Sunday, September 9, 2012

DIY: Cellophane Poster Board Wing Tutorial (with a harness)

Because you have always wanted to fly... you have right?  RIGHT?????

This is a random project I decided to do after being inspired by possible costume idea for a Renaissance Faire.  After searching for different options that would allow me to remain sane and cool during a hot summer day I realized the simplest would be a fairy.  Granted I could go as a modern medieval lady with a short skirt, short sleeves, lacking a petticoat, and no confining corset, but that would just not be my style.  I would rather dress correctly and doing so will not allow me any comfort but a fairy might.

So I went online and starting looking at different wings and came across a child safe wire free cellophane poster board wing.  The you tube video was well done.  She included a written script, links to the books she spoke of, and the template she used.  However, the project is not nearly as simple as she makes it sound, nor does she really cover the harness.

Cellophane - any color, but absolutely no shrink wrap
Poster board - any color, 3 sheets will be glued together so buy appropriate to your wing/board size
Xact-O A blade knife
Extra blades for the Xact-O knife
Tracing Paper
White Paper or a Sketchbook
12 Gauge Wire
Floral Tape - any color
Spray Adhesive - I suggest Tacky, the video suggests Elmer’s however when I used Elmer’s the bottle exploded and I had no issues with Tacky
File or sand paper (I used an emery board)

Lay newspaper or in my case cardboard on the floor in a well ventilated area, outdoors is best but It was raining by me so I chose the “mud room” or the hallway into my apartment that is enclosed.  Lay down your first piece of poster board and spray it with the spray adhesive make sure to coat it well and give it a few seconds to get really sticky.  Then lay the next piece of poster board on top and follow the steps again.  You will end up with a piece of poster board that is ridged rather then wobbly.  This is because one piece alone would not be strong enough for the wings.

So I knew I wanted to make wings and I did not want them to be as small (or the same shape) as the ones in the tutorial so I grabbed my sketchbook and sketched out one side of a wing set.  I then took my tracing paper ( for the top wing and the bottom separately I taped two pieces of tracing paper together) and drew the wing out much larger and made the veins fairly thick.  I could have made mine a bit thicker.  The thicker the better and once the wings are done you can always cut them down.

I now took another piece of cardboard and laid the thickened poster board on top with the tracing paper wing on top of it.  I used my pen to draw the outlines of the wing onto the poster board by digging the pen through the tracing paper (not hard enough the cut the paper though).  Once my lines were made I used the Xact-O knife the cut the wings out.  I started by cutting the inside pieces out first and then the outer frame of the wing.  You will have to go over your cut lines a few times unless you have enough strength to cut through the three boards on the first shot.  I didn’t. 

Cutting the wings out takes a lot of time.  I recommend taking a break in-between the two wings.  It also takes a toll on the knives blade, so have those replacement blades handy.  Once they are all cut out you are likely to have some rough edges.  This is where the sand paper, file or in my case emery board comes in.  Though I don’t mind the rough look I still did my best to smooth out the lines.

I chose opal for my cellophane.  At the time I did not realize opal would appear pink on top of my white wings, but since this is just a fun project I am not that concerned with the actual color.  I mention it as a precaution to those that may not know.

Next I worked on making the wire harness.  This concept was practically removed from the video tutorial.  She mentions a few ideas, all of which require a bit of wire but she doesn’t show how the wires might attach (or her finished project).  So I looked elsewhere online and came up empty handed.  All of the harness tutorials were for wired cellophane wings.  Well I used my judgment and incorporated wire into the wing.

I took my 12 gauge wire and started playing with how they might work in my wings.  I knew I needed a square on my back to keep the wings from falling.  I also thought it would be neat if the tails moved separately from the top wing.  I started framing the wire by making a U shape and curling the ends into circles.  I used a bottle to help curl the wire.  I then took a second piece of wire, located the middle and twisted it onto the U frame so that it formed a square with the ends of the new wire facing down.  When I twisted the wire I paid extra attention to how tight the twist was.  I wanted to make sure after being twisted together the wires would not move around.  Then I curled the end of the tails with a bottle as well.

After shaping and twisting the wire, I started wrapping the wire frame with black floral tape.  Floral tape is messy and if you wrap tight like I did, it loses it color and turns a dark grey.  I liked this effect, but if you don’t I would try a different tape color.  I also added electrical tape around the part of the harness attaching to the back.

I started fusing the wings together wing by wing.  For each of the four wings I sprayed each side of the wing and the wire harness post with the tacky spray.  Have the cellophane laid out before you spray the glue so the wing can be laid right on top with little fuss.  Lay the wing and the harness down onto the cellophane and then lay cellophane over the other side.  Then iron the wings.  The iron fuses the glue to the cellophane nice, but use a low setting.  Don’t melt the cellophane.

For each wing after fusing the cellophane onto the wing cut the cellophane from the edges.  After all four wings have been fused add some elastic or ribbon and you are ready to go!

This is not an easy project.  I didn’t find it easy at all but it is a fairly quick one.  It took me three days to complete and it can take less but I chose to pace myself.

There are also all sorts of great ways to beautify your wings by painting the cellophane or burning holes in the cellophane.  Get creative!

I should also mention when working with the cellophane check to see which side is the painted side.  You do not want to iron the painted side.  You can do a test by dipping a q-tip into a rubbing alcohol and rubbing it on the cellophane.  Opal is not painted so I did not need to do this.

Have fun and happy flying!

Final Product (minus final elastic/ribbons)

Wing Position #1

Wing Position #2

Wing Position #3 This is my favorite.
More picture on the facebook fan page HERE

And FINALLY, the link to the video I used... Youtube: Cellophane Fairy Wings  I warn you... the video says this project cost's $10... it varies depending on the products you use.  I think my cellophane roll was $6 alone.  So $10 is not accurate, but it is still a pretty good video.