Introduction: Mini Feather Darts

These miniature feather-tailed darts are a lot of fun in a small package. The feathers provide drag, making them fly slowly, but they stick nearly every time and don't leave noticeable marks. They're great for small spaces.

I bought a couple of colors of ostrich feather fringe tape, but if I had it to do over again I'd just buy colored ostrich feathers. The smaller ones are pretty inexpensive and come in a variety of colors.

The dart part is just an aluminum pushpin, they have enough weight to give the dart some distance (like maybe ten feet), try to get the largest size available. The pushpins I'm using here are only 3/8-inch size; they still fly pretty well and stick most of the time. In the past I've had good success using the 1/2-inch pushpins, and I see that they are available in a 5/8-inch size, which would probably work even better. Go ahead and buy the hundred pack because a lot of them are crooked.

I had several rolls of quarter-inch wide colored masking tape (like this) left over from another project. But you can use transparent tape, or what have you.


Aluminum push pins

Ostrich feathers or ostrich fringe tape

Tape, any kind (you only need about 4-inches for each dart).

Step 1: Make Feather Tape

You can buy feather fringe material, that has "strands" of feather, called barbs, sewn to a strip of satiny cloth tape. You can also use whole feathers (as discussed below). I'm using ostrich feathers, but other types of feathers would also work.

Making the feather tape segments is pretty simple, tear off about a 4-inch long strip of tape, and stick it to the feather (either side), close to the feather shaft. Leave at least a half inch of bare tape at each end for anchoring the feathers to the pushpin. If you have trouble with feathers getting stuck to the tape, you can just stick the whole piece of tape to the feather, adding new bits of tape when you're ready to wrap the feather tape around the pushpin. If you're using pre-sewn feather fringe, just cut off a couple of inches of the fringe, and stick a piece of tape to the satin part. If you feel like the fringe is a little sparse, you can add more wraps to get a good amount of feathers.

The photos show a couple of different methods that I'm using to make the feather tapes, sorry if they're confusing.

Step 2: Attach the Feather Tape to the Pushpins

Attach one end of the tape to the handle of the pushpin (with the feathers trailing away from the point), and roll the feather tape tightly around the handle. Finish with a wrap of the bare tape to hold the feathers in place. You can adjust the amount of feathers and add more tape to your liking.

Test throw your dart to see if it flies correctly. Too many feathers will make the dart fly slower and limit your range. These are a short-range toy, so don't expect to throw them across a bar room.

Step 3: Color It Up and Sport It Out

Use different colored feathers, or use highlighters to dye your feather darts.

If you find that the clump of feather barbs on your darts make it hard to see the target, just snip off some of the tails to keep them looking sporty.

That's it, fun little flyers, but use your head. I don't need to point out that YOU COULD PUT SOMEONE'S EYE OUT, do I?


It's a natural curiosity to see if these things can be propelled through a straw.
If you want to try this, you'll need extra-wide smoothie straws, like the ones they use for "bubble tea." I tried this and I didn't care for it. For one thing, you need to trim the feathers down to about an inch long to get them to fit in the straw. Also, you have to be very precise about how much tape you wrap around the pushpin. Lastly, the feathers get soggy after a few blows, and the moisture causes a lot of drag going through the straw, so they are only good for a handful of shots before you need to get a new straw and dry darts. I prefer the slow, graceful arc of a fully fledged dart, but go ahead and try it if you want.

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