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Wings - Step-by-Step FlyTying Process of Bill Blackstone​

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Check out the Step-by-Step instruction page to learn or just get some new ideas.

Welcome to the world of "Realistic Fly Tying" by Bill Blackstone

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Winging It

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.

Here are some examples of my efforts to create various wing types:

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Creative Realism Realistic Fly Tying

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