Halloween Costume #2: Butterfly Wings

Posted at October 29, 2011 by 0 Comment

Remember how I mentioned that my friend Hannah and I abandoned the original wings idea and made her Cute Kid (CK) really over-the-top butterfly wings for Halloween?

Oh, my goodness, they’re gorgeous!

I cannot recommend following this procedure, unless you have several hours of spare time (from supplies shopping to completion, I believe it took us 8 hours, although we also took breaks to show CK the chickens and to grab lunch) and a desire to really show up the neighbors. Or, a child like CK who REALLY wants to flap her arms like a butterfly.

We used:
4 yards costume fabric (a synthetic, slippery, shiny fabric labeled… costume fabric. )
1 hot glue gun and 10 sticks of hot glue (could be replaced with a sewing machine, if you have one)
old newspaper
fabric pins

We used a photo of monarch costume as our inspiration, and chose the black fabric for the base. CK chose the bright orange and the bright blue as the colors. Cool! We purchased 2 yards black, 1 yard of orange and 1 yard of blue, and could have done with less of the blue, at the very least, and probably less of the orange, as well. The total cost of all the supplies came to about $15, give or take a little. Here’s how we put the wings together:


We did not measure exactly. We simply had CK stick out her arms and then held up the fabric and sort of estimated.


Then we cut the fabric to size. In fact, we cut two panels of fabric to size. I think this is when we decided that it would be best (or, at least, look the cleanest) if we made a front panel and a back panel and connected them so that there was a hem, rather than a ragged edge.

practice drawing

Next, we pinned together the two panels, and practiced drawing our butterfly-wings shape.

newspaper template

We folded the pinned-together fabric panels in half, and cut a template from a piece of newspaper. Then we cut out the wings, making sure to leave the folded edge uncut (so the wing  halves remained connected).

base wings

Then we made sure the two halves were pinned together just as we wanted them, with the right side (shiny side) out and the cut edges tucked in, to create a hem-like look.

hot glue

After that, it was just a matter of gluing together the halves.  A thick bead of  hot glue sealed them together. Notes: This would likely be much easier if you just sewed, but my sewing machine remains stuck in reverse. Also, we tried using Liquid Stitch, but it was a no-go. I think the heat of the hot glue sort of melted the fabric, making it really seal well. Also also, don’t be stingy with the hot glue – you can always peel away the excess that seeps out of the seams.

wing patterns

To create the monarch-like pattern on the wings, we drew more pattern pieces on newspaper. There was lots of sketching and re-sketching to get the shapes right (using photos of monarchs and other costumes as our guide), and we did a trial layout on the black base wings.  Then we numbered each piece, top to bottom, so we knew how they all went together, and cut out the pieces. Because we wanted the wings to be mirror images of each other, we didn’t fold the fabric in half. We cut out one set of orange pieces, then flipped the patterns over (so the numbers were face-down) and cut out the next set. Then, we laid out the orange pieces on the black base wings, and hot-glued them into place.

orange decorations in place

They really needed that punch of blue. So we cut out a few circles and oblong pieces, and added them around the edges.


Last but not least, we used a thick band of blue fabric to cinch up the middle and add a bit more contrast. It was, of course, hot-glued into place.


Ta Da! The wings are now ready to be pinned to CK’s shirt (at the wrists and across the shoulders – you could also just buy a shirt and sew the wings in place).

I know the real photo here should be CK wearing the wings, but we’ve run into a few issues with that. Namely, that CK won’t wear them until it’s Halloween… because they’re her HALLOWEEN costume, not her every-day costume. Ha. But trust me, these wings are stunning. Shiny and big and totally flappable. Success!

Category : Craft
  • twitter
  • facebook
  • linkedin
  • delicious
  • digg

About amanda

Leave a Comment