DIY Monarch Butterfly Costume

DIY Monarch Butterfly Costume

Emily was dead-set on being a Monarch Butterfly this year.  I half-heartedly looked online at costumes, and nothing really stood out.  Monarch Butterfly wings are amazing.  I wanted wings that would be the star of the show.
I also wanted big wings.  Like to scale.
I thought about this costume for weeks before I actually got started.  I thought about construction techniques and materials for my big wings.  I researched and talked to artistic people.  Finally a plan began taking shape in my mind.  I started collecting the materials.  Last week, I started.
I began with the antennas.  They were the least intimidating.  I hot-fixed orange rhinestones all over them.  Then I made the dress.  Layers of sequins and fringe.  What fun.
(This picture is a bit out-of-focus, sorry!)
 
Then the wings.  Oh, where to begin?
First of all, I HATE glue guns now.
I swear I was like a fly trapped in a web with all those glue strings.
I think I glued 60 yards of sequins onto those wings, and there was about 60 yards of glue strings that I was trapped in.
For what its worth, I will share my process with you… only know that these wings took me about 11 hours of work.  Yikes!  You might want to buy some!
Also, because they were an experiment, there are probably better ways of doing things.
 
The verdict? The construction needs a bit more stabilizing (in the center…will tackle before Halloween) but they did turn out the way I envisioned.  Phew.
 
And I have a happy butterfly who was a
really great sport while taking these pictures.
She can’t wait for Halloween!
If you are interested in my process,
 

Wing Materials:
Black and Orange Felt
Foam Core
Sequins
Super 77 Spray Adhesive
Glue Gun
Wire Hanger
Lots of time

Dress Materials: 
Black Jersey
2″ Elastic
Sequins and Fringe

Dress
Made a tube out of elastic for the top, added rows of fringe and sequins.  covered the elastic with sequins and made straps.
 
Wings
 
Used Super 77 to attach felt.
Here are my wing segments that I drew.  I used them as patterns for the orange felt.  I cut 4 of each piece.
Then I embellished the wings with orange and black sequin trim, and loose white sequins.

 

 

Then I covered the exposed center back (the base) with more sequin trim, and added elastic straps that I sewed on by hand.  Probably should have done that before attaching the wings.
I need to strengthen the base a bit more where it sits against the back. Probably will wrap some foam core with felt and use Super 77 to attach it to the base.  If I did it over again, I would have strengthened it in the beginning.
If anyone attempts these, good luck!
🙂





This Post Has 28 Comments

  1. Great job! , thank you for sharing!

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  6. Hello! These wings are amazing! I found this post via the trusty Google machine. If you still check these comments, I’m wondering if you drew your wing pattern free hand or did you have a pattern? I’m trying to make wings just like this from foam core and my freehand experiments are awful. Thanks!!

  7. How many foam core boards did you use as how much felt ? I love it! It turned out so cute!

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  17. Excellent post but I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this subject? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Many thanks!

  18. This isn’t amazing!! Thanks for sharing your tutorial.

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  24. Good LORD was this a process but my daughter is ecstatic. I couldn’t find big white sequins, so, was stuck making big (med, and small for that matter) white dots. It took FOREVER. After 4 days of work, 21+ hours total, 60+ mini glue sticks, what felt like thousands of sequins…we officially have a little monarch butterfly that will be trick or treating later. Followed your gameplan pretty closely and improvised where I needed to. AWESOME final product, but extremely intensive…as you mentioned!

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