Tuesday, 24 May 2011

How to make fairy wings.

Well, I've been a bit slack, haven't I? No new posts for weeks. so to reward you for your patience I've put together this tutorial revealing all my secrets! You too can make pretty wings for your fairies.

I make wings in all shapes and sizes - this tutorial is for basic single wings, but like most things, once you learn the basics the sky's the limit.

Start with two wire coathangers, preferably new, for a good result.

Join the two by straightening the hook and wrapping tightly (with pliers) around each end of the twisted section. Make sure sharp ends are tucked in. In this pic I've started to straighten out the kinks, prior to shaping.

Start shaping, at this stage don't worry about shaping through the lateral plane, this comes later.

Now for the tricky bit :o)
Shape your second side to match the first...real right brain stuff this! A template drawn on a piece of old cardboard works well for this and helps if you want to repeat the same design. Small differences won't be noticeable, and faeries, just like people, aren't exactly symmetrical anyway.

Now for shaping through the lateral plane. I find wings always look better with a little upward curve from the centre, they also sit better. But if you are not keen to tackle this, flat is OK too.

As for the initial shaping, try to get both sides about the same. Do check them from all angles and tweak, tweak, tweak!

Now for the fun part!
I don't recommend using brown pantihose unless you are after the earthy look. You can use white and paint or dye them, or if you are lucky enough to find them - coloured pantihose. Sheer pantihose in the largest size will work best.
I wind cotton tightly just above the toe, stitch, and remove the reinforced toe-piece as this will not look attractive on the finished wings. Cut the legs off where they join the panty. Be careful when dragging the pantihose over the wire, at this stage your wings are quite fragile. A note from experience here....don't leave them where the cats can play with them! Get them to the paint stage ASAP!
Now for some strange reason I got carried away here and forgot to take a few next stage photos ;o( but it isn't hard - really.
Pull the toe over the outmost extremity of the wings and pull the excess to the centre.
When you have both sides on gather the excess and overlap. I put the elastic in at this point. And I find clear swimwear elastic looks and performs best. Make two loops for your fairy's arms and staple the elastic in the centre. Then place the elastic in the centre of your wing frames and wind your excess fabric around as many times as it will go. The aim is to completely cover the centre piece where the coathangers are joined so that it is well padded and comfortable to wear. Stitch it neatly into place.

Now for the design!
I use PVA glue mixed 2 parts glue to 1 part water. This allows ease of painting but still adheres the glitter well. It is important to cover the outside edges (see photo) if you want your wings to last. I don't put glitter towards the centre back (that goes against the body) as glitter is nearly as abrasive as sandpaper and can snag pretty dresses, just a little on the outside edges will give you sparkle when viewed from the front.The design is up to you. If you'd like to do patterning over the base glitter colours, I recommend 'Plexi-glue' which is a flexible fabric glue with a nice fine nozzle for intricate swirls etc. It is best to do one side at a time to avoid the glue drying too much, if it is not 'wet' the glitter will not adhere adequately.
Another tip: I use a large sheet of paper to catch the excess glitter, it is then easy to pour it back into the jar. I also use an old sheet under this to catch stray drips of glue and any glitter that goes astray - as glitter so often does.

For the two-tone effect I've done here, paint all of one wing,  apply first glitter colour, shake off excess and re-jar, then apply second colour with an overlap to blend. If you wish to add more design work, allow this first coat to dry completely before working over it.
Now, a note here on drying. The best place to dry wings quickly is on the line in the sun, hung by the straps. However, sometimes, as on this day, the weather doesn't co-operate. I use a simple drying rack, but a note of caution - move your wings on the rack several times during the drying process so that they do not adhere to the rack. With care you can dry multiple pairs this way.

Another option is to dry them on an old sheet (as above) and again, be sure to move them several times so that they don't stick. Here's where the shaping upwards helps as only a small portion of the wings will be touching the cloth and not where the glitter is applied.
On the wings pictured above I have spray painted a second colour onto the pantihose before applying the glue. All the rest is brush painted then glitter applied colour by colour.
You can have lots of fun exploring different colour and pattern combinations.

Now, if you really want to go wild, add ribbons, flowers, bows, gems, whatever to the centre piece with hot glue gun, anything goes.

To see more of my wings visit our etsy shop or facebook page.

Thursday, 21 April 2011


My garden is full of them, they lurk in the dusty corners of my house, they tease the cats and play pranks on all of us...but i couldn't live without them.

The Summer Dawn Fairy

Some of them are naughty, some of them are nice. They put sparkle in my day and stop me from ever becoming TOO serious.
If you would like to see more of my creations and creatures please visit my facebook page;

Tuesday, 19 April 2011


Now where were we? Oh, that's right, stumbling through my studio tripping over the overflow that parks on the floor for want of a better home. Now mind the cat - she does like to get underfoot too!

Now I was sharing a few of my clutter busters with you and the reference library is a good case in point. Previously teetering stacks of magazines and books littered the studio...and of course when I wanted one I had to trawl through all the stacks ( which took hours because invariably I would get sidetracked by a delicious looking recipe, or, project I'd forgotten about but now got all re-excited by)....not good. I would prop up these stacks with other objects which when removed (to be used) caused a cascade of mags all over the floor...sigh...start again. But thanks to IKEA, (God I love that store), I can now find the book or mag I want by reading the spines, grouped like with like, and nothing falls over. These mag boxes are very cheap and if they get a little worn, it's no biggy to replace them. Of course this is not the only place my beloved books reside but 'most' of the others are housed in bookcases...and on top of bookcases....and beside bookcases... and occasionally under bookcases....oh, I do love books!

