Feather Accessories for Photoshoots/Costumes




I first began designing masks in 2006 when I was cast in "Amadeus".  We were required to provide our own wigs, makeup, costumes and help build the set.  It was a very stressful time.

Just recently, I designed some extremely cheap accessories to use in a photoshoot with the lovely model Karen Paulec.  (The other accessories are not shown within few posted because my laptop was killed.  I hope to revive it soon so I can get the other pictures!!!)  I really would love to share my techniques on accessory creation for the untalented.  I use cheap and on-sale items, and I'm sure that many of you will understand the construction immediately, because it's very simple and straight forward.

Accessories in this Instructable include Hair Comb, Fan and Mask, all decorated with feathers and natural flourishes.

If you are in need of accessories for your bridesmaids, or maybe fun center pieces, this might be a fun Instructable to check out for your wedding needs.  I can guarantee you that I haven't personally seen a wedding with hand made feather accessories, could be something fun to try!


Step 1: Decorative Hair Comb: Equipment


1 Package of Small Green Feathers (Hobby Lobby)
1 Package of Small Brown Feathers (Hobby Lobby)
1 Feather Wreath of Long Green Feathers (On Sale at Joann Fabrics & Crafts)
1 Floral Decoration Stick w/ Purple Feathers (On Sale at Joann Fabrics & Crafts)
1 Package of Assorted Pearl Beads Small to Large (On Sale at Joann Fabrics & Crafts)

Equipment and Construction:

1 Discarded Belt (Brother's Belt from Old Navy)
1 Unadorned Metal Hair Comb (Joann Fabrics & Crafts)
Needle and Thread (I used Quilter's Thread in Forest Green)
Hot Glue Gun and Additional Sticks
Scissors (Or Teeth if you're that awesome)

Step 2: Decorative Hair Comb: Construction

1.  A base is needed for a decorative hair comb.  Cut off the end of a discarded Belt for a sturdy base or find some other item around the house to use.  Old shoulder pads (for women) could make great larger bases or even a folded over piece of scrap fabric.  The base will help determine the sturdiness of your Hair Accessory, if you do not need a gravity defying base, then go for the scrap of fabric!

2.  Hot Glue the Belt to the Hair Comb.  It will most likely fall off.  I will come back to this.

3.  Starting at the top of the belt (the area that you will eventually want to be the end), begin gluing rows of the Small Feathers.  I switched between Brown and Green.  This will be the base layer of the Hair Piece.  It does not need to be pretty, but should cover whatever you chose for your sturdy base piece.

4.  To start your next row, overlap your feathers by covering the base of one feather with the tip of the next row of feathers.  When you start at the Top, you will have a smoother overlap of feathers.  [If you are confused, cover the Shaft of the Feather with the tip of the Vane.  Trimming may be required.]  (See Ugly Example Picture)

5.  Continue Burning your fingers down the bottom, I mean, Hot Gluing carefully.

6.  Next, select your longer accent feathers.  If you see the next example photograph, you will notice that there is a very large size difference (there is a small brown feather I placed on top of the accent to show the size difference).  These were taken from an ugly feather Wreath that was on sale probably for its ugliness.  What I really love is once the tape and wire is removed from the feather base, you get really fuzzy and fun feathers with delicate tips.

7.  The Longer Accent Feathers should define the shape of your Hair Piece.  In the ugly sketch, I did a rough sketch of the shape of the hair piece.  I tapered the accent feathers towards the bottom and positioned them wider at the top.  Like before, you will need to start at the Top and work your way down.

8.  Finally, sew or glue your large accent on.  In the first Step, you can see that I chose a Brown and Purple Accent that I ripped off of a stick used in floral arrangements.

9.  Using a Forest Green Thread, or color-coordinated thread, sew your hair piece firmly to the Base.  I did this by creating a zig-zag pattern along the base, and then I sewed the larger clumps of feathers in.  You can see the thread along the edges of the base.  If you have enough feathers, your thread should be concealed.

10. Finally, glue on Accent Pearls!

Step 3: Decorative Hair Comb: Tips

1.  Overlap your feathers.  Exposing the base could result in some ugly photographs and some time consuming photoshopping.

2.  Are your feathers too curved?  Try bending them backwards to break the Shaft.

3.  Having trouble gluing?  Sometimes it's easier to use Glue on the Base, and then Hand place the feathers.  I know, this is like reading Pop-Tart Warning Labels.

