Make a set of DIY angel wings using recycled cardboard and feathers. The finished set of wings are perfect for Christmas nativity costumes and they are super easy to make!
You might also like our printable paper angels
A year or two ago my girls made their own pair of rainbow angel wings. They looked adorably kid-made, and I remember at the time having to restrain myself from getting in there and doing it all for them.
Essentially they did as much of the craft as they were capable of with their own brand of creative flair and only needed a little bit of help. They thought their finished product looked fantastic and played with their wings often, long after Christmas had passed, until they fell apart. From memory I think that they lasted a whole year in our dress-up box, which is not too bad for a piece of cardboard!
I finally had the chance to make a pair myself when miss 7 needed some for her school play last week. Seriously, they are SO quick and easy to make and far cuter than the factory-made dollar store versions if I do say so myself.
So as you can see, angel wings are a great craft for both Mum and the kids.
You will need
- Recycled scrap cardboard (like you get from a cardboard carton)
- white feathers
- duct tape
- white paint
- hat elastic
- this angel wing template
To create your wings cut out two wing shapes from the recycled cardboard using the template to get the shape. Alternatively sketch a shape that you like yourself, cut that one out and use it to trace a matching second wing of the same shape. Duct tape securely together over the join both front and back. Paint one side white and allow to dry, then paint the other side.
For mums and dads: as a general tip with recycled cardboard crafting a good quality acrylic paint is far better for getting an opaque coating over the cardboard without having to paint on a second coat once the first one dries. Typical kids’ acrylics (like what most parents would have at home) are usually a bit more washable and therefore don’t give good coverage, especially with the lighter colours.
For kids: The above paint is also a good choice because it is non-toxic, but be aware that it is not very washable and can stain. If you get it on clothes or furniture wipe it off straight away while still wet. For my kids I buy a good quality washable paint instead, they are usually not fussed about the opaqueness of the colour.
You can see through the paint a little bit on the reverse side of the wings I made as you will be able to see in the images (although with the kids’ paint it would have been twice as bad), but I didn’t think it was obvious enough to worry about seeing that that side of the wings would be facing her back anyway.
Once the paint has dried use a paintbrush to paint on some glue and layer the feathers starting from the bottom and working your way up so the top layers of feathers overlap the lower layers. Add more glue as you need to until both wings are completed.
If you wish to you can feather the back as well, but I thought one side was enough. After the glued-on feathers have dried, poke two holes on the inside of each wing over the duct tape with a kitchen skewer and use them to thread the hat elastic through as shown in the image below.
Miss R wore a white dress with her favourite sparkly shoes and I made a quick halo from a starry gold tinsel, and that is the costume complete.
…and the school play was as cute as ever!
More Angel Craft Ideas
- Make a cute classic toilet roll angel decoration
- Use our printable template to create these colourful mini paper angels for tree ornaments
- Put together some bottles of mini angel dust as a gift idea for the kids’ school friends
- We also have a paper angel template that can be coloured in and folded together
- See the adorable kid-made angel wings my girls made as preschoolers
Kate Lloyd says
these are gorgeous – how many (approximately) feathers should expect to use per set of wings? i have to make 12 sets.. thanks you so much for sharing!
Hi Kely, no idea exactly, but that is a lot of sets of wings! I purchased a bag of white feathers and there are quite a lot of feathers in a bag. I think you would be safe with 6 bags, and may even have some left over for other fun ideas (but this is just a guess, I made this set of wings 2 years ago now)
Wanda LeBlanc says
Thanks so much for this idea Kate, I started making plant pot people and i am a member of a special group called Moms Of Children Past as all of us in the group have lost a child.I lost my oldest daughter in 2016 (she was 32) and I was looking for ideas so i could make something special to put in the garden that we have. We have plaques with our child’s name and date of birth and of passing that are screwed to the fence. I am going to attempt to make an angel to put in this special garden of ours. Here’s hoping it turns out , Thank you again for the idea for the Angel wings.
That sounds like a beautiful memorial to your angels, the plant pot people sound lovely too.
How can I add sparkle to the feathers. I am making 50 for assisted living and memory care. Any fast ideas?
Hi Elaine, I haven’t actually tried this but a glitter spray with clear adhesive might work. I’d try it on a feather or two to see what happens before applying to the whole project, and if you’re making lots of them you might need more than one can (but again, I haven’t tried it so I don’t know). Good luck with your project! Here is an example https://amzn.to/2vWrX2n
These are so pretty. Thank you for sharing
I’m glad you like them 🙂
Hi! I am making these for my niece for Halloween! How old is the little one in the photos? Trying to determine if she is the same size — my niece is 6 almost 7. How did you know how long to make the elastic straps? Will I need her mom to measure around her arms, or? Due to COVID, I am unable to size her and will simply be dropping these off. Thanks for your help!
My daughter was around that age when I made these (it was for her first grade school play). Maybe supply the elastic straps attached but untied so that the mum can size to fit.
Could you please elaborate on how to put the elastic? Are the holes made all the way through to the other side? Is it one elastic that loops for each wing? Thanks in advance!
It was a while ago that I made these, but I can see from the picture I made 4 holes, two in each side that go all the way though, then threaded a single piece of elastic fron the back through to the front then back through to the back again on each side. It’s tied at the back to fit the child’s arms.
Thank you so much for sharing this post!
I was able to make angel wings for Miss 6 quite easily! Your wing template was a great help!
No worries! I’m glad my tutorial helped
What kind of glue are you using here.Just wondering if you prefer a certain kind for this project.
I think it was either regular PVA or craft glue. The feathers would stick pretty well to the cardboard using either.
How did you cover the stem of the feathers I can see them on mine
Hi Patty, I think I just layered them close enough together that the stems are not visible