, and if they must cross then off set the running stiches so that the material is between them where they do cross. Don’t pull the thread to tight or it will scrunch the material. (I don’t really have a diagram for this because it will be different for each dress depending on the dress style and the number of lights.)

10. Once you have all the lights attached to the lily pad test them by downloading some code that will just turn the lights on.

11. To make sure that the lines will not cross or touch as the dress moves cut strips of light weight fusible interfacing and iron over the lines, especially in areas that lines are close to touching or are loose.

12. To make it so that the lily pad and battery holder are not scratchy and exposed cut a rectangle that is large enough to cover both sides of the starched felt one out of fabric that matches dress.  To give it some strength, add some interfacing to it. Sew one edge of the fabric to the backside of the felt rectangle along edge that is attached to dress. Fold over to other side and using Velcro attach it so that the lily pad is covered.

Lily Pad Code

Work in progress….

At the moment I jest have the lights on and I am proud of that. Eventually I will have them blinking at different times, making it look like it is twinkling.