One of my favorite insects must be a dragonfly. Their delicate, paper-thin wings and agile, dart-like bodies fascinate me. Did you know; those little guys can fly up to 30 mph, and they’ve been around for 300 million years? No wonder they symbolize adaptability and self-realization. I love adding them to our décor. Not the live ones, mind you. They need to be free. Handmade ones, like this large wooden bead dragonfly, are fair game though.
From her butt to her head, the dragonfly is 28 cm (11″) long with a wingspan of 30 cm (12″).
In nature, dragonfly wings can be plain, brightly colored, patterned, or striped, depending on the species. So, feel free to get creative when you make yours.
This beaded dragonfly has wired resin and book-page wings. If you prefer, you can adapt this tutorial to make translucent dragonfly wings instead.
Okay, before I show you how to make a large wooden bead dragonfly with book page wings, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram. And don’t forget to subscribe so you’ll never miss a post!
What you need
- 14-gauge rose gold jewellery wire
- White craft paint
- Book pages
- Craft resin or hard varnish
- Dragonfly wing template
- 2 x large round wooden beads
- 5 x small round wooden beads
- 14-gauge rose gold jewelry wire
- 2-part epoxy glue
- Air dry clay
How to make a wooden bead dragonfly
RightyO, to make things easier, I’ve included written instructions and two videos to show you how I made both the wings and the body. You’ll find the videos in the appropriate sections below.
Making the book page resin wings
I’ve never been a big fan of destroying books. Maybe I’m old school, but it always feels like I’m being disrespectful to the author. I prefer using books that have lost their covers or had pages torn out in a previous lifetime. You’ll find inexpensive damaged books in most thrift stores or online. To make the wings, I used two reading book-sized pages. Remove the pages from the book and paint them with watered-down white craft paint.
You still want the words to show slightly through the paint.
Once the paint dries, you can print the wings.
How to print on a book page
On a letter or A4-sized paper, print out the free “dragonfly wings” template. Tape the whitewashed book pages over the wings prints. Ensure the tape doesn’t cover the printed image; otherwise, you’ll print the dragonfly wings on the tape instead of the paper.
Put the book pages through the printer and print the wings again. Some printers print on the back of the paper, so it’s probably a good idea to do a test run first. Cut the printed wings out.
Glue the larger top wing onto the smaller back wing, as shown below.
Adding the wire and resin
Cut a piece of wire and glue it around the outer edge of the larger top wings.
Trim any excess wire with wire cutters.
Repeat with the smaller bottom wing and ensure everything is glued down properly.
You should end up with something like this.
Mix up a small batch of resin or use the instant cure stuff. Gently pour some resin onto the wings and cure.
Keep the resin layer as thin as possible so the wings aren’t too heavy for the wooden bead body. You can protect the wings with a few layers of mod podge or hard varnish if you don’t have resin.
Use a sharp craft knife to trim away any resin overflow and paper.
If anything doesn’t make sense, you can watch the wing-making process below.
Making the dragonfly bead body
The dragonfly body is made with wire and a collection of clay and wood beads:
- 2 x Big wooden beads
- 5 x Small wooden beads
- 3 x Clay tube beads
- 1 x Wing support bead
I have a stockpile of round wooden beads in my craft cupboard, but finding long tube ones in the correct size proved tougher than I thought. Use air-dry clay if you struggle to find the right-sized wooden beads (tube or round).
How to make clay tube beads
To make the tube beads, use the smaller, round wooden beads as a sizing guide and roll the clay into a long worm.
Cut the worm into 2cm (1″) pieces and poke a hole through the center with a toothpick.
Ensure the hole is wide enough to fit two pieces of jewelry wire through before leaving the tubes to cure.
Making the wing support bead
Because the wings are long and a bit heavy with the resin, they need a solid support “bead” to rest on. The support bead is a modified, fat tube bead.
While the clay is still wet, press the wing edge firmly into the tube.
Repeat for the other wing and leave to dry.
Once all the bits are dry, paint the beads in a colour of your choice. I painted the three clay tubes and a wing support bead off-white to match the natural wooden beads.
Assembling the dragonfly
Cut two piecess of 14-gauge wire roughly double the length of all the beads lined up. Wiring up the beads is easier to explain with a quick video.
Finally, glue the book page and resin wings onto the wing support bead. You’ll need a multi-purpose glue that sets quickly.
I used a 2-part epoxy.
And that’s it. You’re done. The large wooden bead dragonfly is a great way to bring these ancient bugs inside and add whimsy to any space.
They can be used to decorate walls, shelves, and even furniture. I attached mine to a piece of wood.
This large one is eye-catching and makes a great statement piece with those wired resin book page wings.
You can experiment with different colors, shapes, and sizes to create a one-of-a-kind dragonfly that reflects your style and creativity. But I’d love to know what you think. Would you add a large dragonfly to your décor?
If you like the idea of making a large wooden bead dragonfly with book page wings, don’t forget to pin it for later.
Sharing is caring
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And if you prefer to buy rather than DIY, these beauties may appeal.
And as always, wishing you a wonderful, crafty week filled with lots of love. Thank you for popping in for a visit.