Tutorial – Making Bat Wings

Much as I love needle felting, and here many a purist will no doubt shake their heads and run screaming into the night, I am not a big fan of felted wings.  Wings, in my opinion, do not suit the medium of felt, and so when making my first bat I wanted to experiment with ways to make a more realistic pair of flappers.  Pinterest seems to be fairly certain that I need more Mod Podge in my life, so I emperimented with that, and after a few weeks’ worth of trial and error I finally hit upon the right method.

Using Mod Podge gives great life to bat wings, as it’s easy to create a leathery membrane texture.  It’s a fairly simple process and requires just a few supplies and a few days advance notice because I tell you – you’re going to be spending a lot of time waiting for things to dry!

What you will need

  • Black polymer clay
  • Mod podge gloss lustre
  • Black acryllic paint
  • A mixing pot with a lid
  • 2 x paintbrushes (one thick and one fine)
  • A baking tray
  • Silver foil

How to make the wings

1. Knead some black polymer clay until it is soft and pliable enough to form without any cracks appearing.

2. Roll three pairs of long thin tubes – one long pair, one medium pair and one short pair.  Ensure that one end of each tubes is tapered.

3. Use one tube from each pair to form the structure of the wing, as below.  Smooth over the gaps between each separate tube so that it appears to come from one starting point (don’t worry if there are any seams – this will be dealt with later).

4. Make sure that the two wings are mirrors of each other, as the wings will be facing different directions.  Which I clearly didn’t do in the picture below *hangs head in shame*.

 

Make the structure of the wings using the polymer clay.

Make the structure of the wings using the polymer clay.

5. Bake the wings in an oven according to the clay’s instructions.  Allow to cool.

6. Mix acryllic paint and Mod Podge in equal parts (note – this will thin the mod podge and create a thinner solution).

7. Place some flat, uncrumpled silver foil on a tray – you need it to be as crease-free as possible, as any creases will imprint into the ‘membranes’ of the wings.

8. With the wing structures placed on the foil, use the thick paintbrush to fill the gaps between each strut (as below) – don’t worry about being too neat at this point, just make sure you fill in all the gaps.

9. Using the thin paintbrush paint the mixture carefully over the polymer clay, making sure to cover it completely.  This will hide any seams in the clay and provide a smarter, glossier finish.

 

Paint in the Mod Podge paint mixture

Paint in the Mod Podge paint mixture

10. Wait for the Mod Podge to dry.  This can take 24-48 hours, depending on thickness.  Go read a book, remind a loved one that you’re still alive, or go and see that ‘outside’ thing people keep telling me about.

11. When the mixture has dried it will feel rubbery and dry yet ever-so-slightly tacky (but will not leave any coloured residue on your hands).  If the polymer clay needs any touching up, now’s the time to do it.  Oh yes, you’ll need to wait another 24 hours for the touch-up to dry.

12. Once you’re happy with the results, carefully trim the membrances in a concave pattern (as below).  Now it’s time to…

 

When dry, paint over any gaps

When dry, paint over any gaps

13. Turn it over an paint the back of the polymer clay and, yes, leave it another 24 hours to dry.  Gotta make that back look as good as the front, y’know.

Congratulations, you have literally spent 2-4 days watching paint dry.  But your bat now has wings, and for this he will be eternally grateful.

For a tutorial on how to make a bat, click here

This tutorial was created by Gabrielle Dexter of Flippity Felts and may be used freely for all non-commercial purposes.  Not available for resale.

 

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