Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Take Wing

A few weeks ago I wrote about the invasion of the Book Fairies at my high school. A group of English and reading teachers made wings together. Friend and colleague, Beth Scanlon, had her artist-husband figure out a wing prototype and we took off from there. Some teachers felt left out, so I offered to host another wing making party before Halloween.

Unfortunately no one came to the wing making session after school. Fortunately I still had fun. I made a second set of wings for a teacher friend and took pictures so that I could write out the how-to. Unfortunately, I have not mailed the wings to said teacher friend yet. Fortunately I am still within the express mail for Halloween delivery window.

Do you love that book Fortunately by Remy Charlip? It was a favorite at my house when my son was younger. Sometimes we fall back on the pattern to ease recess or school stress and lighten the mood. We can usually get to laughter in less than five minutes. But enough sideways story telling, let me share how I made these wings. I must preface my directions with a nod to Daryl Fefee, the artist-husband of Beth from Seeking Six who pro-typed a design that jump started my own thinking.

Wing Making Materials
a book cover (rip the guts out of the book, you can use the pages for "feathers"or other art projects)
double-sided tape
book pages (I used large sized pages to make longer "feathers.")
hot glue gun
cardboard or foam core
duct tape
ribbon (to use as straps)
decorative letters or stickers (for the cover if you so desire)


Gut a book. Doesn't that sound awful. Don't feel badly about it. Think of it as upcycling and making art. Rip all of the pages out of the book, so that all you have left is the cover.

Gather your materials and plug in the glue gun.

Cut wing forms out of the cardboard. For this set I cut out two triangles.
Roll book pages to make wings. I marked the top left corner with double sided tape and then rolled from the bottom right corner to form a cone. I used one piece of double sided tape to hold each. It was faster for me to roll a bundle of feathers and then attach them to the cardboard but you can also roll, then glue one at a time if you like.

 Lay the feather rolls out onto the cardboard form to see  how many you will need to cover both sides. These wings will have one feather layer on each side.
Begin gluing the wings to the cardboard. You can also use a long-reach stapler to staple them on (or the two-sided tape). Hot glue holds well, so I used that.
Glue feathers down and together.Leave an open space at the bottom of the wing. You will attach this part of the wing to the book cover. 
Glue feathers together. I added a small amount between feathers to add stability and strength.

Repeat. Attach feathers to the other side of the cardboard form.

 When finished set aside.

 Cover the book cover with duct tape. I used blue duct tape and then a clear and black packing tape for decoration.

Attach wings to the book cover. I put down some hot glue and then taped the wings to the inside of the book cover. 

 Poke four holes in the spine of the cover. Two at the top and two at the bottom (about an inch or two in).
Thread a ribbon through the holes to make straps.

 Try on! Adjust the straps and tighten by tying the ribbon. Your ribbon can be any length--and nearly any type. Wired ribbon makes a nice tail. Gross grain is sturdy (and featured here).

Decorate the book cover if desired. I left this one blank so that my friend could add her own decorations. On my wings I used sparkly stick-on letters to write book fairy on the spine and positive reader messages on the cover flaps.
Fold wings for storage or shipping. You can make wings of any size. My original pair were much larger.Every book fairy's wings are unique.


1 comment:

  1. Great work documenting the process and making it explicit. I want to share that I found the inspiration on Pinterest this summer. I would like to give credit to blogger Merrilee who writes the blog Lilliedale. Pinterest linked to her ideas. She has a great tutorial on how to make a book fairy skirt made out of dictionary pages as well. You can find out more at http://lilliedale.blogspot.com/2011/09/book-fairy-costume.html What I love most about the project was that it built community spirit and high school kids were surprised. Also each teacher created a distinctive look that represented them, but it took a model for us to conceptualize where we were going.