Art by Rebecca Barkley
Ah Halloween is drawing closer.. so as a treat I thought I’d share with you how I make my dead faery sculptures.
When I first tried to make a dead faery I searched the internet and could only find one tutorial, which I have since tweaked to my liking and come up with my own way of making them.
For the Wings:
So far I have displayed my faeries in shadow boxes, jars, a key cabinet and I’m currently working on a display box with a glass lid and a lantern. For the shadow boxes shown in these images I used..
Start by bending and/or breaking apart the skeleton to create your desired position. I usually start by cutting off the arms and legs so I can bend them and stick them back onto the torso later. It depends how you want the finished faery to look, in some cases I make them sit so I can put them into a jar.
Apply torn pieces of tissue paper to the skeleton to build up skin. I tend to add more to the joints and leave some bone showing. Add layers until you’re happy with it. Glue all the parts back together and add more tissue paper to hold the limbs firmly.
Paint your corpse! I use brown tones, but you could play with any colours you wish. I use a dark colour to start with then gently brush on lighter tones, ending with a touch of metallic paint. this is a good way to bring out details such as the rib cage and skull.
I then glue on hair which is tricky and I’m still working on what type of hair to use, but at the moment I just chop some off a wig and attach it best I can.
Find a picture online of the faery wings you’d like to use. I found photos of cicada wings, arranged them on an A4 sheet and printed onto the printable plastic sheet.
Before cutting out each wing I carefully score the shape of the wing veins with a sharp impliment. This is an added detail for reflecting light to make the wings look more realistic. Of course real wings would work a treat if you can get some!
Adding wire to the wings is optional. If I’m mounting a faery in a shadow box I tend not to worry, but if the faery is in a jar or I want to bend the wings into shape then I’ll add a thin piece of wire to the top edge of the wings. This can be fiddly, but basically I measure enough wire to join 2 wings together, and carefully glue along the top edge of each wing. Gently bend the wire to fit the arch and leave overnight to dry.
Add some paint to cover up the wire, and a bit extra to make the wings look a bit old and used.
Finally, glue the wings to your corpse and have fun displaying your little dead faery!