Introduction: Personalized Writing Quills With Ballpoint Pens

For my independent bookstore's Harry Potter midnight release party, I wanted something I could give attendees that was really cool, but it needed to be cheap since I'd have to make a ton of them. I decided to go with ballpoint pen quills- they look cool, would be practical during the party for writing on the printable activities, and would still functional when the kids got them home!

I was just going to stick ink barrels into feather shafts and leave it at that, but my feather shafts were too short and it looked stupid. I did not want to cut the ink barrels in fear of leaky ink, either. So I came up with this alternate method on the fly. I really like how it turned out!

Step 1: Purchase Your Supplies

What I used were:

Turkey quills from Hobby Lobby- $2.99 for a package of 10

Cheap black pens from Dollar Tree - $1 for 10

White florist tape, available in most floral sections (Walmart/Hobby Lobby/Michaels). I paid $10 for 3 rolls, and used 1 1/2 rolls making about 50 pens. (They also make black florist tape, in case you are making black feather quills.)

A little hot glue, for tacking down the end of the florist tape

(Optional) colorful washi tape or duct tape, to personalize the pens. Prices vary, and frankly this was the most expensive part of the project since I wanted a variety available for people to choose from.

Step 2: Assemble the Pens

Disassemble the pens. I found that using a pair of pliers helped. All you'll need is the ink barrel- recycle the rest.

You'll need to clip the tip of the turkey feather shaft off, so that the ink barrel will fit inside.

Slide the ink barrel inside the feather shaft, as far as it will go. Which in my case meant there was a long bit of ink barrel still poking out, which is why I came up with the next bit- disguising the assembly with white florist tape.

Florist Tape is kind of funny. It doesn't have a sticky side and a non-sticky side, like most other kinds of tape. The whole thing is slightly tacky, and when you stretch it around an object it just mostly stays put. You might go research using florist tape on YouTube, but basically you just need to stretch it and wrap it around the feather shaft and the ink barrel to make it all look seamless and less like a pen stuck into a feather. ;) I started up above where the two joined, wrapped down to the tip of the pen, and then back up again to where I started. (The pictures here show me wrapping a black feather, so the color contrast could better show you what's going on.) You could also do another couple layers up and down to get the pen a little thicker if you wanted. I was trying to stretch my supplies, so my quills are admittedly a little on the skinny side.

When I got finished wrapping, the end of the florist tape kept popping off. I used a little hot glue to stick it down better. (So as not to leave glue lumps, after applying the glue I rolled it around on my gluing tile.)

The white feathers looked great like this - the black feathers, not so much. I knew I was going to have to hide the white florist tape with something. Electrical tape? Duct tape? That's when I thought of using washi tape. (Note- after the fact I discovered they make black florist's tape, making washi tape unneeded for the black feathers. But's it's still cool!)

Step 3: Decorate- Show Your House Pride!

Washi tape is a paper crafting item, usually found near the scrapbooking area if a craft store. I got mine at Michael's. Washi tape is like teeny rolls of masking tape that has been printed with cute colors and designs. Prices vary. I spent over $30 on my assortment, but I got at least a dozen different rolls.

I decided I wanted tapes that matched Hogwarts house colors - red, blue, yellow, and green. I also needed black for disguising the black quills better. Then I grabbed some sparkly silvers and golds for good measure.

Starting at the top of the quill, I wrapped the taped down the shaft in a spiral. Neither end wanted to stick to the florist tape, so I also glued down the ends with a wee dab of hot glue.

The black quills I also added a layer of black washi tape- the one with the silver writing on it. Once you wrapped the tape in an overlapping way, you couldn't even tell that the silver bits were lettering and not just a design!

Et voila! Quills that the kids could tell apart from each other, that also displayed their Hogwarts house colors. They were a big hit at the party!

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