Wings …"How To"
A little bit about why I found these wings. Wings mean different things to different people. For me, wings have been a common symbol through my art from the very beginning. For many years and still, I am in awe of the beauty of a butterfly. Typically I would draw them, but now I prefer to catch them in a photograph. My other attachment to wings is a memorial of recognizing an unexpected and life altering loss and what that does to a person. It represents the loss and at the same time the ability to be free, to fly, to be ungrounded. My artistic spirit has always been just that.
I digress. This project was a take on many different purchase options of expensive wood and stain, while beautiful and amazing, would not easily find a way into my home.
I am happy to have this opportunity to share how I created something for so little from free, low cost and recycled materials, while it was not the goal, made them that much more innovative to create.
The Supply List:
3. Large sturdy cardboard…(appliance box)
4. Lots and Lots of extra or cut down cardboard boxes
(a lot of people give away extra moving boxes on line)
5. A good pair of scissors
6. Tape (masking/painters/please don’t use your washi you won’t see it when you are done)
8. Flour and Water (a pan to heat it in)
9. Primer spray paint
10. Finishing spray paint ( I used an antique/oil rubbed bronze)
It is a metallic color and has a shimmery effect/not glittery
11. Small bottle of black paint and a copper that you like
SO Here is the “How I did it”
CARDBOARD AND CUTTING
From the large sturdy cardboard, draw a wing shape the size that you want the total project to be. Make sure you cut out the entire shape to accommodate the top short feathers and the long bottom tip feathers. Just an outline. Mine are approximately 4 ½’ tall and 2 ‘wide.
Then bring your time and patience. Each wing has approximately 70 individual cut top feathers. I cut one and then just traced and cut..(yes your hands will get sore from cutting.)
You will also cut 10 long feathers for the bottoms of each wing. (You will cut as many as you need to fit your wing)
|Start at right side point and work your way to the top|
I started layering from the top to get the edge I wanted. This is not a precise, but what looks good to you.
(TIP: If you over lap feathers a certain way on your first wing… Make sure you use the same technique on the other wing so they fall the way they would on a birds wing. If they all are overlapped in the same direction when you hang your wings, it will look pretty strange.)
Once you have your large templates, start at the top inside laying your feathers. I taped them to the top edge and to each other. They will move, but do your best to keep them where you want them. I taped each individual feather at its top like a flap. Start on the inside top and work your way out to the top arch. Once you have one layer of feathers, start on the next layer underneath.
Once you have all the small feathers taped down, lay out the long feathers overlapping each one in the same direction.
Once you have everything you like in place, it is time to make the paper mache. (MESSY fun YEAAHHHH!!!!)
I used a ½ cup flour to 1 cup water ratio. I also heat it on the stove in a span because it gets it smooth and it dries a more clear consistency so no bumps.
Lay the paper mache strips long ways making sure to fold the strip as you lay it into all the edges and nooks. You can do as many layer as you think will make a smooth finish. I think I did at least 2, probably 3.
You will need to lay strips over the edges all the way around to have a smooth finished look.
Sometimes the points on the feather will rip the paper. That’s ok, just smooth it down to make sure you get a nice point on each feather and use another piece. You will you small pieces to fill in awkward spaces. Make sure you have little to no cracks. When you lay strips on the long feathers, make sure they are going in the direction of the feathers. If you lay then side to side instead of up and down, you will probably end up seeing the seam in the end.
Make sure all the this is dry before you paint.
Spray your entire finished paper mache’d wings with a white primer for white wings, or dark primer for the colors I used.
Make sure it is dry before you proceed.
Spray paint the oil rubbed bronze color (Krylon brand..I think, I got it at Fred Meyer). Do as many coats as you need to cover the entire front and sides thoroughly. I set them up on blocks of wood in a cardboard box to paint so I could get to all sides without holding…and as always spray paint in the direction WITH the wind, not against….unless you really like that color and want to wear it for a few days…(Just a cautionary not, I did NOT paint myself J)
Once the antique bronze paint is dry use the black paint to dry brush the edges to have a shadowed finish. Also get up into the feathers to add texture and shadowing.
Add shading up in these
crevices for detail.
Once the black paint is dry, use the copper color to dry brush over the black. Not entirely, the goal is to add color and dimension, not completely paint over.
Once you have all the paint on and it is dry, use picture hanging clips to use picture hang on the way with a monkey hook.
I hope you love them as much as I do!