Saturday, February 26

PB knock-off angel wings

What follows is my first ever tutorial. It is very image intensive and possibly difficult to decipher. I apologize in advance. Happy DIYing!!

Tutorial after the jump!


I totally love this oversized carved angel wing from Pottery Barn. It is gorgeous. Very bold and striking and stylized. I was discouraged to see that they were out of stock, though. Not to mention the $675 price tag (add another $70 each for shipping, since they're only available online). So I looked for something similar on the old interwebs that I could make myself. Behold, I was in luck: I found this PB inspired knock off here, but there was no tutorial. I actually liked this knock-off better than the PB version, so I decided to knock-off the knock-off. This is my finished product: I was working without a map, since there were no size specs, nor any materials listed. I initially decided to make mine from particle board using a jig saw. Then I considered how heavy they would be, and decided to start with something lighter weight, especially since I wanted them each to be about 5 feet tall. Fortunately, we'd just moved into our house a couple months ago and had a garage full of giant, heavy duty cardboard boxes.

That's right. I made these from cardboard and paper mache. Here's the tutorial:

First, I freehanded a wing shape on a refrigerator box using a Sharpie. I'm not an artist, so I scoured Google Images for a wing shape I liked and tried to replicate it. I refined it until I liked the shape and then cut it out using a box cutter. I flipped it over and traced it into another side of the refrigerator box and cut out the other wing.
I then drew a rough image of the feather pattern with my Sharpie so I would know how the feathers should look as I taped them on. I didn't really use the pattern so much after I got a few layers of feathers on, but I did refer to it a bit from time to time.
Next, I needed some cardboard feathers. I cut some long feathers for the bottom of the wings and small feathers for the upper part. Once again, I used my trusty marker to make a feather template, cut it out and traced it. About a hundred and fifty times. Then I cut all those out to make enough feathers for both wings. I've got a picture here so you can get an idea of how big the small feathers are.
I used scissors to cut them all out, as an Xacto knife goes dull after only a few cuts. Cutting out the feathers is the most time consuming part of this endeavor. Settle in; you'll be here for a while.Now, I began at the bottom taping on the longer cardboard feathers, but I didn't get pictures of that, so you'll have to bear with me. This is my first tutorial, after all. Here's what they look like with the long feathers taped on:I began on the outside edge of the wing and layered them inward so that the inside edge of the wings would be thickest. Then I began taping on the shorter feathers. Pay close attention to the pattern of your feathers and the layering. They should be relatively uniform, beginning from the bottom on up, outside to inside. This process is tedious, but it really doesn't take all that long. Once they're all feathered, your wings will look like this:
You can begin to see the dimension and depth. Now for the gross part. Paper mache.
I've never used paper mache before, so I looked up a recipe for the paste online. As far as I could tell, there are about a million recipes for paper mache paste and they're all good. Mine was five parts water to one part flour. Mix one cup flour with one cup water until smooth. Boil four cups water, add flour and water mixture and boil for two or three minutes, whisking constantly. This was more than enough for my project.
I ripped a couple days' worth of newspaper into strips, layed some plastic down and got down to business.
One wing done. This angle makes it look smaller than it really is. Be certain that you really press your paper mache strips into all your nooks and crannies and smooth it all down as best you can. You definitely don't want to lose any of your dimension.
These pictures don't really show it, but there's almost a fish scale look to the wings at this point. I let mine dry for about a day and a half. I had to use a space heater eventually because my cold, damp garage was not letting the paste dry quickly enough for my impatient taste.

Eventually they did dry though, and then I began the painting. Of course you'll paint your wings however you want using whatever techniques you prefer. I considered doing a gold tone like the PB original and the knock-off, but I wanted my wings to be more seasonally neutral, so I could leave them up year-round if I want. So I decided to go for a faux-wood finish.

I used a can of Krylon indoor/outdoor spray paint in Saddle Tan and let dry for an hour or so. Then I glazed that over using Minwax water based Wood-Sheen Rubbing Stain and Finish in Colonial Pine. I used a sponge brush for this part, and I was sure to get a lot of the glaze in the cracks and crevices to really bring out the detail. After they dried, they looked like this:
The white areas on the left corner of the wing above are just from the glare of my flash.
They really look like a dark, highly polished carved wood. A close-up of the bottom of the left wing: I don't know why my beige walls look pink in these pictures, but you get the idea of the wings anyway. My wings are 63" by 25". I've got them hung over the piano now, which helps to bring down the vaulted ceilings and make the room a little cozier.
Altogether, I spent $1.27 on a roll of masking tape, $2.80 on the Krylon, and $6.75 on the Minwax glaze. The cardboard I had on hand. So for about $10 and about 10 hours of labor, I have some beautiful angel wings! I am very happy with the way they turned out.

