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

wings made of wire hangers, duct tape, and a cotton sweaterI have one tomboy daughter and one fairy princess daughter. While the tomboy vastly prefers to run screeching around the house in her handmade superhero cape, the fairy princess prefers to run screeching around the house in her fairy princess butterfly wings.

Dress-up clothes can be hard to buy outside of Halloween, and when you do find some it can be hard to find any that aren’t cheap imports and hold up to a child’s normal play. Handmade costumes, however, such as these butterfly wings upcycled from wire hangers and an old stretchy cotton sweater, are guaranteed to fit your child perfectly, in both her body and her personality. They cost nothing to make, since the materials come from around the house, and one day your child will be thrilled to pass them down to her own child.

Unless, of course, she tears them up first, but even if she does, you know what?

You can just make more!

Here’s how to make my daughter’s beautiful butterfly wings:

Shape two wire hangers into identical wing shapes.Pull on a wire hanger to stretch it longer lengthwise, and take a minute to use your thumbs and forefingers to press down all the crooks and sharp bends that once made the hanger look the way that it did. I won’t lie to you–this’ll hurt your fingers while you’re doing it, and may make them a little sore for a few hours afterwards, but once those bends and crooks are gone, it’s all easy sailing from there.

Pull and fuss with the hanger until it takes on the pleasing shape of a single butterfly wing, then unbend the crooks of a second hanger, place it right on top of the first hanger, and pull and fuss with them together until they both have about that same pleasing shape as the first hanger. The match doesn’t have to be perfect, because nobody but you is going to be checking to see if it’s perfect, but the two hangers should end up pretty similar.

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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; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.


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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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