I got this idea from a tutorial I found on Pinterest, and I happened to have a broken umbrella. However, my umbrella was a bit different from the one in the original tutorial, so I thought I’d share the process with the modifications I made.
This is the umbrella I started with, which I bought at Target.
1) It wasn’t too difficult to seperate the metal skeleton from the central stick. Remove the metal wire at the top and from the sliding handle that opens the umbrella. Then snip the thread holding the material to the skeleton.
Now you have several pieces that look like this. They will form the ribs of the wings.
2) Next you want to remove the shorter piece from the long one by using a pair of pliers to twist them until they break off. I left it on two of the ribs because I wasn’t sure if I would want to connect the wings. Turned out I didn’t need them because I attached the wings to a vest, but you will see them in some of the subsequent pictures.
3) Now it’s time to put the ribs back together. Lay them out first in the spread wing formation, with the inside rib having the metal tip (the outside tip of the umbrella) at the top and the others reversed – having the black tip (the inside connection of the umbrella) at the top. Place the first black tip behind the metal tip and the other two in front. It’s a bit unwieldy to put them all on one side. Tie them together with a piece of wire or fishing line. This is your pivot point for opening and closing the wings.
Ta-Dah! Wings! You can see I still had the extra pieces attached. I hadn’t yet figured out how to wear them so I was keeping my options open.
6) Now how do you wear them? I considered a few options like a shoulder harness, or looking for an old backpack frame at an army surpluss store. But to keep it in line with other costumes in the show, I opted to attach them to a leather vest. I used heat-activated hem tape to temporarily place them first, figured out where to put them so the bottom of the inner rib didn’t impede the actors waist movement, and then tacked them on with needle and thread. I also added shiny stuff from one of those pop-out car sun shields and elastic wrist straps.
The Finished Product: