If its an occasion for costumes, why not turn your fuzzy creature into a mythical one with these faerie wings? With barely any cost and just some skill you can make some wings for a dog (or anything else, really) of any size.
I was out looking for a costume for my 2 pound Teacup Pomeranian Gigi, but nothing was small enough or cute enough. Ive been making faerie wings (For humans) for a while though and I decided to scale my original, more simple design down a bit to fit her. Heres the result:
Step 1: Your Materials
I didn't need to go and buy anything for this project but instead foraged around my house and craft supply boxes for things I would need. Though I'm an avid crafter and have a large supply of items, you may need to pick a few things up. Heres a list of the things you'll need:
- A puppy - (Or any pet you have and want to stick wings on) My dog Gigi is perfect for this
- A hot glue gun
- A metal hanger (Get it from a dry cleaner or your boyfriend's closet)
- Shimmery translucent fabric, (Chiffon works: mine was part of a flower arrangement)
- Felt or any other stiff fabric
- Acrylic or fabric paints
- Acrylic paint sealant spray
- Sewing machine and needle & thread
- Short length of Velcro (Back and front!) OR a large safety pin
- Wire cutters
- Needle nose pliers
- Things to decorate the harness (I chose pearls, little fabric flowers, silk ribbon, and glitter)
You could always substitute these items with ones you have and think would work, though Ive made lots of sets of fairy and angel wings and Ive found these to be the best ones.
Step 2: Cutting the Hanger
Take the hanger and cut off the looped part from the top, leaving the rest behind. Discard the loopy bit (Unless you have a fabulous use for it).
Wow, this was a long step.....
Step 3: Bending the Hanger
Form the hanger using your hands to bend it into two diamond shapes on either side. You can aim for perfect symmetrical shapes but you can always fidget with it later. I make one side of each wing shape more of a sharp corner then leave the other side sort of curved for a nice little shape. (See photo #1)
Using your pliers, bend the cut ends of the wire around in the middle bit of the hanger. Do the same with the other side but wrap it around the already existing bent end so you can secure them together. Once you do this you can use your hands to bend it all into the exact middle. (See photo #2)
If you think its a little too thick, you can always take a hammer and flatten the joint a little bit. Be gentle though as the metal of the hangers always seems difficult to hammer without snapping.
Take the frame and bend it in the middle so that they resemble wings a bit more and wont just lie flat on your dog's back but stick up and have a little movement. (See photo #3)
After all this you should have the frame for the wings and your fingers should hurt just a little. :)
Step 4: Marking and Cutting Your Fabric
Using your frame as a guide, use a pencil to mark out a shape on your fabric. I like to leave a little space on the edges so that I'll have some wiggle room when it comes time to glue it down. The shapes don't have to be perfect as you can trim them later once they're glued down.
I make two different stenciled pieces of fabric as either side of the frame aren't going to be exact. Mark the right side of the fabric with the pencil so you don't confuse them and use the wrong side of the fabric (Yes, fabric has a right and a wrong side). I like to use the most shimmery side as it adds interest and is the prettiest.
Step 5: Gluing Your Fabric to the Frame
Using a glue gun, (You could use different glue but I don't think it would hold up as well as we're dealing with metal) glue on the fabric to the frame in sections as the glue cools down too quickly if you do the whole thing at once. Use your fingers to push down on the fabric on top of the glue to make it come through the fabric, that way you'll know it will hold really well.
If you feel like it doesn't have enough staying power (Like if your dog doesn't weigh 2 pounds like mine does) you could use a coordinating color thread and sew all around the frame and tack down the fabric.
I know if you look at the wings, they look sort of haggard as you can see the glue through the fabric and the hanger too. After painting and decorating the wings though, you won't be able to see any of the skeleton of the piece.
Step 6: Check It Out
I wanted to just see what the finished product would look like on my dog's body so I held them up to my puppy.
Awe, so cute! (I think she wanted to taste them mostly though)
The wings look sort of over sized, but they don't weigh anything at all, so don't feel like you're being cruel in strapping metal to your dog's back.
Step 7: Measuring and Cutting a Harness
Use either the piece of felt (Or whatever fabric you've chosen to make the harness out of) or a measuring tape, to measure out how much you'll need to wrap snugly around your dog's midsection. It has to be sort of snug other wise the weight of the wings (However minimal) will cause them to make the harness slip and fall to the side. Make sure to allow for overlapping so that you can attach the Velcro on both ends.
