Davesprite Wing Tutorial and FAQ

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Hello everyone!  I’ve gotten a lot of questions about my Davesprite cosplay and below the cut I’m going to do my best to answer them.  :D  The is mostly a wing tutorial but also covers other FAQs such as makeup and where I purchased various things.

WINGS

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This was my first attempt at wings, so I am by no means a wing expert but I will do my best to explain what I did.  Also it is important to note: THIS TUTORIAL IS FOR LARGE WINGSPANS.  (mine were around 9 ft.) If you are looking to make a smaller wingspan, although this would work, you may want to check out some other tutorials which may be more suited to your needs.  :D

Ok, so before you do anything it is important to do research, and lots of it.  Study real wings, wing anatomy, how they fold, are shaped, and how the feathers naturally lay.  (If you’re cosplaying Davesprite look at crow wings, he is part crow after all!)  I had a wings folder with maybe 30 pictures I constantly referenced back to during the length of the project.  Studying wings will give you a much better idea of what you want to do when it comes to your own wingspan.  At this point you will also need to decide the shape of your wings.  My major debate was to make them folded or spread.  Sketching out wing shapes helps a lot too!  I’m no artist but I did a ton of sketching to get the curve I liked best for the wing.

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After you decide shape, draw out a life size replica of your wingspan.  This will help you determine size.  I can’t stress this step enough, it really helps you visualize what your wings are going to ultimately look like and I used my sketch the entire length of the project, I shaped my PVC to it, bent my wire on it, and basically it helped to keep everything very consistent between the three wings. 

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One of the biggest questions I’ve gotten is:  How did you do the broken and full wingspan? My simple answer for this is: the harness.  Because I have three wings for Davesprite, two full wings and one broken wing, I wanted a harness that was completely independent from the actual wings, so they could be taken on and off.  This also great for transportation and getting around the con because I could just take the wings out and carry them if traffic around the con center was bad.

Here’s what you will need, I will refrain from giving exact measurements on PVC lengths etc because that will be determined by the size of your wings, which you can simply measure off your full size sketch.  Some of the connection pieces might also very depending on your wing shape but I will put what I used for mine…

WHAT YOU NEED FOR HARNESS

  • square of 3/16” plywood
  • 5/8” wooden dowel
  • 3/4” PVC
  • Scrap wood
  • Epoxy
  • straps and connectors
  • 6 gauge copper wire
  • screw, nuts, spacers in various shapes and sizes
  • POWER TOOLS YEAH (you at least need a power drill and jigsaw/something to cut the wood/pvc with)
  • ace bandage (optional, I used it for extra support)

WHAT YOU NEED FOR WING FRAME

  • 3/4” PVC
  • 3/4” 45 degree PVC connection elbow (1 for each wing)
  • 3/4” 45 degree conduit elbow (1 for each FULL wing)
  • 3/4” PVC coupling (one of each FULL wing)
  • PVC Cement
  • PVC Cement Primer
  • 6 gauge copper wire
  • 1” chicken wire
  • epoxy
  • heat gun (depending on your wing shape)
  • wire cutters

WHAT YOU NEED FOR FEATHERING WINGS

  • Hot glue gun
  • Hot glue AND LOTS OF IT (I went through three large sized bags)
  • Felt in the color of your wings
  • Feather Rounds and Flats

In regards to the feathers themselves, I purchased mine at Rainbow Feather Co..  Make sure to call and place your order as opposed to placing it online.  They have wonderful customer service over the phone!  You will need both turkey wing rounds and turkey wing flats.  Rounds are the larger feathers and look like this, they will be used for the majority of your wing.  I ordered 3 pounds of the Tom’s (although Hen rounds would work as well-they are just shorter)  Make sure to order both rights and lefts!  

You will also need flats which look like this.  I ordered a pound, but ended up having a lot more than I actually needed.  

Base the amount of feathers you order on the size of your wings, it can be hard to estimate ESPECIALLY with the rounds, so make sure you start your wings early enough so you have enough time to order more if you need to!  (ask me how I know this haha…  »)  Ok, let’s get to building we’ll talk more about feathers later~

First step is to measure how big you want your back plate to be.  (I did mine the distance between my shoulder blades) and then cut that out of the plywood.  You want to make sure there is enough room on the top and bottom for the dowel and PVC.  Once you have determined the size of the back plate, cut your wooden dowel the same length, and the PVC at half the length.  I wood glued a wooden bracer down the center mostly for support and to keep everything lined up and centered. 

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After sliding the dowel inside the PVC, you want to attach the PVC/dowel combo by drilling a hole through the plywood, as well as the PVC/dowel. Then I used a couple of bolts, spacers and washers to keep everything together.  (you may want to use some loctite on the washer to prevent it from coming off, this goes for all the washers on this project)

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Next after attaching two additional wood spacers on either side for support you’ll want to add the straps on.  I just used some canvas straps and connectors I bought at Joann’s but you can use whatever you want based on personal preference and the level of comfort you’re looking for.  My straps crisscrossed against my chest, but backpack style would probably work as well depending on what you find to be more comfortable.  Just remember to measure how long you need the straps to be.  You might want to add some additional padding as well, I didn’t because I was wearing two undershirts but you might want to esp around the neck area.  Straps were attached with bolts and epoxy for added strength.

