Leather "Eagle" Feather




About: we enjoy working for habitat for humanity.volunteering at our state park.and participating with our leather guild instructing 4H groups, home schoolers,scouts and other young people interested in leather work.

     My husband and I had obtained some neat looking sticks that we  wanted to make into walking sticks.  We both do a little leather work and decided to enhance the sticks with some of our work.  He braided the area where you would grip the stick, which gave a little softer handle.  I had made some feathers before and decided to use those on the stick.

     At the end of the instructable, I will show some different examples of how to embellish the feathers.

Step 1:

     I will be giving some alternative tools that can be used in place of traditional leather tools.  Do your work on a firm surface.

   If clarification is needed, please ask.

     Tool and material list:

     Paper and pattern

     Piece of 3/4 ounce carving leather  (The large feather needs a piece about 3 inches by 12 inches.  The smaller feather needs a piece about 2 1/2 by 7 inches)



     Plastic wrap

     Stylis or ball point pen

     Swivel knife or paring knife (not too sharp as you only want to cut about 1/2 the depth of the leather)

     Beveler or small spoon with smooth and fairly thin side

     Mallet and marble block ( only if using beveler)


     Dremal with sand paper wheel
    Craft paints  Burnt Umber and sand or some other off white paint

     Spray finish, clear either matte or satin


Step 2: Leather "Eagle" Feather

     Draw your pattern  on a piece of paper with the pen.
     Dampen your leather with the sponge.  Do not soak the leather.  Let the leather dry for a short period of time.  The leather will
return to almost its original color.

Step 3: Leather "Eagle" Feather

     Place the plastic wrap on the dampened leather.  Place the pattern on the plastic wrap.  Using either the stylis or the ball point pen,
press firmly as you trace around the pattern.  Also trace the spine of the feather.  This will leave the pattern on the leather.  Remove
the pattern and the plastic wrap.

Step 4: Leather "Eagle" Feather

     Take either the swivel knife or the paring knife and cut around the feather and the spine of the feather.  Do not cut all the way
through the leather.  Cut up to half the depth of the leather.  

Step 5: Leather "Eagle" Feather

     If using the beveler, you will need the marble or stone and the mallet.  You bevel around the feather and the spine of the feather.
To bevel essentially means to press down the leather around your design. to give some diminsion to the design.  This will make it 
easier to cut out.
     If using the spoon edge, you follow the pattern by pushing the spoon around the  pattern.  I found that pushing worked better than
pulling.  Use a firm touch while doing this.  Do this around the spine of the feather too.

Step 6: Leather "Eagle" Feather

     Take the swivel knife or the paring knife and make the striations on the feather.  Start at the spine and go to the edge of the feather.  
Angle the striations slightly upward.  do this on both sides of the spine.


Step 7:

     With the scapel, go under the edge of the feather and cut toward the spine.  Try to go in as deeply as possible.  Do this all the way
around the feather.  You want to cut the feather away from the excess leather.

Step 8:

     After the feather is cut out, you will need to thin the edges of the feather.  I do not skive(thin) leather well, so I use a dremal with a
sanding wheel.  You want to make the edges fairly thin and leave the center and down toward the quill a little thicker.  I do this
outdoors because it is very messy with leather dust flying everywhere.

Step 9:

     On the lower 1/2 inch or so of the feather, take the scapel and cut through the leather about 1/3 to 1/2 the distance from the quill to
the edge of the feather.  Then on the main part of the feather, make 3 to 5 cuts through the leather, with some on each side,again about 1/3 to 1/2 the distance from the edge to the quill.   At this point, you may want to dampen the leather again.  At the bottom cuts, flip the cut edges up.  On the main body cuts, twist and turn them any way that gives some interesting diminsion to the feather.  Wet leather will hold it shape.  Let these dry.  You can speed up this step with a hair dryer.

Step 10: Leather "Eagle" Feather

     After the feather is dry, it is time to paint it, and I paint both sides.   The upper 2/3  is painted the burnt umber and the rest is painted
in whatever off white paint you chose.  I then take a stiff brush and with some of the burnt umber slightly thinned, I flick some brown
spots on the white part of the feather.  
     After the paint dries, the feather is ready for the finish coat.  Take it outdoors or in a well ventilated room and spray with the clear matte or satin finish.   You may the embellish it in any way you like.

Step 11: Leather "Eagle" Feather

     Although this seems like a lot of steps, this is a fairly easy project.  Scrap leather can be found at most  leather craft stores and on
ebay.  Tandy is one of the stores that are found nation wide.  The scraps can be a little expensive, so the best bet is if you can find a
leather worker.  Let me tell you, they always have scraps.
      Please feel free to ask questions or make suggestions.  Also, I am entering this in the up contest and the indestructable contest, any votes would be appreciated.

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15 Discussions


Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

Haha it's alright. I was referring to the feather, also called the marker, from Assassin's Creed. In the game, when a target is assassinated, the player is required to dip the given feather in the targets blood, to mark ending the given mission and as evidence for when the player is asked about the assassination.


Hi, I try to do them, but I used colored leather, because it was all I had... I like I they turned out!
Is really different to work with not colored leather?
Does it keep more the shape?
And can I use regular acrylic on leather or I need some special one?
Do you think I can paint on leather that is already colored? I use to do it but I' m not shure it will hold the paint for really long time...
Thanks, Marcella.

4 replies

Sorry it took a while to get back with you, my sisters and I took off together for a few days. The carving leather has more body or stiffness and definitely will hold the shape better. I paint with acrylic on carving leather and it works fine. I have not worked that much with garment leather. On regular leather I spray an acrylic finish to protect it. I think you could paint on the leather you are using, you could try. I would put the spray finish over the paint. I think that the ones you made are pretty good for the type of leather and definitely gives your feather more texture.

Thanks a lot the help.
I want to find some scraps of carving leather than.
And do you have any suggestion for a good leather working book? (May be one that show like you did how to work it with regular tools?)

A good basic instruction book is Lucky Seven put out by Tandy Compaany. It gives you the 7 basic tools and how to use them. I did a quick check on e-bay and looked under leather instruction books. There were a couple of that book and some other instructional books. You can do almost all work that you would want to do with those 7 basic tools. Hope this helps.


It look really cool! Thanks for posting this detailed instructables.
I think I need one of those weird knife you have...

2 replies

thank you. The weird knife is called a swivel knife. They are sold at Tandy Leather store and other leather stores where leather craft is handled. I was trying to show leather tools and regular, everyday items that could be used.


I think you should use the 3 feathers photo like your main photo because they look too cool!