Butterfly Wings Tutorial

butterfly wings tutorial costume

I decided to make this butterfly wings tutorial because I almost drove myself to madness last year making butterfly wings haha. I made my first pair of luna moth wings in 2012 and I became hooked.

For my designs I used high-resolution photos of butterfly wings from my collection. If you haven’t seen a macro photograph of a butterfly wing I suggest you take a look. They are made up of a ton of tiny little scales.

Don’t want to use wire and running short on time? You can follow the sewing part and then glue/pin/staple(lol!!!) it to a hoodie or shirt.

This post contains affiliate links, mostly to Amazon. As always, feel free to blame any purchases on me ♥

— Buy Butterfly Printed Fabric HERE <– Link

Materials:

  • Transparent thread Coats transparent works well
  • Neutral colored thread I’m using an olive green for the luna moth wings
  • Fabric (find it in my Etsy shop) I have 11 species of butterflies and moths, some are offered in the oversized version too!
  • Felt for body(1/4 yard)
  • Printed body template
    !! Download the luna moth body template here !! .
    pdf from my google drive
    !! Download the oval template for monarchs, etc here !!
    Make sure you print it at 100%
  • Eye Protection!
  • Elastic one yard long around 3/8 wide
  • Wire This will be easier for you to find than the stuff I use, you can usually find this at ACE hardware.


    18 Gauge Plastic Coated Wire, 1-PackThis should work for oversized wings, this wire is also found at ACE. Coathanger wire isn’t good to use because it is too hard to shape.

    Dan O Line Coils Clothesline, 50-Feet, Green
  • Stuffing or fiberfill
  • Small piece of canvas enough to cut one butterfly body
  • Fabric glue Fabritac works well
  • Tweezers for turning small stubborn parts inside out
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Pins
  • Glue stick

 

  1. Preparation! I don’t prewash the fabric because shrinkage can distort the shapes. Iron fabric on the wrong side to avoid making shiny spots on the design. Use a glue stick and glue canvas piece to one felt piece, leaving room at the edges. Allow to dry.luna moth body for butterfly wings
  2. Cut the wing pieces apart. Do not cut directly on the edge of the design, leave plenty of breathing room around.
    realistic butterfly wings
  3. Place right side of wing pieces together and baste or pin carefully. Don’t be shy with the pins! I use a lot. Make sure to leave a gap for turning the wings right side out. Don’t sew between the red dots.DSC03409
  4. Carefully sew around the edge of the design. Remember to leave that gap!DSC03415 DSC03416
  5. Trim excess fabric from edge, clipping curves as shown. If you don’t clip sometimes the fabric will bunch and look distorted when turned inside out. Check for stray threads/hair/lint etc before turning inside out. Debris stuck inside the wing will sometimes show through.DSC03419
  6. Turn inside out.DSC03421
  7. Press.DSC03422
  8. Sew a seam 3/8″ away from the edge of the butterfly wing with the clear thread. This will be your channel for inserting wire. I do not sew channels on the bottom luna moth wings because I don’t put wire in them. If you’re making a style like the monarch wings, you will also sew a channel on the bottom wings so they will be able to stand on their own.
  9. Arrange wings onto body piece, pin and sew. Be careful not to sew over the channels. For the luna moth wings I sew on the bottom wings first then sew the top ones so they overlap.
    butterfly costume wings tutorial

    Position the wings

    butterfly wings tutorial

    Pin the bottom set of wings and sew

    DSC03429

    Try to sew neater than this…

     

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    Position the top set of wings and sew

  10. Pin elastic pieces on to body and pin. Sew.DSC03446DSC03448
  11. Insert wire. I don’t pre-cut the wire pieces. It makes it easier to fold over the end of the wire some so it slides through the channel. Thread wire through channels and shape as desired. Leave about 7 inches at the end. More is better than less.
    DSC03451

    Fold over the wire

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  12. Twist together wire ends. Use some electrical tape or duct tape over the twisted wire to prevent sharp ends from poking out. My electrical tape went MIA so I used duct tape.
    DSC03458DSC03461DSC03463
  13. At first I did this part with a sewing machine but I broke so many needles accidentally hitting the wire and had a lot of fail in general. Find your second piece of felt, apply a line of glue around 1/4″ from the edge leaving a 3 inch gap to insert fiberfill with later. Carefully place down on your wings. I use a lot of pins to make sure the wings are adjusted in the right place. Wait for the glue to dry.
    DSC03468

    Leave a gap for inserting stuffing

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  14. Insert fiberfill to cover the wire. Glue closed.DSC03472
  15. Optional, but you can put on a second layer of felt to help the bump of fiberfill look less “bumpy”.
  16. Attach together the upper and lower butterfly wings with a line of glue so the lower wings won’t droop.DSC03474
    DSC03475

If you don’t want to risk eyes getting poked with wire you can experiment with layers of felt (I’ve had some success gluing layers together with spray adhesive).