How-to: Beautiful Butterfly Wings Upcycled from Wire Hangers and Old Clothes

Zigzag around the wire, stretching the fabric as you go.Choose an old shirt made of stretchy fabric, and cut off the sleeves. Slip a sleeve over each hanger wing–if the cuff is bound off too tightly, simply cut it off.

Set your sewing machine to a wide zigzag stitch, and carefully sew around the entire perimeter of the butterfly wing. Keep the wire in the exact center of your presser foot, and double-check before you begin that the needle won’t hit it.

Stretch the fabric as you go, because you want your wing to be taut, and don’t worry about the excess fabric outside of the wing–you’re going to cut that off in a minute.

Your stitching should start at one “shoulder” of the hanger, up close to the hanging hook, and should end at the other shoulder. This will leave an opening, but you’ll need that opening in just another minute.

When you’re finished sewing around the perimeter of the wing, go ahead and cut off the excess fabric outside of the wing, being careful to cut close to your stitching without cutting your stitches. If you’d like to zigzag around the wing again to bind the raw edges of the cut fabric, then go ahead, but it isn’t really necessary.

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Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life, and my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties.


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  1. Great stuff! I have one suggestion–it would be great if all your awesome descriptions came with pictures for visual learners like me. I would appreciate it!

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