I hope this tutorial is instructive and easy to follow, but if you have any questions, please ask. I'll be happy to clarify!

Cheers!

57 comments:

  1. Okay, that is just amazing. I saw that Lady's rip-off last year and was overwhelmed with trying it. Thanks for figuring out an easy and affordable solution. I LOVE how it turned out and can't wait to try it. You're awesome!

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  2. Wow! I'm impressed!! I made costume wings out of foam for my daughter's Halloween costume a few years back - I might have to dig those out of storage and do a little updating!!

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  3. Wonderful tutorial--good job. I agree, they do look like carved wood. This process could be applied to all kinds of decorative pieces. Thank you for sharing your experience! It gives me ideas...!

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  4. What an impressive job you did, the DO look like polished wood. Thanks for the tute.

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  5. Thank you. I really appreciate that you told us how long the project took....that is always a mitigating factor for me!

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  6. Wow! Beautiful and amazing! So impressive, I would have never thought of cardboard. This is going on my "wish to do" list.

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  7. Aw, you guys are awesome. I really appreciate it. You're making me all verklempt!!

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  8. WOW .. i thought for sure you did those out of wood,, never would;ve guessed in a million years it was cardboard. Great job,, looks better the PB in my opinion.

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  9. Muy original, el tutorial esplendido.El resultado es perfecto.
    Gracias por compartir.
    Saludos. Teresa

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  10. FANTABULOUS!!!! Totally looks like wood!
    My kind of girl! :)

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  11. This is too amazing for words! Great job!!!

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  12. I seen those live...and absolutely BEATUTIFUL!!!!!!!!~!~! Thanks for sharing CraftyButt.... gonna have me some time soon and might do a knockoff of ya knockoff... :-)

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  13. Mel,

    I am positive that you have already been awarded the title of Best Knock Off EVER for this, but I have to say...
    THIS IS THE BEST KNOCK OFF I'VE EVER SEEN.
    Ever. And I've been around! LOL

    I can't think of a word that would describe the outright genius of this creation.

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    1. I love the sign"Get Together"you made,- can you sell me one?
      My favorite song in the World. thanks, Millie

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  14. I'm blushing here;)

    Melody
    Crafty Butt

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  15. This is amazing! You have such a gift! Thank you for the inspiration and motivation to take on a challeging project like these huge angel wings. They remind me that God always has His loving arms wrapped around us every minute of every day. Bless you!

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  16. Oh man... love these. I can see another project being added to my list. LOVE this!

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  17. Just found your blog, and love it! It is my newest bookmark. I also pinned this tute to Pinterest. Great idea, beautiful results!

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  18. Thank You! I came out perfect, love it...

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  19. i have to make wings for my project so this could be a knock-off of a knock-off of a knock-off

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  20. oh I think I might try this. My daughter is a Pi Beta Phi...the angels...and angel wings are a symbol. I saw a set of wooden wings in a specialty shop for 200.00 a piece. I would love to make a smaller version. thanks for the tutorial. you did an amazing job.

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  21. I love these wings. I am currently trying to make a set of my own, but I have two questions. What did you use to mount the wings on the wall? How do I prepare them for hanging?
    Also, did you paper mache the back of the wings as well or is that not necessary? Please let me know.

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  22. You are a genius! Wonderful tutorial, great job.

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  23. This is one of the best projects I've seen....pure genius.

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  24. I certainly am amazed at the way these look to the costly ones..Reason being I'd rather have yours on my wall/ walls than the MUCH more heavier ones..I really will try this honey when our weather in South East Texas gets a bit cooler ..Cannot wait and hope to have it done by Christmas to be left up year round.maybe i can get my daughter in law to help even!!lolThanks so very much!! dale lillian mills

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  25. Simply AMAZING! Thank you so much for the tutorial...I've been trying to figure out in my head how I could make some wings of my own! Love what you did, they look fantastic! I'm now a fan and a follower. Would love to have you stop by for a visit. Blessings ~ Judy

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  26. Awesome...saw a decorating show where large angel wings were slightly featured. I zoomed into them immediately and had no idea where to find them. They looked very expensive & propably made of wood. I was so excited to find this tutorial. I have couple of questions regarding the paper application?

