Death’s Head Moth Costume Tutorial

This is for those of you who might not feel a butterfly costume is scary enough for Halloween. I present to you the death’s head moth:

Ooh! Scary?

Both sets of wings (upper and lower) are wired. Don’t sew? Enlist your crafty family member or friend. Bribing can work well. Also, if you needle felt this would be awesome with a realistic needle felted body.


      • Transparent thread Coats transparent works well
      • Black thread
      • Fabric I have 11 species of butterflies and moths, some are offered in the oversized version too! Check out my Etsy shop for fabric.
      • Felt for body(1/4 yard), and a little scrap for the small skull
      • Printed body template
        !! Download the moth body template here !! .
        pdf from my google drive
        !! Skull here !!
        Make sure you print it at 100%
      • Elastic one yard long around 3/8 wide
      • Wire vinyl coated steel wire will work well, you can find it at ACE (18 gauge). For big wings find thicker wire.
      • 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. DSC03807-2
      2. Cut out two body pieces from your black felt. Cut out the skull and glue to one black body piece. Use a glue stick and glue canvas piece to one felt piece (the one without the skull), leaving room at the edges. Allow to dry.

        If you fail at cutting small pieces like me use a permanent marker for the eyes and nose

      3. Cut the wing pieces apart. Do not cut directly on the edge of the design, leave plenty of breathing room around.DSC03811-2
      4. 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.DSC03812-2 DSC03814-2
      5. Carefully sew around the edge of the design. Remember to leave that gap!DSC03823-2DSC03826-2 DSC03828-2
      6. 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.
      7. Turn inside out and press with iron. Use a press cloth to prevent making shiny spots.

        This part can be tricky sometimes

        If there’s any white showing on the edges you can use a sharpie to cover it. Use a stippling effect to make it look more natural.

      8. Place the wings on the body and arrange them to your liking. Mark on the canvas their placement. The top set of wings are layered on the bottom (yellow) set. Don’t sew yet!
      9. Remove the top two wings and mark along the top edge of your lower wings. This will help if things get moved by accident when you are sewing. Pin lower (yellow) wings to body.DSC03863-2
      10. Sew the bottom set of wings to the body. Be careful not to sew through the wire channel so you’ll be able to thread the wire through.
      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 4 inches at the end. More is better than less. Twist ends together and cover with duct or electrical tape to prevent sharp ends from poking out.
      12. Place top set of wings over bottom set of wings. Pin into place.
        It helps to put an extra pin to attach the top and bottom wings together.

        It helps to put an extra pin to attach the top and bottom wings together.


      13. Sew. This part is tricky, be careful not to sew over the wire OR the wire channels. Eye protection? I may have broken needles doing this in the past… When you’re very close to the wire use the hand wheel to sew SLOWLY.
      14. If you want to machine sew on the elastic it will be easiest to do it at this point in time (while only the bottom set of wings have wire in them).
      15. Insert wire into the top wings and twist. Put duct or electrical tape over any sharp ends.DSC03879-2
      16. Carefully shape the wire and position the wings exactly how you want them. Pin the top and bottom wings together so they will stay in place for the next step.
      17. Make a thin line of glue close to the edge of your second felt piece (the one with the skull on it). Leave a small gap so you can insert stuffing later on. Gently press on and position, use pins to hold in place until the glue is dried. Sometimes pins will get stuck in the glue, use pliers on the metal part (don’t pull on the plastic ball, it will come off) to pull out.

        Gap for stuffing to be inserted.


      18. Glue top wings to bottom wings unless you want them moving separately

And voila! Creepy moth wings! There are a few alternatives that could be used for the body, a realistic needle-felted body would be beautiful, or even an air-brushed felt one. Glued faux fur could work too.