PAINT DIY: Painted Feathers

June is LGBT month (or non-straight month, as the spectrum is larger than just lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transexual). It's also my birth month. If you aren't familiar with LGBT culture, the flag is a rainbow striped. Each color represents a part of the culture. My color choices are the same as the original flag, which is a total coincidence. I added pink and turquoise for contrast with the flag colors I'm used to, but that worked out nicely. You can read more about the LGBT flag history here.

I had seen some beautiful painted and glittered feathers on Pinterest and Facebook. I decided to take some old feathers and give them my own rainbow infused makeover. I used mine to make a fascinator, but you could use yours for other crafts or decorations. This was super easy to do. The time is based on how detailed you want them to be. I chose a tribal geometric design, but you could certainly so something else. My daughter did a set where she base painted them the same way I did, then splattered colors on the dried feathers. Those look great too. Use your imagination.

  • Light colored smooth feathers - I used cream feathers. You will get vibrant painted designs if you use light colored feathers. Darker feathers will make the paint colors darker. You need smooth feathers vs fluffy ones, for a nice painting surface. Fluffy feathers will lose their softness and clump if painted. Note, you will see that I painted the full feather fronts, including any fluffy bits at the bottom. You'll need to do the same thing, if you are completely changing the feather color. My large feather was from a pack of quill feathers. The smaller ones were vintage feathers a friend had given me, but a pack like this in all white, would be perfect. Real or synthetic feathers will both be suitable for this project
  • Acrylic craft paint - I used Craft Smart, which is the Michaels brand. I have large bottles, because I paint often. I used pink, red, orange, yellow, bright green, turquoise, blue, and purple. You can use other colors, neutrals, and metallics too, if you desire. I chose a rainbow, in honor of LGBT Pride month
  • Small paint brushes - I used small round detail brushes. These made painting small details very easy
  • 1 foam plate or palette - For putting the paint on. A little goes a long way, since craft acrylics are a thin formula, as compared to artist acrylics. I use a foam plate, since it's disposable and easy to mix paint on. If you prefer a palette, you need one with little trays, so the paint doesn't run off the palette
  • A cup of  water - For washing the brush in between colors
  • Paper towels - For drying the brush in between colors. This project works best with a dry brush. Watery paint and brushes will cause the paint to run on the feathers. You want full control and no bleeding...unless that's the style you are going for. Have a roll of paper towels handy. You might need a few sheets
  • Wax paper - For protecting your work surface and letting the feathers dry safely. I always have this handy. You can find it at most grocery stores with other wraps and bags

I'm going to tell you how I made my design choice, but you could do a different design.

1) Lay 1-2 large pieces of wax paper down on your work surface. You might need more, depending on how many feathers you are painting.

2) Squirt a little of each desired paint color onto your plate or palette.

3) You will notice that your feathers curve. There are convex and concave sides. I painted on the side that curved down and bulges along the center, aka convex. This side was matte compared to the concave side which is shiny. Paint the matte side of your feathers, for a nice even paint finish. The shiny side will show unevenly though the paint. I know this because I painted a shiny side of one feather...and finished before I realized my error.

Working one feather at a time, paint diagonal stripes, following the angle of the feather. I made my stripes different widths. Wash and dry your brush in between each color. For some of the stripes, I used two colors, blending them where they met.

You can try some variations too. For one feather, I painted the small edge blue. Then, made the angled stripes on the fatter edge. Another, I used warm colors to paint the center and edges, blending them where they met. Let your feathers dry on the wax paper, for a few minutes.

4) Working one feather at a time, paint your design details. I chose lines, zig zags, circles, and dots. For painting, just like the before, wash and dry your brush in between paint colors. Each of my finished feathers is different, much like every LGBT person. Though we might be united by the LGBT community and flag, we are all a bit different. I feel like my feathers represent this. They have a common design theme, but are each unique.

I used my feathers to create a fascinator, but you can certainly use them for other things.
  • Perhaps frame a few and hang them, as if you found some exotic feathers from a mythical beast
  • Make them into fabulous jewelry
  • decorate a hat
  • sew them to a ballgown
  • hang them from a chandelier
  • create a gift topper
  • add them to a floral arrangement
  • attach them to a barrette or headband
  • stick them in a wreath
  • tie them to the outside of a tall glass candle
  • You get the idea. Use your imagination and come up with something great!

That's all for this tutorial. If you need some design inspiration, check out my To Make Pinterest board. I saved a few colorful feathers on there. You'll also get a sneak peek at what other projects I have saved to create. Happy Makery!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...