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And so it begins…

It’s been a while!

It’s been a long while since I last blogged anything for The Silver Branch – so long that I no longer remember my old blogger log-in. So long, that I don’t even own the email that would allow me to recover that log-in! So, let’s start fresh! This blog is for The Silver Branch creations, events, news and ramblings (heavy on the ramblings, no doubt). As I create new faeries, dragons, goblins, gnomes, etc, I’ll share pics and thoughts from the process here. This is a little cut above what I post on Facebook and in the Fair-E-Mail Newsletter in that you’ll get far more behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to keep The Silver Branch blooming!

Now that the NH Renaissance Faire is done for 2016, I’ll be soon hard at work in the studio, creating a new…..  hmmm… how about a mermaid? Sure – let’s discover a new mermaid! Until then, it seemed fitting that I should post one of the only two faeries of my own creation that I’ve kept for myself. Here is Tralee, fast asleep.

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Making Fib’s Wings – Tutorial Time!

Fib 1

“Fib” is the newest faery at The Silver Branch – a gypsy moth faery. I actually don’t know her real name, but I call her Fib because that’s the sound her wings make when she flies by my ear to land near the porch lights in the evening. Fffffiiib! Like all my faeries, she was created by hand without the use of any molds. Unlike my other faeries, translucent and sparkling wings just wouldn’t do for the powdery softness of a silent moth, and creating feathery antennae that will not tatter or fall over like real feathers would was another conundrum. Creating Fib required some quick inventing on the fly (don’t forgive my pun, I deserve an eye roll for that). So I came up with a method that I love so much, I’m going to create more moth faeries in this manner. Luna moth – you’re soooo next!

Fib 3

Here’s what you’ll need for your moth wings:

  1. Printable transparency film. Be sure that you get inkjet printable film if you have an inkjet printer like I do. Most transparency films are made for laser printers.
  2. Fine silk fabric
  3. Modgepodge
  4. 20 gauge wire in a color that matches your wings
  5. super glue or fabritac or alenes jewelry and metal glue or e6000
  6. Scissors
  7. Wire cutters
  8. a printer and access to the web

Find a photograph of the moth you’d like to create. It should be a full picture of the wings – the body isn’t necessary but that’s okay if you can’t find pics of the wings alone. Of course, make sure your image is either public domain or you have permission from the photographer. I found a public doman image of a female gypsy moth’s wings. Print out the image in the size you’d like. My image was 4 by 6 and worked great for a 6″ art doll (she’d be 6″ if standing). Once printed, I found the image needed barely any time to dry, but I let it sit a few minutes just to be safe. Again, I use an inkjet printer, so it’s probably different for you lucky laser people.

Fibs Wings 2

Once your image is set, lay it out on a light surface so you can see the image (it’ll be hard to see on the clear film by itself) and cut silk large enough to cover the image. Give yourself some margins to hold onto – once the silk is gooey with glue, it’s slippery and you’ll want to have a good hold somewhere.

With a soft paintbrush, paint a layer of modgepodge on your image. It should be thick enough that you see the white color of the glue, but not so thick that you can’t see the image underneath.

Gently lay your silk over the glue and use your fingers to pull the silk taut over the image. See what I meant about it sliding? Don’t stress! Work slow and make sure there are no air bubbles or gaps.

With a generous amount of modgepodge on your brush, paint over the silk to really seal that puppy down! If you’re using a good amount of modgepodge, you probably won’t see the pattern of your moth wings any more. That’s good – modgepodge dries clear!Fibs Wings 1

Here is my moth after both layers of modgepodge have dried and sealed the silk down to the pattern. You’ll know it’s dry when the pattern is clear and there are no more white patches. Got white patches? Don’t touch it. Let it dry completely. I did not use heat – I just let it air dry.

Once this is completely dry, turn it over and do it again! You want silk to be sealed on both sides to give the fine texture and to soften the pattern no matter which angle people view your creation from. Let this other layer dry completely.

Once dry, cut out your wings! Use good scissors – dull ones might rip and pull the silk instead of slicing it. Not worth the risk after all that waiting for things to dry.

Now you can add the wire that will go into the back of your faery, or the wire that will attach to your jewelry or the wire to help you make whatever you want to make with these wings! My wings were small so I didn’t see much merit in having the wires span the entire wing, possibly taking away from the lovely patterning. So I curled the end of 20 gauge brass wire and glued it down to my wings using fabritac. I ran out after one wing, and ended up switching to super glue – worked just as well.Fibs Wings 4So there you have it! Wonderfully soft, textured wings fit for any moth faery.

Making Fib’s antennae was done in exactly the same manner, except once I cut out the antennae, I also cut all the little grooves out for the “feathered” look.

Fib 7