You could always use a fabric that matches the color of your dog, but since its sort of a cute little costume, having nice coordinated colors appeals to me.
Measure her shoulders as I like to add little shoulder straps for extra stability (It may seem a bit too much, but Ive found its necessary to kept the whole thing from being wiggled down off the puppy).
Mark out and cut the felt and lay it all out, cutting a small strip to go over the joint of the wings. You can mark with a pencil to show where it all lays out if you feel it will help it all go smoothly.
Step 8: Sewing the Harness Straps
Here is where I love using the felt: No need to hem anything. :)
Using your sewing machine (Or needle and thread) make the necessary stitches to sew on the straps. Note: Ive sewn my harness with black thread to better show where to stitch and later I'll just cover the stitching with ribbon. Feel free to choose a coordinating color thread to blend into your fabric choice.
I put the cut and measured pieces for the straps around my dog and then marked where on the harness to sew the straps on. I left one strap with a larger opening to enable me to safely put the costume on and off without having to put too much tension on my pup's arms. It looks strange when not on her actual body (You can't tell when shes dressed) but its better to give them enough room so you can dress them easily and not have to bend their little elbows too much.
A note of safety: Please take into account your dog's anatomy when creating anything for them to wear. Putting too much tension or tightness around their bodies and joints can effect them negatively.
Step 9: Sewing on the Velcro
Attach the Velcro to both ends of the midsection piece at the bottom, tummy area of the harness, making sure to give just enough wiggle room for your dog and still be snug enough to comfortably support the wing structure. Make sure that the softer, "female" side of the Velcro is the one that will be facing your dog's skin as it helps to lessen the probability of tangling in their fur (Thats a concern for longer hair dogs).
Alternatively, if you have chosen to go with the safety pin as a closure, do it ONLY because your dog is not yet fully grown. Instead of sewing on the Velcro, use the safety pin to (CAREFULLY) attach both side of the harness together.
This is the option I have gone with on this project because my dog is only 5 months old and will grow to about 5 pounds when shes finished growing. Later though, when she is fully grown, I'll add the Velcro using the above steps.
Step 10: Attaching Wings to Harness
Take both your wings and lay the joint of the them against the center of the back of the harness and lay it out the way you want them to face. As fairy wings generally sit back, I like to have them pointing away from the head of the puppy, as if they're in flight (Use your imagination!).
Using hot glue, glue down the wings to the harness. You'll need to use A LOT of glue. I have a mini glue gun and I used about 3 of the mini sticks for this step!
Apply glue all over the top of the joint and lay down your reserved piece of felt over the top of it. It not only covers up the twisted metal joint, but once you sew and tack it all down, you'll have a lot of support too.
The fabric covering the joint doesn't need to be attractive as you'll cover it with decoration in the next step, so sew and glue all you think you'll need for support.
Step 11: Painting and Decorating
This is the best step because all of the hard construction is done and you can use your imagination to make the wings look really great. Get ideas from paintings and drawings of fairies online. I used Molly Harrison's art to provide inspiration for these wings (mollyharrisonart.com).
Since my fabric was a lavender color, I used lavender, pink, aqua, and lime colored paints to make them really vibrant and colorful. You can choose your own color palate based on whatever color your chosen fabric was.
I like using acrylic craft paint over using fabric paint because it has great vibrant colors to choose from and you can always seal it later with acrylic sealant if you think its necessary. If using sealant, once the sealant is sprayed and wet, add micro-glitter to the wings and it'll help tack it down.
After painting the fabric of the wings, use your gathered supplies to cover up the construction elements of the joint of the wings on the harness. I glued on some fabric flowers, sewed on some plastic pearls and I'm going to affix some ribbon to trail over my dog's back. Of course, with something like this, glitter is never a bad thing.
A note of safety: When looking for decorative additions, note if the position of them on the piece is going to put them in reach of your dog's all-consuming mouth. Little hard pieces and curious puppy mouths never mix well.
Step 12: Admire Your Work
Take the wings, put them on your puppy and enjoy!
This entire project took about 3 hours all together (You could spread out all the steps to adapt to your time allowances) due to drying times on paint and spray glaze. It was super fun and rewarding and come on: its dang cute. :)
Let me know how you think this Instructable went as its my first try at one. Please vote too!
Coming soon: Puppy Angel Wings!