The feather or quill pen was a commonly used type of writing tool that was used in the middle ages alongside pens made of cane, reed, and metal. Ancient scrolls were used for formal events that may be posted on a castle or church. If you ever wanted to learn how to make either or both then continue reading to find out how.
- a feather
- exacto knife or any other sharp knife
- soap (dawn)
- sand (optional)
- oven safe tin/tray for the sand (also optional)
- ink to use to write with after (I used a calligraphy bottle of ink)
- two 13" dowels
- 4 wooden wheels/end of a wooden spool
- brown wood paint
- 11" by 17" paper
- tea bag
- hot water
- rolling pin
- hot glue
- leather strap/cord
Step 1: Choosing a Feather
When choosing a feather for your feather pen you want to look for preferably a quill from a larger bird because it's bigger so it will be easier to write with and it is also less fragile from breaking. However, I was not able to find a bigger feather so I used a smaller one that I found on the side of the road. If you find one in nature then you definitely want to clean it before you start working with it. You can clean it by gently washing the feather in either Dawn dish soap or Woolite in warm water.
Step 2: Cut Away Any Excess Feathers
Most quills will have some plumulaceous feathers which you will want to just cut away with a sharp knife so that you will have an area to hold the pen.
Step 3: Harden Up the Tip of the Feather
Heat some sand up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and then insert the feather into the sand and leave until the feather is cool. This step is optional but I recommend it because it will help to strengthen the quill so it won't break when you write.
Step 4: Shape the Tip of Your Feather Pen
The first cut I made was following the natural curve in the feather at a 45-degree angle and a second cut that was right next to the the first one about a 5-degree angle. Once you're done that your feather pen is complete. The pen can be sharpened as you please.
Step 5: Make the Wooden Dowels for the Scroll
Take the 13" dowels and glue them into either little wooden wheels or what I used since I didn't have any wooden wheels were wooden spools that I cut so that I could only use the decorative end. I then put the wood glue on the end of the dowel that was going into the decorative end and then stuck it into the decorative end. I did this with the remaining dowels and decorative ends. I then let it sit out to dry overnight.
Step 6: Paint the Wooden Dowels
Take one of your dry wooden dowels and paint all over the dowel with brown wood paint. Let dry. Do this process again with the second wooden dowel.
Step 7: Make the Old Looking Paper
Take your tea bag and a cup of hot water and place the tea bag in the cup of hot water. Let it steep for a couple of minutes. Then take your 11" by 17" paper and then grab the tea bag and rub it across the paper until you reach the desired look that you want. Once it is almost dry flip the paper over and do this on the other side.
Step 8: Prepare the Old Looking Paper for the Scroll
Take the dry tea stained paper and take the rolling pin. Lay the paper down and then roll the paper onto the rolling pin. Leave overnight or until the paper stays in a somewhat rolled position without the rolling pin.
Step 9: Finish the Scroll
The last and final step of this project is taking the old looking paper that you prepared and then taking one of the dowels and with hot glue, glue it onto the top of one end of the paper. Let dry and then do this process on the other side. Roll it up about half way on both sides and then using the leather cord/string tie it in a knot or bow to keep the scroll like that. Your ancient scroll and feather pen is now done!