Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Fantasy Film Fairy Wings

This tutorial was generously provided by:
Deb Wood of Enchanted Hearts

Materials:

Pattern (shown below)

Colored wire-- 24 ga. (or plain wire)----- (I use Fun Wire, it is plastic coated and works so well for this- as the glue really grabs onto it. I highly recommend it. I did some checking online for it-
On this link it was inexpensive: http://www.tonercrafts.com/shopping/Fun_Wire/index.html
and it is also available from: http://www.polymerclayexpress.com/wire.html
1 piece of heavy stem wire, preferably plain, 16ga or 18ga - available in the floral department of your craft store.

Fantasy Film Gertrude's gifts sells it on ebay:
http://stores.ebay.com/Gertrudes-Gifts-and-Friends_Fantasy-Film-Fiber_W0QQcolZ4QQdirZ1QQfsubZ4QQftidZ2QQtZkm

I suggest you buy the assortment pack as this will give you 5 or 6 colors to play with and not have 10 feet of just one color. There is enough of each color to make one pair of wings in the size I am doing in this tutorial.

3D Lacquer in clear or Clear Gallery Glass

3D Lacquer I buy here: http://www.franticstamper.com/crystallacquer.htm

And Gallery Glass is available at the craft stores. Each product has it's pros and cons.

I use Gallery Glass if drying time is not an issue.

Gem Tac Glue or Ultimate Glue by Crafter's Pick or a similar type white glue that is thick- not runny

Aleene's Tacky would work fine too)

Art Glitter or Prisma Glitter (optional)

Delta Ceramcoat Varnish- matte or satin (optional)

Votive candle

Tools: Wire cutters, medium paint brush, tape, scissors, tweezers.

Ready? Here we go!

You see the products I use laid out here...

Copy to your computer, (right click, save image) then print out in any size you need.
Begin by cutting the heavy wire, bend it to follow the pattern's main stem. Step 1. This is the part of the wing that will go into the fairy's back. It gives good support and superior strength. Continue cutting the other wires, bending them to follow the curved lines in the pattern. It's important to make sure the wires lay flat. I cut the wires for both wings at one time and lay them out in order, as you see in step 3.
Cut two pieces of the Fantasy Film and tape them down on top of your pattern. (I used Spring Morning Fantasy Film here- although you wouldn't know it by the colors my camera picked up.) Holding the wires with a tweezers, apply glue to the underside of each wire. Step 5.

Carefully place the wire with the glue onto the film, following the pattern. This can be a bit touchy, you don't want to get excess glue on the film if you can help it. Try to butt the cut ends up against one another. It will give the wings a more finished look. As the glue is setting up, press down on the wires to make sure they have adhered.One side is done! Now repeat those steps for the other wing. Add an extra bead of glue where all the wires come together with the main stem of the frame. This will help strengthen and reinforce this area. Step 9.Allow the glue to dry thoroughly. This will take a couple hours at least. Once the glue is completely dry, cut around the pattern, leaving about 1/4" extra film around the edges. Step 11.

Now here comes the fun part! Fantasy Film will shrink and strengthen with heat. The more heat it is exposed to- the more the color comes alive- but you must be careful because too much heat will melt it away, or remove the color, leaving a haze of white. Hold your hand over the flame to see how high your hand has to be before you feel the heat. Judging by that distance, hold your wing over the flame, about 6 or more inches above it. Holding the wing flat, Step 12, move the wing around quickly, and watch the film tighten against the wires! Raise and lower the wing to see the colors explode! You will also be able to see where a hole is going to form, first the color becomes very intense, then the hole forms. As I was holding this wing with one hand and trying to take a photo with the other, two large holes appeared, just that quick! Oh well, I'll have to try to match them on the other wing! We must be creative! NOTE: Shut the windows so you don't have any breeze on the candle flame. You want to control this process as much as possible. Also trim the wick on the candle so it's not too large a flame.
To sear the edges along the wires, you can go very close to the flame- drawing the edge of the wing along the flame. Step 15.
Be careful not to scorch the wires, however. Go over it twice, rather than too much the first time. To shape the outer jagged edge of the wings, hold them upright and perpendicular to the flame. Step 16. Raise the wings up and down to form the jagged edges. Again, go over it twice rather than melt too much the first time.
Lay the wings out and check for symmetry. They don't have to be exact, but close is good! See the holes? I tried to match them as much as I dared! if you melt away too much- it does affect the look of the wings.
I try not to do that. You might have to start over.....so be careful...
I did a little more melting of the edges to make them more uniform.

Now to seal the wings.
This step serves two purposes. Most importantly, it bonds the wires to the film and it adds strength to the overall structure of the wings. In this step I used clear Gallery Glass, but you can also use 3D Lacquer. You want to be sure to use a product that will stick to the film. Some varnishes won't. Do a test if you are using something other than what is suggested here. Brush the product on the wired side of the wings. Be sure to have a good deal of the product along the wires. Let it pool there. Step 21. This will hold the wires securely. *The advantage of using the 3D Lacquer is it dries much more quickly than the Gallery Glass. *Clean your brush immediately in soapy water. Rinse well.

TIP:
To speed up the drying time of the Gallery Glass, I placed the wings on a ceramic tile and then suspended a reflector light and 100W bulb over them. There is about 8" of space above the wings. Step 22. They dried in about three hours. The ceramic tile helps to distribute and hold the heat. Drying without the light can take 12
hours or more.
PLEASE NOTE: If you are using 3D Lacquer, don't put it under a light- it will bubble and cause the lacquer to become cloudy. (I learned this the hard way)
On these wings I didn't add an overall glitter, but you can do that now, or in Step 22. To do it in Step 22, simply sprinkle glitter into the wet sealer. You'll want to be careful though- as the glitter is hard to control. A light application looks best. I prefer to add the glitter after the wings are thoroughly dry- and I apply it using the Ceramcoat Matte or Satin varnish. Quickly brush on a light coat to one side of the wing- sprinkle the glitter sparingly and then repeat to the other three sides, one side at a time. A transparent glitter looks best, as an opaque glitter will hide the iridescence of the film. Allow to dry (in an upright position) completely before moving onto Step 23-25. The varnish will dry in less than an hour, usually. Clean your brushes immediately in soapy water.



Finishing touches:
Apply a heavy bead of glue along the main wire. Place glue on both sides to cover completely. Quickly
sprinkle glitter or microbeads on the glue. You can add glitter to some or all of the other wires if you wish. Tap off excess, and place upright to dry. I stick the wires into a piece of styrofoam and set aside.
You can also add marabou feathers at the base where the wings will go into the fairy's back- or embellish as you wish! Do this after you apply the glitter--Such fun.... **In the "Nearly Finished" photo below, you can see there is still some Gallery Glass that has not dried completely. It was set up enough for me to handle the wings, and they will be allowed to dry overnight now so that will all be dried clear in a few more hours.

This photo was taken before the gloss glaze was completely dry- and the photo was taken in indoor lighting

This photo was taken when the wings were completely dry- in natural daytime lighting. See the
color explode? Now you can see why we love that Fantasy Film!! The deeper colors are achieved with more intense heat- Steps 12-16

One final Note.
If you use Gallery Glass to seal your wings, be careful how you pack your fairy for shipping. Customers have told me that they have received fairies from other artists with all kinds of poly batting fuzz stuck to the wings. I usually don't permanently attach the wings to my sculptures, so I am able to wrap the wings separately in tissue before packing. However, I think that parchment paper, then tissue might help this issue, particularly in the summer heat. Something to keep in mind.

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