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Making Faux Feathers for Costumes and Props

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Picture of Making Faux Feathers for Costumes and Props
I had two or three projects on the drawing board that required feathers. Mostly large black flight feathers.
After nearly a year trying to find the size I needed in the colour I needed and at the price I wanted to pay - I was ready to give up.

Then a rather ingenious art teacher friend of mine, Carrie Hoyle, showed me a basic technique for making paper feathers. I've refined her technique a little to add some extra robustness and realism. This technique can be adapted to make a variety of feather types, but it allows you to make feathers up to about 20" or 40cms long for costumes and props.

They look reasonably convincing from anything over about 3ft or 1 meter away.
 
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
To make these the most important material is the paper or card. Normal everyday paper is too thin, cereal carton card is too thick.

In the UK and Europe you are looking for a paper or card with a weight of between 120 gsm and 160 gsm. I am not sure what this equates to in the U.S. or other countries.

You will need a ruler and a pencil or pen.
You will also need some thicker card to cut the templates from. Cereal carton card is ideal for this.

You will need some sharp scissors and (or) a sharp craft knife or scalpel.
You will need a pack of those thin bamboo kebab skewers (available at most large supermarkets).

A 'hot glue' gun and glue sticks. Possibly some paint or make up powders for colour.

Step 2: Making the templates

Picture of Making the templates
Using your pencil or pen, mark out the shape(s) of the feather(s) you want to create on the cereal card.

Using your scissors or scalpel, carefully cut out the template(s). You can now use these to draw around on your feather paper ensuring that you can get repeatable feather shapes for you project.

here are the first 5 templates I made to give you an idea.
karensews4 months ago
fab , I am decorating a Steampunk hat and Im vegan, thanks!
rmgb4 months ago
If I remember, 120-160gsm is 80-110 weight stock in North America. I'll double check!
marcellahella4 months ago
Really cool looking!
boatingman4 months ago
They look fantastic but, wow, what a LOT of work. I think if I need feathers, my neighbors chickens are going to be naked. Great job. I really like what you did here. I saved it to favorites.
mole14 months ago
Totally amazing! Thanks for posting this!
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