4.  Do you know which side of the head your model parts his/her hair?  I use the opposite side of the part in order to get the maximum amount of hair usage.  Hair spray is very useful.  Determining which side you want to use the Hair Piece will determine which direction your Feathers will flow.  If you're doing a crazy bundle of fun, then direction probably isn't needed.

Step 4: Feather Fan: Equipment


1 Package of Small Green Feathers (Hobby Lobby)
1 Package of Small Brown Feathers (Hobby Lobby)
1 Feather Wreath of Long Green Feathers (On Sale at Joann Fabrics & Crafts)
1 Floral Decoration Stick w/ Purple Feathers (On Sale at Joann Fabrics & Crafts)
1 Package of Assorted Pearl Beads Small to Large (On Sale at Joann Fabrics & Crafts)

Equipment and Construction:

1 Paper Plate (Under the Microwave)
1 Thick Grass Stick for Floral Arrangements (Mom's House, she rocks)
Hot Glue Gun and Additional Sticks
Scissors (Or Teeth if you're that awesome)

Step 5: Feather Fan: Construction

Check out that ugly mess below.

1.  Prepare the shape of your fan.  I chose to go with a simple oversized pizza slice shape.  Without bothering to measure (because it was 1 AM and the shoot was at 8 AM), I cut the Paper Plate, messed up, grabbed another plate and did it again.

2.  I again made the mistake of Hot Gluing the Handle, Grass Stick, and it unsurprisingly fell off.  I then grabbed a Stapler and Stapled that Stick into submission.

3.  If you do use a Paper Plate, you will want to determine if you want lip intact.  I decided to use the underside of the Plate with the lip intact to create a more fun shape.

4.  Starting at the Top just like in Step 3 of Hair Comb Construction, begin gluing your base feathers.

5.  When you reach the bottom, you may want to add some more fun feathers.  At the top, I added long feathers to create a more interesting line.

6.  Add the accent the Brown and Purple Accent!  Are you noticing a theme?

7.  Hot Glue the accent Pearls onto the handle for the final touch.

8.  Flap the fan around to make sure that your feathers are glued on nice and firm, then make adjustments accordingly.

Step 6: Feather Fan: Tips

1.  About 1/4 of the way done with the fan, and I was ready to throw a bunch of feathers without caring.  If your flourishes cover up that area...go for it.  Just make sure you have a surface that your accent piece can get glued/binded/sewn to.

2.  I thought about buying a cheap fan and gluing the fathers to that, but I didn't think it would fold up later.  If anyone tries this, please show!!!  And if you are more of a store person versus online, the best place I found to buy cheap fans is at Asian Markets.  You know, the really big stores with about three aisles dedicated to junk?  Those places are awesome.  Try not to mistake the hair sticks for chopsticks.

3.  Other materials that you might consider using include Cardboard (the box kind or that weird board on the back of notepads), Popsicle Sticks (if you want to cut a hole in the bottom and make it freaking awesome), Giant Feathers! (will probably get expensive), Wire + Panty Hose.  Please leave a comment to let others know if you've used something cheap and at home to make a fan!

Step 7: Feather Mask: Equipment


1 Package of Small Green Feathers (Hobby Lobby)
1 Package of Small Brown Feathers (Hobby Lobby)
1 Feather Wreath of Long Green Feathers (On Sale at Joann Fabrics & Crafts)
1 Floral Decoration Stick w/ Purple Feathers (On Sale at Joann Fabrics & Crafts)
1 Package of Assorted Pearl Beads Small to Large (On Sale at Joann Fabrics & Crafts)

Equipment and Construction:

1 Plain Mask
1 Small Can of Spray Paint (Or multiple, it's your mask)
Assorted Skinny Sticks w/ Swirl Ends (Just steal some out of a floral arrangement)
Hot Glue Gun and Additional Sticks
Floral Wire
Floral Tape

Step 8: Feather Mask: Construction

1.  At this point, you should be getting the idea.  We are using the same materials and same methods.  To begin, the Mask should be painted a color that blends in with your color scheme.  I painted my mask a deep green with a textured matte spray paint.  No fancy tricks here.  Just plopped it down on some newspaper and sprayed it evenly, let it dry, the end.

