To begin, let me preface this by stating a few things to clear up some confusion that may happen.
1-I am not a hair-dresser of any sort and know hardly anything about how feathers and crimp beads can affect your hair. I simply know about feathers and their specific properties.
2- People will wonder why I am telling people how to get this good of results when feathers are in such high demand in the hair industry. Why don't I just keep this to myself and let people buy them from me exclusively? My answer? The feathers themselves are in high demand, if you have suitable feathers, I want to help you get the most out of them. I have built up a large supply of feathers from fly-tying and do sell locally, but overall, I want to spread the DIY spirit to everyone and SHOW you how to do it rather than sell the product.
3- There are several factors in the feather dyeing process and if you don't get very good results, it may not be the method, but rather, the materials. Leave a comment and I can help you troubleshoot the problem.
This Instructable will show you how to dye feathers for feather hair extensions like a professional. The results I get from this process are very good, and I expect the same for you. This is the easiest method I have used to get vibrant colors to permanently stay in the feather. See the picture for a poorly photographed example of the colors I get by dyeing the feathers this way.
Dyeing the feathers this way, they can still be washed, curled, straightened, and remain durable.
The required materials are minimal, but, care must be taken to do the steps correctly.
Any confusion you have at this point will be cleared up in the following steps. A few key points are bolded for ease of finding them. Not all of them are, but, most of them.
Shall we begin?
Step 1: Choosing the right feathers
In order to get a perfect color, you must start with the perfect feather. See my pictures for suitable feather choices.
Personally, I use three criteria to pick out feathers for dyeing and selling. They are:
1-Use--Do you want long slender feathers or shorter, more visible "bang" feathers?
2-Comaptibility--Will these feathers work with this process? Oily feathers will need extra steps. How much time do you want to spend?
3-Appearance--Is the feather naturally undyed and free from visual defects? One has to remember that feathers come from an animal and like the stripes on a Zebra, everyone is different. If you are using a barred grizzly pattern, is it consistent?
I almost exclusively dye Natural Grizzly feathers. This is not a brand, but the term used in the fly tying community to denote that the feather is barred, typically black and white, that NATURALLY occurs on the feather. If you looked at the bird they came from, they would look the same. Only previously undyed feathers will yield optimal results. Also, the lighter and more neutral the feather color is, the better it will dye. For example, white and black grizzly means that the white bars (as seen in the picture) will take the color, and the black bars will remain black. This will be true regardless of the final color. I find that pattern to be the most desired of colors I show people. Also, light brown feathers will take a color but, standard color blending/combination rules apply.
I absolutely do not recommend craft store feathers. These are sub par quality and have almost always been previously dyed. I would use only high quality feathers marketed for fly tyers and fishermen, not art projects.
Once you have picked your feathers (making sure they have been removed from the cape or saddle skin patch if they came like that, it is time to prep the other materials needed.