This is often the first project I do with my craft club. It seems very simple, but to make a dragonfly, requires quite a lot of skills: careful cutting, threading, twisting, winding, measuring, tying knots. I found it a really good way to assess the skills of the children. (My knitted dragonfly pattern came out of this project.) I also like this project, because everyone has something to take home at the end. That is really important when you are little.
So first of all this is what you need:
|Some beads that will thread on to a pipecleaner|
|Dragonfly wings printed on acetate or paper|
|Scissors and elastic thread (optional|
|Selection of wool|
The first job is to cut out your dragonfly's wings. This needs to be done really carefully. Cut between the upper and lower wings, but it really important to not cut through the central section that holds the 4 wings together. Print a few extra wings, just in case you need them.
Next take a pipe cleaner and fold it in half.
Thread two beads onto the pipe cleaner, and push these down to the fold. These are your dragonfly's eyes. We picked beads that were the same, but I guess you don't have to. My daughter later decided to draw on her beads with a permanent felt tip, but that was just her own idea.
Then twist the pipe cleaners round a few times to hold the eyes in place. This step may seem very simple to a grown-up, but you may need to show a child exactly how to hold the head firmly in one hand and twist with the other.
Now you have made the head.
Next slip the wings between each side of the pipe cleaners. Make sure you have them the right way round.
Now you have your basic dragonfly, but he looks a bit thin. The next stage I call chubbying him out. Cut off a length of wool, and tie one end to your dragonfly. Now you need to do the winding. Winding around the wings can be a bit tricky. The great thing is nothing at this stage is wrong. Dragonflies come in a huge variety of colours. It does not matter if he ends up fat or thin. You might want to thread some extra beads onto your dragonfly's body.
One way to join in another colour is to knot your wool together.
If you are clever you can wind two pieces of wool at the same time.
You may need to help a child with fastening off the wool, as this is a bit tricky.
With little children you may also need to help them fix the elastic to their dragonfly. I have a really big blunt needle, which some children could manage. Try to find the balance point, which will vary a bit depending on the beads you have used, and the wool. If you haven't got elastic you can use piece of wool to hang up your dragonflies.
What is lovely is that no two dragonflies will look the same.
We decided to tie our dragonflies around the garden umbrella, and my cat was definitely interested in them.
To download the dragonfly wings right click on the image below. I tried to put in a button that you just click and it downloads but in my usual technaphobe way, I had a bit of trouble with this. If anyone knows an easy way to do this I would love to know. The other place you can get the wings is on my dragonfly knitting pattern on ravelry.
The wings should be an A4 sheet and approx 14cm wide. If you decide to print them on acetate be very careful to check you have the right type for your printer or photocopier. Printing them onto paper or thin card can work well too.