Thursday, May 26, 2016

Quick Craft: Hoggle's Captured Fairy Jar

I just finished another Easter Egg for our Labyrinth Junk Lady cosplay, and thought you guys might dig this one as a craft on its own. 

Now, yes, on the outside it looks totally creepy/ugly/scary:


Watch this:

It's a captured fairy!

Sure, fairies in the Labyrinth are pests, and Hoggle delights in spraying them, but I figure maybe he captured a baby one for Sarah. Or he just likes tormenting them. Whatever. The point is, I really just wanted to make a fairy jar.

Labyrinth fairy. The full grown ones fit in the palm of Sarah's hand, so I figure my jar specimen is approximately baby-sized.

Plus your fairy jar doesn't have to be nearly as grungy mine. 

So let's make one!

This quick craft is really more of a quick mod, since you'll need one of those "animated butterfly jars" that were all the rage at Cracker Barrel last year:

The life-like motion on these things is INSANE, as you just saw in my video. And since you can only see the hair-thin wire operating it against a bright white backdrop, it really does seem to operate on magic.

You'll also need some rough twine or rope for the bottle netting, a little craft paint, spray adhesive, and holographic cellophane. (My film came on a roll like wrapping paper, but I've also seen tissue-like sheets in the greeting card aisle.)

I knew from the beginning I wanted to mod one of these butterfly jars, but I balked at the $20+ price tag. So imagine my squealish delight when I found a used one on one of our MANY thrift store runs for $1.50. A BUCK FIFTY, Y'ALL. Woot woot! So thrifters, look closely at those mason jars from now on!

Before we turn those butterfly wings into fairy wings, let's give the jar a makeover:

First I used rough twine to tie a net around the bottle. Never done this before? Neither had I. But here's an easy tutorial for it:

Now I want to net ALL THE THINGS.
(You can also do this with wire on tiny bottles for jewelry!)

Since my twine was thin, I braided a long section to form the handle:

I then aged both the glass and the twine with watered-down craft paint in shades of tan, brown, and black.

Next I spray-painted the lid bronze, let it dry, then had John add a dusting of silver spray paint and sand the edges slightly. The result is a perfect aged aluminum finish:

I also used card stock to make a quick tag, doused it with watered down craft paint, ripped it up a bit, and glued it in place.

Now, to turn your butterfly into a fairy, unscrew the jar lid and pry out that plastic assembly on top. You'll find the butterfly inside is attached with a long, thin wire.

 (Taken after we replaced the wings - sorry!) 

From here it's a matter of peeling off the clear tape holding one of the butterfly wings in place and replacing it with your own. Do this one wing at a time, and try to replace the tape in roughly the same position on the new wing.

To make those new fairy wings, fold over a sheet of holographic film four times, using a quick blast of spray adhesive between each fold to hold it all in place. Those four folds will give you a film that's 16 sheets thick, which is just the right thickness: still flexible, but stiff enough to hold its shape.

 See the tape? That little wire point twists, which is what makes it flap around like crazy.

Feel free to experiment with wing shapes for your fairy. John liked this tri-point number, but as long as it's relatively the same size as the original wings, almost anything should work.

 I'll wrap up with another video, this time with my phone oriented the right way:

(Now if only I could fit a tiny white wig on my fairy...)

Hope this inspires some fairy fun crafts out there! Happy weekend, guys!



  1. TOO COOL. What about the fuzz from a cotton ball or q tip for the little fairy's hair?

  2. I love this more than I can even say. Brilliant!

  3. You just made my day! SO PRETTY. Now I want to have a whole shelf of fairy jars!

  4. .... That is EERILY lifelike. I was honestly wondering for a minute if you'd actually trapped a butterfly in there - especially when you tapped the glass to get it moving again. *shiver*

  5. If you can't find one in a thrift store, they are still on Amazon although for a hefty price tag

  6. Fantastic!!! You guys never cease to amaze me! And thank you so much for doing the wonderful tutorial for all of us! Have a wonderful time at Megacon!

  7. whaaaaaaaaaa? I hadn't seen butterfly in a jar before, so I was so much more amazed at the video before you explained. Still super impressive.

  8. So jealous! You out craft everyone I've ever known!

  9. NERD ALERT!!! So, of course the second you said "mod," my first thought was "how hard can it be to make a butterfly in a jar?" Because I think that way. (BTW, this whole project is incredible, and that's speaking as someone who was briefly in the industry)

    Anyway, just for kicks: which led me to learn about which I can TOTALLY see all kinds of cool uses for! (FWIW, most animated parts of puppets use - well, depending on your puppet ideology - either a mechanism using a spring, or a mechanism using flexible medical tubing.) You could build the same exact mechanism as old-fashioned marionette open-shut eyeballs (or even better, up-down eyebrows) and make them electronic using this stuff! Squee!

  10. This is great--the whole costume and build. But you need to poke some holes in that lid so your fairy can breathe.

  11. one of the things i enjoy most about epot and you guys is the reminder to look at things a little differently... life is so much more interesting than i notice most of the time, and the child like wonder (compliment, i promise) which you two have, helps remind me to look around and enjoy things... also, i think the junk lady cosplay is the greatest!

  12. Now I want to make a Cornish pixie in a jar...
    Sorry for yelling, but it really is adorable and a little Cornish pixie would be a fantastic add for my Hufflepuff student cosplay that I've been doing for over a decade, I wanted to spruce it up for Fantastic Beasts somehow...

  13. If you still want a wig, I wonder if you could adhere a few pieces of the really fluffy part of a feather?

  14. I got my butterfly in a jar (a few years ago) at Big Lots for just under $10.00 (WORTH IT!)
    Not sure if they still carry them though.
    Everyone always asks me if it's real.

    Now I'll have to have a serious debate with myself about modifying it into a fairy... Hmm...

    --Piper P from Washington State

    1. I've seen them at big lots recently though I can't tell you the price.

  15. OHMYGOSH that is the COOLEST thing ever!!!!

  16. I saw your junk lady costume at Zmegacon and was blown away by it. Great work!


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