I recently saw some gorgeous handmade feathers on Pinterest and decided I HAD to learn how to make them! It was time to change out my 4 Season Wreath, and feathers were my big idea for fall.
I learned from this excellent tutorial at Infarrantly Creative, but also came up with some additional ideas during the creative process that added to the ease of this exciting craft! I am thrilled to share!
Here are the main items you'll need:
- Pipe Cleaners (in colors that correspond to your yarn); Mine are 12 inches long.
- Glue stick (the kind used in school--not hot glue)
- Yarn, embroidery thread, baker's twine, or other thin, flexible string
- Liquid Starch (I found mine at my grocery store in the laundry detergent aisle--cost $3-$4)
- Good scissors
- Craft paint (optional)
- Not pictured: Shallow tray for soaking (I used a disposable lasagne pan lid), Cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil/ gallon zipper bags
1. Take a pipe cleaner in a color corresponding to the yarn you are using. Coat one end and a couple inches of it with the glue stick. I used some scrap paper under me to protect my workspace from stickiness.
2. Beginning at the glue end, wrap yarn tightly and closely around the pipe cleaner. When you get past the glued area, add a few more inches of glue, and continue wrapping.
3. Once the pipe cleaner is all wrapped in yarn, cut off the end, and add a dab of glue to hold the tail in place. Set this aside.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 to get 60-80 pieces of yarn the same length.
7. Now take the covered pipe cleaner and secure the end of it that doesn't have tail (the end you began covering) with something heavy (I used a weight). Beginning at the other end, tie a single knot around the pipe cleaner, placing the knot in the middle of the piece of thread. Repeat this with the rest of the yarn, tying each knot right under the preceding one.
8. I wanted long feathers, so I only left about 3 inches of stem. I was pleasantly surprised how quickly the tying went. Each feather only took about 15 minutes to tie.
Here are my three incomplete feathers for this project. The white one is made with baker's twine. The other two are acrylic yarn.
9. Pour some liquid starch in a flat, shallow container. Set each feather in the liquid one at at time, pressing down to make sure all the yarn is immersed. Remove from liquid and gently squeeze excess (but don't wring out). Once you have soaked each feather, pour leftover starch back into the bottle to save for future use. You can clean up the soaking container in your kitchen sink with warm soapy water.
10. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil or heavy, smooth plastic (I used zipper storage bags, but will use aluminum foil next time). Form the feathers into the shapes you desire. Be particular here because once the dry, they can't be re-shaped without re-soaking them.
11. Place the cookie sheet in a warm (170 degree F) oven. Don't go hotter this (you don't want to melt the acrylic thread or plastic bags). I let mine "cook" for 15 minutes at a time, then turned the oven off and left them in the oven with it off. Drying time will vary--yarn takes longer than twine-- but using the oven is MUCH faster than waiting on the feathers to air-dry. The oven method will take 2-4 hrs. Air drying will take 24-48 hrs.
13. Acrylic craft paint can be added to the feathers. I LOVED this part of the process. I have all kinds of projects swimming around in my head to make feathers and paint them now!
Adding a final coat of acrylic sealer is optional, but will improve the longevity of the feathers, especially if you are using them in an outdoor setting.
I added the feathers to my 4-Season Wreath (tutorial found here). I wanted a new look for fall, and I am LOVING it!