2.  The inside was not painted, I was worried the model would hold the mask to her face (which wasn't our plan) and end up getting paint on her.  If you want to take it a step further, I would suggest covering the inside with a cloth material that will prevent you (or your model) from smearing his/her/your makeup or getting marks, etc...

3.  After the paint dried, I began to glue on the Feathers. (See the second image for feather direction on my mask.)  As I mentioned earlier, the large green feathers were wonderfully fuzzy at the bases, which made covering the mask much easier.

4.  After the feathers, I worked on creating the handle.  To do this, I used several different floral arrangement sticks and bound them together with floral tape that we had lying around the house.  I wanted the end to be delicate, so I flipped the handle upside down to have the swirly ends at the base of the handle.  This was NOT a practical design, but a pretty design for the shoot.

5.  To attach the handle, I used a combination of Hot Glue and Wire.  The mask came with pre-cut holes, so I threaded the wire through the hole, wrapped it around the handle and folded the ends safely under the handle.  Hot Glue was used to hold the handle in place.

6.  Unlike the other pieces, I decided to use two pearls, one at each tear duct.

7.  If you're wondering about how to form the feathers around the eye, see the third image.  After gluing the feathers, I used scissors to remove sharp ends and create more room.  I would not recommend cutting the eye out completely, this often creates a sharp edge that looks bad in photographs.

Step 9: Feather Mask: Tips and Ideas


1.  There is a wonderful instructable on how to create some pretty Masquerade Ball Masks that you should check out if you are not looking to create a mask that is this time consuming.

2.  For the handle, I highly suggest trying out a variety of floral arrangement pieces or decorating a simple dowel rod.

3.  Don't actually steal stuff and try and not burn or cut yourself.  Seriously.

4.  Picking a feather type can be difficult, and ordering large sizes can be expensive.  I almost always choose to do these type of projects on sale days at local craft stores to cut down on shipping and overall price.

5.  Floral arrangements?  Yeah!  Do you know why they are so awesome?  Not only are you buying feathers, but you're buying feathers that are pre-constructed into a pleasing shape, wires/beads/extra feathers and all.  Yes, this may be cheating, but I prefer to not have to buy extra supplies and equipment if I don't need it.


Accentuate the Eyes -
 Try bringing out the eyes if you are creating your mask for a photoshoot.  False eyelashes, beads, ribbon and glitter are all fun things to use to help create a focal point.

Handle - If you are unable to find some sturdy floral pieces, try painting a dowel and wrapping a simple ribbon around it.  For a vintage look, try wrapping it in antiqued lace.  I once used a spray painted coat hanger that I twisted into a spiral shape, attaching it was another matter.

I would love to see your creations, and I really hope that this instructable helps you out with your mask making needs!

Step 10: Warnings

I cannot be held responsible for anything you decide to do, whether or not this Instructable includes specific instructions for whatever stupid thing you may or may not do.

With that confusing thing said:

1.  Don't steal stuff.  It's bad.

2.  Scissors are sharp, they can be dangerous, so be careful.

3.  Hot Glue is hot, hence the name.  Please follow instructions provided with your Hot Glue Gun.

4.  Feathers, pearls and other items mentioned in this tutorial, including the baggies they come in could be potentially harmful, especially to children.  Please exercise caution.



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    10 Discussions

    Thank you! I wish I were talented when it came to DIY like all of the amazing writers on this site, but unfortunately, I am not.

    I feel the same way most of the time. I see a lot of incredible things, but then I end up featured and I feel like I'm a bit closer to those great minds.


    8 years ago on Step 2

    Step #5 Hysterical ... and oh god, so true
    I - -embarrassingly - only discovered hot glue a year ago. And i learned that ... Hot Glue is, ummm HOT! and i think i got a 3rd degree burn right before Burning Man when a few layers of skin on my finger were seared through.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Your first instructable wow! Getting featured with a banner first go around is a feather in your cap! You did a nice job! Rated you also. Thanks for commenting.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    That's really cool!!! I like the feathered theme being carried out through the whole instuctable!!! It's very inspiring!

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you so much!

    The best part about working with feathers, is you usually have tons of left over pieces for touch ups or even extra accessories.

    this is your first instructable its featured and it came out yesterday A++++ i
    have one inscrutable and i only have 28 views and its been out since February

    1 reply