In exchange for a discount on ballet lessons, I used my fledgling skills to help make costumes. I've been wanting to make wings, so when the instructor told me they needed fairy costumes I was so excited. I didn't even have to buy the supplies!
The two biggest mistakes I learned from: 1. Make sure you don't buy the knee-highs with reinforced toes! They didn't show up much from the stage, but they would've been much better without. ***2. Don't make each wing separately!*** When you assemble them they will swivel individually and just not work. I ended up taking them apart and twisting the wires together, which wasted hours. Instead, just do the wire for all four wings in the set in one long, zig-zag piece. It'll spring apart and drive you crazy until you get the hose over it and all wrapped together, but it's much better that way.
I got to make eight sets and they're each a little different. To color them, first I drew lines/swirls/veins on them with Sharpie permanent markers, then sprayed the lines with rubbing alcohol. The alcohol grabs the color and spreads it. Once that was dry, I sprayed them with egg dye that I bought on clearance after Easter. I couldn't resist hanging them out on the clothesline to dry!
Then I fancied them up with glitter and gems. Around the bar in the middle of the wings is a tab of grosgrain ribbon. That gets pinned to the dancer's leotard, with a big flower to hide it. It worked out pretty well.
Here's my favorite pair.