*No Birds Were Harmed in the Making of This Tutorial*
If you’ve been following my blog entries here at CardstockWarehouse.com, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I rarely use my cutting machine. Feathers are so charming because they’re all a little unique, however, for the sake of time, I’ve included a template that includes a few feathers that you can either trace and cut or use with your cutting machine. (click on the template you want below, then right-click to save.)
Step 1: Pluck...no... Pick Your Papers!
I chose to go with a more natural palette.
True white 100#, Madero Beach Speckletone, Whip Cream, Natural Pergamenata Parchment 74# text, Antique Gold 81# Text, Rose Quartz Metallic 105#, and can we just talk about the White Birch Wood Veneer for a sec????? It’s wood paper... yeah yeah I know paper is made from wood... but this is WOODEN PAPER, PEOPLE!! Not some cheap print of the same wood pattern on every sheet with a stark white backing. Each piece has a unique wood veneer finish on one side and a corresponding color on the opposite side.
Step 2: Just Wing It!
Time to get cutting! Choose your favorite base feather shapes and start cutting them out. There are so many wonderful feather shapes, and I highly doubt you will be confronted by an Ornithologist, so feel free to get creative and come up with your own base feather shapes.
Step 3: Ruffle Some Feathers
Time to clip those wings! Here is where they really take shape. There are lots of ways to add uniqueness to your feather. You can fold it in half and fringe it on an angle. You can keep it flat and fringe each side at a time to avoid symmetry. You can cut away corners and trim the inside edges to add space between each... what would you call the little pieces of a feather? ...Let’s call them ‘feather-bits’.. and if we do have any Ornithologists in the house, feel free to chime in at any time.
You can also fold a feather and cut away some thin C-shapes, starting from the fold and curving back into the fold but stopping before you reach the crease. This is how you can achieve a peacock or ostrich style feather. The photo below outlines some basic cutting varieties. The red line indicates a fold, blue indicates a cut, and black shoes where a cutout was removed. Once you get the hang of how your trimmings will affect the shape of the feather, try combining a few techniques.
By simply trimming and curving the edges of a few random feather-bits, I’ve added a whole new dimension to the shape.
One thing I did to add some more texture to some of my feathers, was to crumple the heavier white and rose quartz papers after cutting out the base feather shape. The wrinkles added a lovely veiny look and feel.
Creating a Feathered Wall Hanging
Now that you have a bird in the hand, you can start constructing your wall art. Start by choosing something to hang everything from. I nabbed a piece of dried up bamboo, but you can use a sturdy branch of any kind. Next, choose your textiles. For this boho chic look, I used a combination of ribbons, fluffy yarn, and cut strips of pretty fabric and trims off of some dresses that my kids outgrew - dresses that were ripped or stained in places, otherwise they would have been donated.
Cut your textile twice as long as you want your hanging to be then double it up and loop it over your branch.
To attach the feathers, I used 2 different sized pony beads because the larger openings are wide enough for the heavier papers and the smaller ones are perfect for the parchment and other text weights. While the birch paper is thin, it does not take tiny folds easily, so I used the larger beads for those feathers as well. Slide the bead over both ends of one ribbon/fabric, going slightly higher than you want your feather to be, then nestle the end of your feather just below the bead and slide the bead back down over the feather. This may require you to fold or roll the feather’s end to get it to fit.
In most cases the beads should hold the feathers firmly without any other support, but you can always add a little dab of hot glue in the back for added security after you’ve finalized their placements.
-Susan (Shayna Papir)