Handcrafted shabby primitive angels

I’m not much of a sewing gal. I can sew. But not profitably when it comes to crafting items to sell. Sewing is a relaxing craft to me, and I much prefer to hand sew than use a machine. Maybe I just got burned out on sewing after having sewn all my own clothes for high school? Certainly since having a good portion of my spine surgically fused, sitting hunched over a sewing machine is very painful.

But now that the store is closed and I have more time to sew, I’m trying to branch out a bit. First I started with some really simple hand stitched hearts for Valentines.

These silly little things have been selling like HOTCAKES at my space in Stars!

So, after warming up my sewing hand on the hearts, I decided to tackle some DOLLS. I’ve been wanting to make some for eons! Even have a big stack of stitched, but unstuffed doll bodies ready to go; that were sewn by a friend. One of my sewing friends wanted a bunch of my painted wood stuff a few years ago and we worked out a trade whereby she paid me in doll bodies.

I had tea stained all the doll bodies I have last summer. Always best to tea stain and let dry in the sun whenever possible. The stain ‘blotches’ up much better in the sun. AND it’s easier (and more economical!) to stain BEFORE you stuff, as the stuffing will absorb a lot of the stain.

*** You can buy my stain recipe HERE or in my etsy shop.

I stuffed several of the bodies one evening while watching TV, then had to ‘talk to them for a while’ to find out what they wanted to be. This particular shape seemed very angelic to me, so they became angels.

For the wings I used some scrap cardboard and covered it with burlap (glued on with tacky glue). Designed my wing shapes on a piece of paper, folded in half, to make each side match. Then just opened them up and traces to the back of the burlap coated cardboard piece, and cut out.

A bit of tacky glue to adhere the wings. You can see the ‘stuffing seam’ here on the back. After I put the wings in place, i set a heavy book on top of them to keep it pressed firmly in place while the glue dried.

I decided on uber simple faces for these first two. Small upholstery tacks for the eyes (pushed in with a drop of tacky glue) and a larger tack, stitched on for the nose.

I didn’t get pictures of ALL of the next steps, but they are all fairly simple. I hand stitched some burlap threads on top of her head for hair; one or two at a time until it ‘looked right’. Cut out a burlap halo from the scraps from my wings. You can see her ‘petticoat’ but it’s a strip ft tea stained cheese cloth under her tulle skirt, glued into place. For her tulle skirt, I just did a running stitch across a strip of tulle; then glued on a strip of muslin for the belt/bow in the back. The ‘hope and love’ banner in her hands is some trim I purchased. (Currently available for sale in my etsy shop)

I used some tea stained cotton yarn to ‘cross wrap’ her wings from the front and around to the back. And tied a little key and heart to the front.

Here you can see how I cross tied the wings; tied her skirt bow and attached her halo, but punching two holes and using a safety-pin AND some tacky glue.

Her dainty little feet were begging for ballet slippers. I used some more of my burlap thread and just tied it around her feel and lower legs.

Her fellow angle here was created in much the same way, but with different materials in some instances. Different style of wings; burlap to tie the wings on; a tea stained doily for her halo; shorted hair, but still made with burlap thread; tea stained cheese cloth for her skirt; and a bigger key around her neck; and ‘live love laugh’ banner in her hands. (which is also now available in my etsy shop).

Both of these sweet gals are currently for sale in my etsy shop.

BLOG PARTY: 100 ideas under $100.00

In keeping with my resolution to join more blog parties this year, here’s another great one to check out! Even if you don’t want to participate, it’s worth a trip over to Beyond the Picket Fence to see all the wonderful and inexpensive ideas submitted.

Check it out over at Beyond the Picket Fence.

NOW, for my submission, hmmmmmmmmmmmm. . . . . what shall it be????

I think I’m gonna do THIS ONE!

Click on the link above to see the whole post and the ‘how to’.

This pair of angel wings was fairly fast and easy to make, AND total cost of the project was UNDER $3.00!


Fabric rose petals from Dollar Tree $1.25

Be sure you get the 300 pack of petals. They also have smaller packages (100 pieces) in the wedding supply section.  But they get the bigger packages in for Valentine’s day, which makes this time of year the best time to try this project.  I used one package of 300, plus a handful from another package.