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The final step for the harness is to add a spinal brace which I unfortunately don’t have any pictures of but basically you take your 6 gauge cooper wire and bending it in a U shape stick it into the bottom of your harness by drilling two holes and epoxy to hold it in place. 

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Bend the wire along the curve of your spine, it is a MAJOR help in keeping the wings in place while wearing them.  I wrapped an ace bandage around the wire and my stomach and it helped a TON keeping everything steady.

Now onto the wing frame!  Your wing frame may vary depending on the shape of your wings, but you will use a similar method.  Start with your first connection, the one attaching to the harness and measure it according to the size of your wooden dowel.  Attach the 45 degree connector to the end using PVC primer and cement and there you have your first connection!  Eventually you’ll want to (carefully) drill a hole through the PVC and dowels so you can stick a pin in to hold everything in place while you are wearing the wings, other wise they will flop around.

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From this point you continue to make connections in the correct shape of the wings, cutting the PVC and reconnecting it where needed. Until you get something like this:

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Next thing is to make the wing shape using your heat gun, PLEASE BE CAREFUL!  I’m sure this goes without saying but heat guns are REALLY HOT and they will burn you, or things they have heated will burn you.  You might want to wear gloves or other protective materials!

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Next grab your 6 gauge wire and bend it into the correct shape for the bottom half of your wings, remember your feathers will extend quite a bit off the end so make sure to account for that by making the wire frame smaller than needed.  I attached the wire frame by drilling a hole and sticking the wire inside each end and then securing it with some epoxy. 

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Connection:

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Now it’s time for chicken wire!  Basically I just set the frame on top of my chicken wire and used wire cutters, with a lot of patience, and started to wrap and shape the wire around the frame until I got something like this:

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Now it’s time to add the felt.  I pre-sewed the top of my felt slip to make gluing things on easier.  Basically pull the slip over your wing frame and then begin to glue away!  You want to glue all along all the sides of the PVC to make sure everything fits snug.  You may want to put a few dabs of glue in the middle just for extra security.

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When you are done it should look something like this…

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NOW STOP.  And back up a few steps, this is all great and dandy if you are just doing the full wing span.  If you are doing the broken wing span you will want to weight the broken wing BEFORE covering it with felt.  You need to weight the broken wing to counterbalance the size of the full wing on the other side, otherwise you may be walking crooked all day and we don’t want that!  It doesn’t really matter what you weight it with as long as it is heavy and compact.  I ended up using some lead my dad had left from making fishing weights.  I melted it and poured it into a mold I made to fit the shape of the top of the wing. Then basically just attached it and voila! Maybe that’s a little strange but it works, lead is heavy.

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Now comes the worst best part, feathering!  But before you can even start feathering you need to hand trim all your feathers first, rounds and flats.  I’m not going to lie, this takes FOREVER and it RIDICULOUSLY TEDIOUS.  But when you are done you should have a great big pile of feathers that look something like the feather on the left:

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Now comes the gluing, start on the outside and work your way in, using the biggest feathers first.  At this point it is important to look back on your wing references and see how feathers naturally lay on birds and try to replicate that pattern best you can.  Once you near the top of the wing you will want to switch from rounds to flats as well as use the flats to fill in the top of the pvc, and any other places that may look strange or where the felt/PVC is showing.

Progress of the feathering process…

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Once you are done with the grueling process of gluing on feathers, you’re done!  Just attach the wings to your harness and voila!  :D 

A few other things I might mention…

  • I cut holes in the back of my shirt the PVC could slip through, so it looked like a really clean connection on my back, the harness also barley shows, you can’t really tell it’s there unless you touch it.
  • I know I said this before but making wings takes a lot of TIME, PATIENCE and MONEY.  Give yourself enough time to work on it before the con in-case a disaster happens or you run out of supplies!  Tears are no fun!
  • BE SAFE POWER TOOLS AND HEAT GUNS ARE DANGEROUS.  I really do care about you guys believe it or not.  .__.
  • POST SOME PICTURES SO I CAN SEE ALL YOU KAWAII DAVESPRITES OUT THERE.

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MAKEUP

Check out my davesprite makeup reference

For my face I used the water activated cake makeup, Paradise Make Up AQ in Orange, activated with Liquiset, powdered with Mehron Starblend and then sealed with Final Seal.  I used Cabaret Lip Color for my lips. 

For my arms I used airbrush.  If you have further interest, send me an ask and I will gladly elaborate. Even though I swear by airbrush and it is AMAZING for cosplay’s involving body paint, it is pretty unpractical unless you already have an airbrush machine and air compressor at your disposal.     

As far as application goes, my number one suggestion is PRACTICE!   Especially if you don’t have any previous experience with water activated cake makeup.  It took me a number of different tries before I was able to master the activating liquid/makeup mixture ratio.  Also I can’t stress it enough to SEAL YOUR MAKEUP! As much as cheetos are delicious no one wants cheeto stains on their cosplay when they hug you.  :3

If you have additional questions my makeup and airbrush help tag has more info and tips for application etc!

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WHERE DID YOU GET ________?

necklace / sword / wig (I bought in white and dyed with sharpies and rit) / glasses / feathers

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Alright, I think that’s it!  If you have any other questions or need clarification on anything my askbox is open and I’m always here to help.  :D  If you plan on cosplaying Davesprite, or any winged character I hope my tutorial was of some help and I wish you the best of luck!  ♥

HAPPY COSPLAYING COOLKIDS!

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