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    1. Well I have successfully completed 1 wing. My wing came out looking really rustic not as pretty as yours. The paper mache was the kicker but I got it done. I had to make my on my small apt patio. I think I will make my next wings a bit smaller scale ..Thank you Love, Love my wing.

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  27. YOU are FABULOUS! I just love these and thank you for sharing your great technique with all of us! Woot-woot to you, darling girl!!

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  28. Excellent !!!! I love them and thank you for sharing I will be making some now. I love your idea !!

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  29. Wow! That is amazing! Absolutely stunning! ~ Diane

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  30. These look amazing! Beautiful, doable, inexpensive - my kind of project. Thanks for sharing your experience, your tutorial is awesome!

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  31. The best wings on the web! And love the tutorial. I now know what I'm doing this weekend while it's snowing outside! Thanks for taking time and explaining step by step!

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  32. These are gorgeous! I will have to give this a try. A new follwer.

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  33. I had some questions regarding hanging the wings? What did you attach to the back to do this? Also, did you use more than one layer of paper mâché?

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  34. Great tutorial! Definitely going to make these for some Christmas presents. One question, though. Did you individually paper mache' the feathers or just lay it on top of them all?

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  35. Kudos. They look awesome.

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  36. WOW! I would love to try this,only for My small home I would have to make them smaller.Thank you so much for the detailed info.----Denise

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  37. Gorgeous, gorgeous, well done! And especially, thanks for sharing!!!

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  38. I have been teaching art for twenty years and...WOW!

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  39. Beautiful! I can't wait to try these. Thank you for taking the time to make the tutorial.

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  40. Beautiful! I can't wait to try these. Thank you for taking the time to make the tutorial.

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  41. I have made these..:) About 10 different sets. :) Love making them

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  42. Two questions: Did you apply paper mache to the back of the wings and finish them completely as well? What did you use to hang them?

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  43. This wings are absolutly awesome. I'm going to try to replicate them in a smaller scale for a project that I got myself into it. Thank you for taking the time to make the tutorial.

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  44. Melody,

    I just finished a set of rings 4 feet tall and 2 1/2 feet wide and am very pleased with the results. I used a different minwax color that I just happened to have on hand. the foam brush was an excellent tip.

    I now need to affix them to the wall. Can you tell me how you did that?

    Thank you. Barb

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  45. Ahhhmazing! What a beautiful job and thank you for the tutorial.

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  46. This is awesome! Thanks for the tutorial!!

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  47. I absolutely love this! I would like to try out of balsa wood.

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  48. LOVE your wings!! I don't have cardboard boxes that big so mine will have to be smaller, but can't wait to give this a shot. We all have angels in our lives - what a lovely way to honor them. Mine will hang on the wall with pics of our now Heavenly angels. THANKS for the tutorial & lots of pics.

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  49. This is amazing, awesome job! =) Eager to give this a try, I do have a question. You said ... Then I glazed that over using Minwax water based Wood-Sheen Rubbing Stain and Finish in Colonial Pine... Was wondering if that's two different things? Assuming so but not familiar with these so am not clear on that =)

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  50. Are you kidding, girl? These are crazy great! I love them and will try to make them as soon as I can. Thanks for your creativity and for posting this most beautiful wall decoration.

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  51. In LOVE!!! This is going to happen at my house over Christmas break! I have been wanting giant angel wings since the Junk Gypsies found theirs! I need to find some cardboard!

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  52. Hi. Just found you via Pinterest. I'm going to be paper mache-ing a couple of mirrors and think your layering is just great!
    I was wondering if it might be easier (is anything?) to paper mache each feather individually, then attach? Easier to tuck the paper around the edges of the cardboard?

    I'm just thinking out loud, but wanted to ask and tell you you did a Fantastic job. And I think your tutorial is far better than many, which just keep showing the same picture over and over. Yours detailed just what you were doing, which is what a tutorial should show!

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  53. Amazing job and great tutorial! Yours do look like wood! I've been meaning to try this and have some cardboard saved for just this purpose!!

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Thanks for commenting!! I really do read them all and I greatly appreciate the feedback.