DIY Book Fairy Costume

This time last year I sat at my laptop pondering my costume options. It was my first year working at the library on Halloween, and I was finally given the go-ahead to dress up like I haven’t done in eons.

But what to wear?

I love books. I love writing. And it had to be work-appropriate. (None of those NSFW hooker costumes for me, thanks.) Who better to be than a BOOK FAIRY? I imagined myself fluttering between the stacks sprinkling fairy dust, bestowing books upon grateful patrons.  (Okay, so maybe I snorted some of that fairy dust by accident.)

A Book Fairy I’d be. But how?

How to make a Book Fairy Costume--this is adorable! Perfect Halloween costume for book lovers, teachers, and librarians!

I scanned Pinterest and found a few examples Book Fairies, Library Fairies, and a cute Diction-fairy. Perfect. Now how to make the wings?

I rang a bell, but nothing happened. (Oh wait, that’s an angel gets her wings…) No magic would help me. I had to murder a book. Mea culpa.

I Instagrammed this pic while doing the dirty deed:

murdered book

And my book loving friends and followers united in their animosity.

But seriously, this was a donated book past its prime. It had lived a good life. And I like to think of it as recycling. Upcycling. Okay, I still felt an itty bitty bit guilty ripping the pages from the spine, but it had to be done. It wasn’t like boiling a live lobster.

The repressed Crafty-Girl in me had a blast designing the wings, cutting out favorite fairy tale passages to highlight, and making everything sparkle. Figuring out how to attach the wings AND make the straps adjustable for comfort—well, that straddled the line between mystery and adventure, but I figured out how to get my Happily Ever After. You can always cobble your own set of wings together with a nose twitch, duct tape, and shoelaces, but the method below worked for me.

(Please pardon the dorky pics. My hubby snapped a few photos before I ran to work, and of course, I was too shy to pose at the library!)

DIY Book Fairy Costume--love it!!

How to Make Book Fairy Wings

Supplies:

  • large hardback book (I used a 9×9 book, but any size larger than a paperback should work)
  • 2 sheets poster board
  • 3 to 4 yards sturdy ribbon
  • glue (Elmer’s or craft glue)
  • clear packing tape
  • scissors
  • Foam Paint Brush
  • hole punch (optional: Self-Adhesive Reinforcement Labels)
  • Awl or small screwdriver (to make hole in book cover)
  • optional:  spray glitter, regular glitter, or any other extra decorating elements

Instructions:

1.  Carefully rip the pages from the book binding. (Mutter apologies and try not to cry.) Set aside.

2. Draw wing template. I freehand drew mine—it doesn’t have to be perfect!  Start by placing the book on one sheet of poster board. Decide what wing shape you want (I went for butterfly) and in pencil, draw an outline of the wing. Make it as tall as the poster board, so you have plenty of wingspan, and make sure the inside edges are smaller than the height of the book.

fairy wing template, butterfly wing template

3. Like your wing design? Good. Cut it out. Use it as a template to cut out your other wing.

4. Rip or cut up your book pages. Creativity level is up to you. If you’re using a special book, maybe you’ll want to have favorite paragraphs or lines highlighted on your wings. If you’re using a book with small print, it might not make a difference. You can have rough edges, cut pages into scale or feather shapes—go crazy. If you’re in a rush—who cares—just get those pages ready to glue.  (Since I had a large print book of fairy tales and I am a total dork, I artfully tore favorite passages from stories such as The Velveteen Rabbit, Peter Pan, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, etc. You don’t have to go through nearly as much trouble.)

5. In a small bowl, pour glue. Add a tiny bit of water to make it easier to spread. (No more than 3 parts glue to 1 part water). Now, using the sponge brush, coat each book page and glue it to the wings–front and back. It’s like decoupage. You can be as creative as you’d like.  Once both sides are covered, let your wings dry for several hours or overnight. (They’ll harden, yet still remahow to make book fairy wingsin slightly flexible when dry).

6. Meanwhile… Using your awl or something sharp and pointy, punch four holes in the back of your book cover. Make sure holes go all the way through the back cover only.

7. Have dry wings? Good. Hold them up to the holes you made in the book cover, mark the holes, then punch holes in your wings about 1 inch from the inner edge. (Hole punch does this nicely.) Strengthen the wing holes using reinforcement labels and/or tape.

8. Cut about 1.5 yards of ribbon for each wing. (My wing holes were 7 inches apart. If you have a taller book, you’ll need more.)  NOW PAY ATTENTION: the tricky part is coming up! With the inside of the book cover facing you (wings outside), thread about 1 foot of ribbon through the top hole, leaving it dangling outside. (This will be one of your adjustable ties.) Thread the rest through the inside bottom hole. Make a large loop on the outside of your wings (I used 2 feet) and thread it into the top (outside) hole (where you have that 1 foot of ribbon dangling). This will be your arm strap. Still with me? Pull ribbon somewhat snugly inside (but leaving that 2 foot loop outside) and thread end again through bottom hole.

It should now look like this:

inside

INSIDE with two loops

WING2

OUTSIDE—two strings to pull to adjust the length of the big loop, a.k.a. shoulder strap

Got that? The purpose of all these loops is to make the shoulder straps adjustable. We’re all different sizes, and if you’re like me and wearing these babies all day, you want to be comfortable.

Now, Tie the strings in a pretty bow (yes, it can be ugly or pathetic—it won’t really show) and test out your wing sizing. Doesn’t have to be perfect, just close.

{NOTE: If your craft-cussing, spatially-challenged hands are a-flapping right now because this seems WAY too complicated, relax. You can always pick your strap size, thread each end into a hole, then tie a nice granny knot and be done with it.}

Yes, the book cover will be flapping open. We’ll take care of that next.

9. GLUE. Glue the covers together. Use good craft glue if you have it. Depending on the inside cover paper type, hot glue may or may not work. (My paper was glossy, so the hot glue didn’t hold.) Make sure no glue goes near your ribbon straps–we want this part to remain adjustable, remember, so limit your glue to around the edges. Now is also a great time to glue your wings to the cover of the book. I used heavy duty craft glue and clear packing tape to secure them.

Let it all dry.

10. Do a final wing sizing. Figure out the rest of your costume. Literary-themed dress or skirt? Fairy-like gossamer gown? Vintage dress?  (I found the dress I’m wearing at a Salvation Army back in college. Think it was a homemade 1970s bridesmaid dress!)  Funky steampunk leather and tights? The options and themes are endless!!!!

You can dress up your wings with glitter or rhinestones, as well. I had bought some metallic gold hairspray, but after reading the warning labels, decided it would destroy/incinerate/permanently discolor my hair. So I sprayed it on my wings, adding a delightful golden patina to the pages. It doesn’t show well in photos, but the subtle sparkle is absolutely perfect!

book wings

I added a tiara studded with aqua Book Page Roses—love!

Book page tiara--I wish I'd had one of these for my wedding!

I updated a gold leaf crown from an old Greek goddess costume, adding homemade blue book flower roses. Wish I’d had one of these for my wedding!

 

Lovely book page flower pendant

wAND

An extra Book Page Rose turned into a delicate pendent.

 

And this cheesy wand I made in less than two minutes.

 

 

Have fun! Make it magical! And spread your book love on Halloween!

Perfect Halloween costume for librarians, teachers, and book lovers!

BOOK NERDS—er, FAIRIES—UNITE!

One thought on “DIY Book Fairy Costume

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge