Making a quill from a feather is not very hard, doesn't require a lot of tools, and can be a lot of fun. My first attempt wrote fairly well, and my third or forth was quite nice. Disclaimer: I am not an expert, there are other ways, probably even better ways, to make a quill than this. However this works for me and you might find it helpful.

Here's what you'll need:

A soup can
Some fine sand
A very sharp knife with a small blade
Some feathers
Calligraphy Ink

You can get everything you need but the soup can at most craft stores. I went to Micheal's Art's and Crafts and got the feathers, sand and hobby knife for a few bucks.

For the knife I used an Xacto hobby knife. Calligraphers use all different sorts of knives as their pen knives but the main requirement is that it be fairly short and VERY sharp.

Feathers. Most hobby stores sell turkey feathers. I got mine in a four pack for 2 dollars. You want them to be long, and check that the tips aren't crushed. Sometimes they are dyed different colors, this is fine.

I found pouches of fine sand at the craft store as well, I think they are for miniatures.

Step 1: Preparing the Feather

At this step you need to decide what you want your quill to look like.

Historically, writing quills had some or all of the barbs removed from the shaft. A fully barbed quill is really a Hollywood invention. For practical reasons most quills had all of the barbs removed and the skinny end of the shaft cut off. This left something about the size of a modern writing pen that sat well in the hand. Some people used quills that used the whole shaft of the feather but retained the barbs on the end. This was really a matter of preference. I like to make this style, as I like how they look.

First you want to use your knife to shave off all of the barbs you don't want. You'll want to remove at least enough so that you can comfortably hold the quill without the barbs getting in your way. If you are making a barbless quill then just cut them all off and chop of the excess shaft.

Next, use the back of your knife or your fingernail to scrape all of the extra scale off the end of the quill that will become the tip. You want this to be smooth and even.

Now cut off the very tip of the quill, just the solid round end. Then use a long thin pokey thing (like a straightened paper clip) to clean out all of the dried membrane material from inside the shaft.

<p>Hi Does the size of the feather matter??? :D</p>
<p>The length doesn't matter much, but the shaft needs to be thick enough that it can hold some ink and easily be trimmed. Most goose or turkey feathers are fine for this. Song bird feathers tend to be too small. Raven wing feathers were a traditional favorite.</p>
<p>PS love the sword quote in the last pic!?</p>
<p>Thanks for your great instructable, I have been collecting crow (cousin to the raven), Kookaburra &amp; other feathers from the grounds where I work. I have been looking for a project to use them creatively. I literally just thought I'd make a quill with a couple of them, Googled the net &amp; found your awesome instructable ?. A couple of these will make my day when I am doing my calligraphy projects as the added authentic twist. I am off now to get the soup can &amp; sand (I have everything else ). Thanks again for your great instructable ?.</p>
<p>this is awesome! Hey, could I use any kind of feather?</p>
Thanks man! Super sweet instructions. Did mine on a sulphur crested cockatoo flight feather
<p>can i use pen ink</p>
Yeah, any ink should work. The easiest way to handle it is to get a bottle of calligraphy ink from a craft store, it's common and pretty cheap.
<p>can i use a pen ink</p>
hello there everyone i am new here
whats your point? hehe, get it? Point? Because its a pen? Huh? HUH?!
Da dun...ch!
i've been wondering how to do this for years! thank you so much!<br>
but i dont know where to get a feather can i use a chicken<br /> feather? please! help! I BEG YOU!<br /> <br />
yes you can use chichen feathers. you can find any feather at any craft stores or by the river or park.
you can find any bird feathers&nbsp; by going for walks in the park or by the river. look by the river i found many by the river. or if you like to go hunting you can take some off of your bird.
Most arts &amp; craft stores carry feathers. Sometimes that are dyed different colors. Generally they are turkey feathers and work quite well for this.<br />
How do I make the ink though? :)
get a art charcoal,rubbing alcohol,fine sand paper,stick,bowl and get the charcoal rub it to the sand paper and put the powder in the bowl and after that put alcohol in it and mix it with the stick and your DONE!<br /> <br />
you can get calligraphy ink at any craft or stationary store.<br />
coolllllllllllllllllllllllllllll!!!!!<br />
cool instructable i think im gonna try it!! but i dont really get how to make the tip so...i guess i have to work that out lol
Just in time to write your letter to Santa!<br /> <br /> Nice job.<br />
Santas all out of Drill presses this year !&nbsp;<br />
Great, I shall go looking...<br /> <br /> L<br />

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Bio: Question: Who is this D10D3 guy, and what is his deal? Answer: I'm a Maker, a hardware and software hacker, an artist, and general ... More »
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