Aleens tacky glue  (always have it on hand!)

Poster from Dollar Tree $1.00

I bought the poster and used the cardboard backing for my wing backing.  I tried the styrofoam poster board (also from DT) but it took a long time to cut.  Either would work okay though, and the price is the same.

How cute would it be to hang a pair of these above a child’s bed with a little ‘Guardian Angel’ tag or sign?

Ain’t she sweet?!

Yippee!!! I finally found a mannequin! Been hunting for one for 4+ years. I had a wire one when we first opened our store; but it had a more traditional ball shaped skirt. I LOVE the shape of this new one much better! And I like the scroll work on the base.

Mannequin from a few years ago.

Here is a wicker one I had 'WAY back when'. Got it at the thrift store; it was just the torso, no base. I mounted it onto a big heavy wood thrifted lamp base.

Back to the ‘new gal’ . . .

I intend to use her as a ‘greeter’ for my space at the antique mall. Hoping to get a bigger space after the first of the year, and thought I’d make her a pair of angel wings.

Inspector kitty, Spike doing a ‘quality check’, and then informing me that he really thought the project could wait until tomorrow because right now he was WELL behind on his quota of scheduled lap time for the day. With Michael out of town for work for four days I guess I’ll be pulling ‘double shifts’ on kitty lap time!

I wanted to use some foam core poster board for the backing for the wings. After striking out at THREE different Dollar Trees though, I had to come up with a plan B. (and paying $5.00 for it at the craft store was NOT in the budget!)

So I bought a POSTER and figured I could use the cardboard it was packaged with for my wings. First I drew the shape of my wings on newspaper; held them up to the mannequin to be sure I liked them. Then I drew them ‘to size’ (newspaper was a bit smaller than the poster board) on the back of the poster. Cut that out and will save it to use as a template in the future. I’ll be selling the wings, but probably not the mannequin. (unless/until I can find another!)

I had to hit FOUR Dollar Trees before I found the 300ct packages of rose petals. They had the smaller packages of 80ct; but I was gonna need a LOT of them. I know they bring in the bigger packages for Valentines day, and was HOPING I wouldn’t have to wait that long for them. Found the foam board at the same DT; a brand new one.

So, I took my cardboard cut out of the pair of wings, my trusty bottle of tacky glue and my rose petals and started gluing away. Worked on it while I watched TV last night and the entire project, from design to finish took under two hours.

AND . . . . .drumroll please . . . . .

The pair of wings cost me less that $3.00 to make!!! It took one full bag of the rose petals plus about 1/4 of another bag. How’s that for THRIFTY CRAFTING?!?!?

I just rummaged through my stash of wire edged ribbon for some white to tie the wings on with, and just tied a regular bow, so it unties easily. (since the wings will be for sale)

BEFORE I happened to find the mannequin, I had planned on making the angel wings, and was just going to hang them on the wall in a BIG frame. Maybe sling a little bow and arrow across one corner of the frame?

This was the only frame I had handy to use for the picture. This frame will be painted black; and I also have some big ‘fancy gold’ frames that I can use. I also sprayed some glittery silver spray paint on the wings. It just gives it a bit of shimmer. Very subtle; and it doesn’t show up in the pics.

I have a really nice white feather boa that I think I’ll use for the next pair of wings. They’ll have to be smaller, and I’m not sure just yet HOW I’ll attach the boa to the wing backing. I don’t think I want to use hot glue because it will flatten out the feathers too much. (and this boa is VERY fluffy) So, I may have to punch holes in the wings and TIE the boa on.

Also want to do some wings with vintage sheet music.

What else could I use for angel wings? Maybe those glittery ‘snow blankets you buy to put the little villages on? Cut out feather shapes???? More work than the just gluing on the rose petals, but it would be SO cool to have a whole collection of angel wings hanging on the walls of our antique booth space!

Don’t forget to please CLICK HERE to vote for me in the Handmade Holidays contest. Just clicking on the link will give me a vote. No need to do anything else.