Pop up wings for Private Willis in 'Iolanthe'

In one production the director wanted Private Willis to be on stage continuously for the entire 'transfomation' scene so there was no way his wings could be added by doing a quick change off stage.  I designed a set of "pop up" wings that were hidden under the actor's costume which could be activated on cue.

The wings are fastened to a wooden baseplate with pivots at the bottom corners were pinned to the actor's back and covered with a fabric piece that matched the jacket or cape.  The edges were loosely folded in, and around the wings which were hanging down.  This makes a sort  of inverted box pleat around the wings. When the ribbon is pulled, the wings raise and pop out from under the covering fabric.  If the ribbon is passed under a belt or something similar there will probably be enough friction to keep them up. Otherwise you will have to provide an anchor of some sort for the end of the ribbon.

You can click on the pictures for a larger image. 

Image of wings in open position Image of wings in hidden position

Photo of baseplate and wings This is a picture of the mounting plate for the wings. The wings were made by making a frame using narrow electrical fish tape, (a form of spring steel about 1/16 thick and 1/8 wide) covered with white glame'. The covering was hot glued to the frame with low temperature glue anchoring the folded over edge. The ends of the wire, near the baseplate, and the pivot loop were brazed for strength and to ensure there were no sharp ends of wire exposed. 

For more information or kudos contact the designer, Ron Dallas



In this same production, I made wings for the fairies using a frame of #18 (I think) steel wire from the hardware store. The frame had a rectangular center section between the wings about 3" wide and 4" high. I brazed the various joints in the frame so there was no problem of it coming apart or having sharp points. The cover, of a glame' fabric called "snailspit" (perfect for fairies), was attached using low temperature hot glue to hold the folded over edge down. The tightness of the fabric made the frame quite rigid, yet there was enough flex to make it look interesting as the fairies danced. Two 1/4" elastic shoulder straps, dyed to match the fairy's costume, were attached to the corners of the center frame.
back view of a wing
Back view of wing, flattened to show the shape of the wing
detail of the center of wing
The center of wing, showing the square frame and straps
Click on the pictures for a larger image.

Take a look at some beary interesting pictures of the wings on a body.  Picture 1   Picture 2

For more information or kudos contact the designer, Ron Dallas.