So many things, so little space!
Now this is an area that needs some work but it's
not too bad. Reasonable order is imposed with an assortment of boxes(thankyou again IKEA - they should be paying me for the plugs), tins, and of course those trusty takeaway containers...where would we be without them?
Now just to the left of the pic you can see one of those areas the glitter has snuck into.

Now here I am trying to be orderly and the glitter just refuses to be good!

I'll leave you with one last tip. For those of you who work with marabou, NO, not the moosey looking thing, the fluffy stuff - it should always be hung, for optimum fluffiness...and don't we all enjoy a bit 'o' fluff, lol?
My marabou hangs on tie hangers. Now I don't remember where I got them, after all it's been about 15 yrs! But I do seem to recall they were not expensive. Of course I could probably do with about three more...but if I do that I will only buy more marabou so perhaps...best not.  ;o)

Till next time, happy crafting whatever your addiction is!

Friday, 15 April 2011


The Studio

Welcome to my creative space...known as the studio - although it could also be called the sewing room, the spray booth, the wing factory etc. So many things get done in this room and all of them creative, so obviously it's my favourite room in the house. At any one time half a dozen 'projects' will be on the go, so consequently it is often the messiest room in the house as well.

One of those troublesome stashes that needs the 'Cassie' magic!
 Over past months both my daughter and I have been working together creating our bits of 'whimsy' for our shop on etsy. Amongst the clutter I know where most things are...but have been known to waste precious hours looking for that 'thing'....'I'm sure I've got one (some), I'm sure I saw it last time I was looking for that other 'thing'....now where could it be.'  Is a common thread when I'm creating. Not so bad when it's just you, but when another person gets thrown into the mix - AND, she happens to be a mad de-clutterer...well no prizes for guessing what's been happening.

Cotton rack

Of course I do make an effort to be organised.
Let's face it, no-one can get much done amidst utter chaos.
Over the years I've come up with just one or two bright ideas all by myself.
My cottons used to be in a box...what a nightmare...you can imagine what happened everytime I went looking for a colour. Over time the tangles were horrendous! 
Now, I just reach out and grab the one I need. One important tip though, make sure the rack is away from sunlight or your threads will deteriorate.
Simple to make; one board sized to your requirements, large nails evenly spaced and there you have it.

keeping the bits in order
These little baskets, about $2 each, keep a multitude of usually messy items under control.
The white shelving unit was a great find at an op-shop. Can't remember how much but it has well and truly earned its keep.
Unfortunately the baskets were a tad too large to fit neatly, but they do the job and I IGNORE  their reluctance to sit absolutely straight...a girl can't have everything!

The glitter however, has never remained under my control. I love a bit of sparkle...A BIT OF SPARKLE.... the jars breed in the night, I'm sure. What started out as a collection that fitted neatly into one deep drawer has grown, and grown and grown! This shelf was a find for $5 at a garage sale but very quickly overflowed, as you can see by the teetering towers on top. So the glitter has ventured into two more shelves and a few other places (says she sheepishly). Mind you, I was proud to be able to say to a recent customer 'I can make your item with any colour you can imagine' and it's true. Not content with the range of colours available I mix and brew up my own dazzling concoctions...which leads to more jars....ahem.
Well, just a quick glimpse into my creative space...there's lots more...but that's for another day.
Happy crafting!

Tuesday, 29 March 2011


From 'The Little Book of Mountain Magic'
I've been drawing all my life, and in the beginning, not terribly well. But I couldn't stop, and for some reason it was always the otherworldly realms that inspired me most, and animals because they are so appealing in all their grace and beauty. Time led me to pursue a career in graphic design and although I did well there was always something missing and a little less than satisfying about advertising. so one day I gave it all up and decided to draw the images in my head, to create beautiful pictures that made me, and hopefully others too, happy.
Sometimes I don't get to draw or paint as often as I'd like to but when I do it is such a rewarding pastime, it feeds my soul.
I'd love to hear what motivates you to create, be it art or craft or music
please share your thoughts with me.

Friday, 25 March 2011


Experimenting with new techniques and materials always gives me a buzz. Today I completed three headpieces when I expected to do just one.

End of Summer Headpiece

The first used twisted paper, ribbon and some unusual beaded agapanthus heads.

Moonglow Tiara

The second used anodized wire in different gauges (so easy to work with as it is soft), and some beautiful moonglow beads salvaged from an old necklace. I'm happy with the result but contemplating adding a
little something extra.

Tawny Blossom Headpiece
The third was the most satisfying, starting with a simple head band with a silk flower I added stemmed beads and a variety of feathers for that plush look.

All in all, a day well spent and more pretty things for lovely ladies.

Thursday, 24 March 2011


'Quill' from 'The Little Book of Mountain Magic'
The sun is shining but I feel a little wistful and blue. things are quiet in my little shop. BUT ... the hot glue gun is on and I have a bag full of goodies to play with. After having a browse on Etsy I am inspired to create something different. I have some gorgeous anodised wire and unique beads to make a OOAK headpiece. I'll post some pics when its done.

Creativity is MY spice of life.