2012 Costume Instructions

Instructions for Pipe Cleaner Antennas

  1. Purchase a headband. Be sure to choose one with open loops for securing the pipe cleaners. (These are available from the Dollar Store 2 for $1.)

  2. Twist three black pipe cleaners together from top to bottom. With a four inch black pipe cleaner, twist around the top two inches of the original three. This forms the "bulb" at the end of the antennae. You may need to twist the 4th pipe cleaner up and down the top two inches more than once.

  3. Twist the bottom of the antennae onto the loops of the headband to secure. You may want to add some hot glue where the antennae meet the headband to further secure the two together.

  4. Repeat for the other side.

Instructions For Wings

Please read through instructions before doing anything drastic!

These instructions are for creating Monarch butterfly wings using black fabric and either fabric paint or applique. For batik technique, see separate instructions. For affixing to black top and gauntlets, see separate instructions.

Materials needed:

Black fabric the cheapest available, but not satin: 1 yard for small, 1.5 yards for large


*For painted version: fabric paint in orange, yellow and white, plus optional: a darker orange color and embellishments such as gold fabric paint

*For applique version: 3.5 yards of Pellon "Wonder Under"; yard each scraps of orange (two shades if desired), yellow and white, plus any embellishments you desire such as glittery paint

For both versions:

  1. Bring your fabric to the studio. It will be folded in half when you buy it; do not unfold it

  2. Stencils in two sizes are available at the studio. Select the size that works best for you (you should be able to close your arms in front of you with the wings attached near the center of your upper back) Using the provided stencils, trace around the outside of your wings. Then trace the holes in the stencil. You can use scraps of soap, white crayon (in studio) or chalk for this. The stencils state which color will be applied to each area of the wings. Find a way to make a note of this, if you plan to take your wings home to apply the colors.

  3. Cut out the outline of your wings you will be cutting two wings at a time since your fabric is folded

  4. FLIP OVER the bottom wing. Trace the holes on the second wing with the stencil so it mirrors the holes on the first wing. (from now on, the side that is marked will be called the "marked side")

If you are coloring the wings with fabric paint, you can now take your wings home and paint there, or paint at the studio. If you are appliqueing, you have one more step before you can take your wings home.

Coloring the wings:

Option A: paint

Using your fabric paint, color in the outlined areas on the marked side of your two wings. Let them dry. Flip them over and color the other side. Your fabric should be shear enough so that that the colored areas will show through from the back, to show you where to paint.

Once the second sides are dry, you are ready to go on to attaching to gauntlets, tops, etc. provided in separate instructions.

Option B: applique

This option is more time consuming but will result in more brilliant colors.

There is a poster showing each of the following steps. Your Pellon should come with instructions for iron settings, etc., which you should follow when you are ironing

Four step process:

  1. There are stencils available for the colored pieces you will need, one set for each size, for light orange, dark orange, yellow and white. Gather a set of stencils together and lay out your Pellon.

    For each stencil you will need to make 4 sets of shapes: 2 with Side A up, and 2 with Side B up. Trace the holes in all of these stencils onto the paper side of the Pellon. Do not cut them out yet! Triple check to make sure you have two "mirrored" sets for all 4 stencils before you go to step 2. At this point you can take your wings and Pellon home to finish.

  2. Using your iron, and following the settings on the Pellon instructions, iron each set of shapes to the appropriate fabric scrap i.e., 4 white, 4 light orange, etc. (Don't forget to keep paper side UP).

  3. Cut out all your shapes and keep them in separate piles. Better yet, cut out one set of shapes (one stencil of each color) and work one wing at a time.

  4. Return to your iron. Lay out one wing with the marked side UP. Peeling off the backing of each piece one at a time, iron the pieces in place on one side of the wing over the markings. (Note, the pellon instructions may say to put a damp cloth over the fabric, but this is probably tricky to do and still be able to keep the small pieces in the right place you could lightly tack the pieces in place with your iron, and then return to the whole wing with the damp cloth technique). Repeat with the other wing. Let cool.

    Now turn your first wing over and iron the "flipped" pieces in place; repeat with the other wing.

Now you are ready to follow the separate instructions for gauntlets, etc.

Ways to Attach Butterfly Wings to Arms

(Note: All options require attaching wings to bottom of arms.)

OPTION #1: Use a tank top as the base. Pin top of wings to the shoulder or back of the tank top.

  1. Cut the toe off of a pair of men's trouser socks. Pin the sock in at least three places, to the outside edge of the wings and act as a sleeve. Slice a hole from thumb.

  2. Sew or pin elastic loops, (2 to 3). to wings to wear on your arm, wrist and/or hands.

  3. Sew or pin loops of fabric to wings, (2 to 3), to tie on to your arms, wrist and/or hands.

OPTION #2 Use a long-sleeve top as the base. Attach top of wings to the shoulder or back of the shirt with the pins or stitching. At several points along the wing, attach to sleeves of shirt.

REMINDER: The wings work best if they are attached to the bottom of the arms.

Instructions For Top With Hydration Unit

Hydration units (or brand name Camelbak) are bags with tubes that come out of the top, capped with a valve that opens when you sip on it. You can fill them with water and sip on them as you are going along, thereby eliminating the need to visit the water wagon (and also minimizing the chance you will need to pee while you're waiting for Procession to start). Here are instructions for incorporating a hydration unit pouch into your Monarch butterfly costume.

Buy two black shirt tops, preferably from Value Village or its ilk. A snug fit is a good idea, especially for the top that will be next to your skin. Mark out a U on the outer top that is a little bigger than the hydration unit. Put both tops on, and pin them together at shoulders and around the U (you may need help with this). You may at this point need to re-mark the U to make sure that the pouch you are creating is big enough so that the hydration unit fits entirely into the pouch. Take the tops off. Now pin the two tops together along the U. Sew both tops together, keeping the front of the shirts free.

You can now attach your butterfly wings to each side of the U (make sure when you attach the wings, you don't sew through both sides of the pouch).

Here are some additional tips/lessons learned for the paint-on wings:

  1. Deb Ross can be at the studio from about 2 to 4 on Fridays to help with construction of any part of your costumes, but only if I hear from at least one person that they want me there. Bring fabric and a good pair of sewing scissors. Carol and others will be at the studio at other times to be announced.

  2. Fabric paint quantities: 1 4 oz bottle of orange, 1 1 oz. bottle of red (to mix with orange to make the darker orange), 1 1 oz bottle of white, 1 1 oz bottle of yellow or gilt. Don't forget you will need a paintbrush or other type of applicator as well.

  3. Team up with friends to buy your fabric & paint - then you won't have to all wait forever in the cutting/checkout lines at Joann's.

  4. Count on at least 2 days to paint your wings: I (Deb) used two coats, and you will have 4 sides to paint, with drying time in between

  5. Lay a piece of throw-away cloth (old PJs?) underneath your wings when you are painting. Newspaper will absorb the paint that seeps through and then will stick to the fabric.

Copyright © 2017 - Samba Olywa - All Rights Reserved
Updated 2012/03/25 19:33:26

...website by Scott Bishop, Olympia's volunteer webguy...