Step-By-Step Wings Instruction

I am nuts about  wings. It has been one of my biggest concerns in tying. I have tried  about every material out there. I have also personally gone to plastic  sheeting manufacturers, packaging distributors and even plastic molders  looking for the answers.

 When I do my wings I scribe or etch  them to hopefully put in the correct veining, followed by permanent  markers and stains for accents. I'm ashamed actually at how much time  and effort I have put into winging. In the long run, fish don't seem to  care, because I used what I thought were really poor results and still  got excellent fishing results.

 When doing wings, I strive to  include folds and texture to create that fanlike appearance that many  insects project. Let me share with you some of my findings you just may  wish to experiment with. I tie a down wing Mayfly Spinner that has a  very ordinary clear vinyl wing tied out of a 6 mm clear polyvinyl  material that we commonly throwaway.

 Like all your tying  activities, there is a learning curve here also. You will discover  quickly what you can and can't do. What thickness works best for you.  What clarity you need. And how best to present it. Just keep working at  it. Trial and error will be your best teacher. Work only on wings. You  will surprise yourself quickly. Experiment on your coloring. Try  coloring only the leading edge of the cut out. Try putting on the color  and washing it off or thinning it out with a colorless blender. See what  happens when the color stays in the etch marks only and leaves the  surface clear. Just work at it! I think you will like what you see.

#1  and #2  The wing is a cut out of the polyvinyl material and is doubled  or folded. It's an outline, and it's tied in and dubbed in, in one  process at the thorax.

#3  The wing is then scored or etched. I  use a carpet needle epoxyed into a dowell which makes the tool easier to  use. The is creative as you wish in your scribing. I work both sides of  the surface to prevent the material from becoming distorted, or  changing shape. It will want to roll up on you.

#4  Although this stage will look pretty good to you, it still lacks that life like fan look of the natural wing.

#5  It needs folding to give that fan look or fold reflection look, and it simply done with the burnishing tool.

#6   The burnishing  tool is made out of a polished crochet hook, epoxyed  into a would handle for easier holding. Now, on each side I press a fold  on each side of the wing laying it flat on a matt board surface. I can  cut this wing out, score the lines, burnish the wings surface and tie it  in as quick as I could select quill or feather wings, and this is all  done using a material you throw away every day.