Ruffled crepe paper wings: a tutorial

A while back I threw a birthday lunch for a dear friend. To give the table a festive feeling I decorated around it with ruffled crepe paper streamers.

These are easy to make (with a sewing machine) and kind of mesmerising and meditative to sew once you’re in the rhythm. There are lots of tutorials floating around but I like this one.

I couldn’t bring myself to throw them out afterwards but space is REALLY at a premium in our little cottage and I didn’t want to store them  (yet another piece of stuff) just on the off chance I might use them again. So I laid them out and just looked at them for a bit. And they spoke to me of flight. The mere fact the streamers were speaking to me was reason enough to keep them. But then the streamers whispered “wings”.

And after I had convinced my handsome husband not to call the mental health hotline because the streamers were speaking to me, I made these.

These are surprisingly robust given they are basically made of paper. I mean they probably won’t survive a rain storm, nor a really spirited tussle between siblings but for what they are, they are pretty strong.

In any case, I quite like the vaguely insubstantial nature of these; wings should be somewhat delicate and ethereal don’t you think?

What you need:

  • Crepe paper streamers
  • Around 70 cm (27″) fine elastic. I used underpants elastic as it was what I had. I have no idea why I do have it though as I’ve never made nor intended to make underpants. Yet another of life’s mysteries.
  • 4 rectangles of felt, 3cm x 9cm (about 1″ x 3 1/2″)

What to do:

1. Sew your crepe paper streamers into ruffles. There are lots of tutorials online showing how to do this. I quite like this one. MADE ruffled streamers.

2. Sew your ruffled streamers together.

3. Make 2 panels – each just slightly larger than roughly the  length of your kid’s arm and the length from their  neck to their bottom. Don’t be neat, don’t be precise and don’t worry too much about being straight. These are meant to look kind of imperfect.

4. Once you have 2  panels of sewn streamers big enough lay them out and cut two wing shapes.

5. Sew around the edge of each wing shape to contain the loose end threads.

6. Now take a contrasting streamer and fold it in half length ways – enough to go around each wing.

7. Sew this  casing or binding around the edges to conceal the rough ends and give them some more strength.

8. Hold your wing up against your child and mark points at the armpit and wrists where you will sew the elastic loops.

9. Measure around your kid’s arm and wrist and then sew elastic loop in roughly that size to top edge of your wings.

10. Take your felt rectangles and make a slit about 3cm down from one of the short edges.  Feed the elastic loops through.

11. Smother the back of the felt with craft glue or felt glue. Fold the felt in half  on itself (ie, including over the top edge of the wings) so that your loops are reinforced.

12. Give your kid permission to fly.

13. Give yourself permission to drink whichever tipple you prefer for a job well done and another day of avoiding the insane asylum. Just.

Bloody talking streamers.

2 thoughts on “Ruffled crepe paper wings: a tutorial

    • Aww, thanks Gretchen. I don’t need substantial – I appreciate each and every comment – substantial or no! xx

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