Friday, May 10, 2013


Insect Day, an annual tradition for all second graders at our school. Insect Day is a culmination of a year's worth of research, habitat building, designing, graphing, tracking, video-making, story-writing and massive amounts of collaborating. 
You would think that since my son is my third child to go through Insect Day I would be well prepared. Nope, late on a Tue night my son pops up beside my side of the bed and says "by the way I 
 need to dress up like a dragonfly on Friday, goodnight". My husband gave one of those "bummer, glad I'm not you" looks,  then fell blissfully asleep. I don't mind though, my husband is the go-to guy for all math homework, so I'm grateful.  
So it was on a Thursday evening that I found myself in Wal Mart hoping/praying for inspiration.  I looked for wire for the wings and after checking every section where such wire might be hiding, and re-checking those sections again with the help of a very sweet Wal Mart employee (who knew?), I was about to give up, but then the kind employee took pity on me and snagged me some wire coat hangers from the break room. Thanks to that little bit of kindness my creative juices kicked in and I grabbed some blue duct tape, and blue chenille stems and headed home. 


--4 wire coat hangers, or wire thick enough to hold it's shape easily. 
--tennis ball for the eyes 
--blue baseball cap, one with air-vent grommets to put the antennae through 
--chenille stems for antennae, we used metallic blue because it looked the most "insecty"
--Blue duct tape
--tights for the body, I used an old pair of pink ballet tights and painted them, my son really wanted a green insect body, if you can find tights the color you'd like the body than you won't need to paint
--green poster paint unless you have colored tights, see above
--2 large safety pins 
--5 or 6 rubber bands 
--scratch paper or stuffing to form the thorax 
--plastic wrap 
-- felt, we used green, for center of wings 
--small wire to wrap wings together, could use duct tape instead
--enough elastic to go over the shoulders to keep wings on 

--wire cutters
--paint brush if you're painting 
--glue gun and glue 

Time needed
--comes together in an hour if you're NOT painting. If you are painting give yourself at least a day to air dry or an evening to use a hair dryer on it a couple of times. 

1. cut off one leg of the tights and use that for the thorax. We stuffed ours with wadded up scratch paper, but newspaper or stuffing/fiber fill would work too. I liked the stiffness of the scratch paper as it gave the final costume interesting movement. Just a matter of preference, my daughters might have liked the softer look stuffing would have given. 
2. If you don't have colored tights and are painting, now is the time to paint because it takes a long time to dry. I laid it out on newsprint and let my son  own this, he loved it. 
3. Begin shaping your wings by taking apart hangers and bending your wire. I really didn't need to do that much cutting because I used the "hook" ends in the center which gets covered up with felt. Make two sets of wings as shown in the above picture and secure them together at the center with small wire or duct tape. 
3. Wrap the wings with plastic wrap. This part was fun, we did 2 or 3 layers. 
4. Measure two pieces of elastic that will go onto center of wings and around each shoulder. 
5. Cut the elastic and secure onto the wings with duct tape. This should look like two loops for your child to put their arms through to wear the wings.  Secure further in step 6 before wearing. 
6. Take the felt and cut ovals and hot glue over the top of the elastic. This secures the elastic and hides/softens  the wired/taped centers of the wings. 
7. Cut tennis ball in half and cover completely with duct tape. These will be the eyes. The hollow side of ball is tricky, I put tape across the bottom first so that the layers on top would secure the bottom layers. 
8. I safety pinned the eyes onto the baseball cap (turned backward) from the underneath side, you could also hot glue it but this way we didn't ruin the cap. I covered the safety pins with duct tape inside the cap, for extra hold and comfort. 
9. Push the chenille stems up through grommets on the top of the cap. Most caps have these holes in just the right spot. Secure underside with duct tape. Shape antennae as desired. 
10. I covered any writing on the cap with more blue duct tape. 
11. Once thorax is dry, use rubber bands to shape the sections of the body. 
12. Wrap wire to secure thorax to wings. Cover in duct tape, to secure. You can also cover the duct tape by hot gluing felt over it. 

And that's it! My son had a great time being a dragonfly for a day. 
If you have a child that would like a more sparkly costume, like  my youngest daughter would, this could easily be glam'd up with some glitter and tulle.