A NEW Vintage book page craft! PAPER FEATHER TUTORIAL

Well, it’s new to ME.  I’ve been seeing the paper feathers made from vintage sheet music and book pages on Pinterest for a while now.  Initially they didn’t really appeal to me; but I decided to try my hand at a few to see how difficult they were to make . . . .  and BAM!!  I’m hooked!  I love them and I really enjoy making them.

P1350148My biggest issue with all the ones I was seeing on Pinterest was coming up with something sturdier than just wire for the stems.  Bamboo skewers worked perfectly.  I made the smaller size feathers using the regular size skewers, and some bigger square-shaped ones (closer to chop-stick diameter) for the bigger ones that I made.

I used several different kinds and colors of book pages.  The yellowed sheet music shown above and some varying shades of white dictionary and book pages.


Paper: old book pages, sheet music, dictionary pages or ANY other paper

Bamboo skewers for the stems

Thinned down tacky glue: for gluing the two layers of paper to the stem.  Add just enough water to your tacky glue that it’s easily brushed on with a paint brush.

Scissors for cutting out the leaf shapes and feathering.

Mod Podge: apply one coat to each side of your feather shape BEFORE cutting your slits.

As with just about any crafting I do, I prefer to work in an assembly line style.  I selected the vintage papers that I wanted to work with and readied the rest of my supplies.

  1. Fold paper in half so you get two matching pieces of each leaf shape that you cut.
  2. With your thinned tacky glue, evenly coat one side of a leaf and put glue down the center only of the matching leaf.
  3. Place your skewer in the center of the fully glued leaf, and lay the other leaf on top.  Gently press along the skewer with your fingers to get the glue to grab it; and smooth the edges to be sure they are completely glued together.
  4. Set aside for several hours for the glue to completely dry and cure.  (overnight is best)  Your paper will curl a bit from the moisture in the glue, but you WANT that to happen.  It gives them a more natural feel.


5. Vintage paper can be very brittle.  I ruined several of mine just handling them and gluing them together.  To strengthen your final product, apply a coat of matte finish Mod Podge to each side; one side at a time.


Mod podge dries pretty fast, adds a little more ‘character curls’ to your paper and will help your feathers last a lot longer.  The mod podge gives the paper a bit of a plastic coated feel.  If you aren’t sure if you will like the look and feel of the added Mod Podge, just do ONE feather with it as a test, and one without it; to see which you like best.  A little bit of the Mod Podge is going to seep over to the other side of the feather, so be sure you lay them to dry on something ‘raised’.  Across an open box or on a cookie cooling rack.

6.  Gather up your dried feathers and grab your scissors.


Go through your entire batch of them making your first ‘V’ cuts; 3-5 cuts per side, depending upon the size of the feather.  I always keep the total number of cuts as odd number.  IE 3 on one side and 4 on the other.  These cuts are going to be the GUIDES for your smaller cuts, so be sure you make the cuts in the direction that you are going to want ALL your cuts to go.


7. After you have made those cuts in your entire batch, go back and do the feathering cuts on all of them.  Make your cuts as close together as you can, and cut as close to the stem as you can.

Here are the different kinds of paper/ shapes and sizes that I made.

As you may have guessed from the above pictures, they can become quite addicting to make!!

NOW, I just have to figure out how to use them and display them to sell in my booth at Stars!  Suggestions are welcome!

TUTORIAL: Painting stripes on paper mache boxes


These are paper mache boxes that I painted, striped and distressed.  The two small sets of three were ‘new’ sets.  The big box is one that I had painted a different design on a long time ago, and decided to update it.  The lid to the big one was already finished in black, so I left it as was.

First, give all the boxes a good solid base coat of black.

Pick the two colors you wnat to use on your boxes.  Select the LIGHTER of those two colors to paint over tha black paint.  BTW:  I do NOT recommend the ‘Craft Smart’ brand of paint!  It is very thin and watery and does not cover well at all.  I had to mix some other paints with mine to get it to cover well enough.)

On to the stripes!  Take your secondary (darker) color and select a paint brush that is the width that you want your stripes to be.  Note that the stripes are NOT perfect.  If you want them to be perfect you can tape them off or use a stencil.  I like prefer the slightly crooked ‘free hand’ painted look.  A lot of the inperfections in your stripes will ‘disappear’ when you distress your item later.

When you’ve got 3/4 of the way around your box with the stripes, pause and analyze the amount of space you have left and guestimate whether you are going to have to ‘adjust’ your stripe width in order to get them to ‘match up’ with your first stripe.  It’s better to SPACE the stripes a tad farther apart than to make them closer in order to fit the space.

Horizontal stripes are harder for me to do, hence I don’t do them as often.  But again, the ‘crookedness’ of the stripes will blend in with the distressing step.

Once all your paint is dry, it’s time to sand and distress your boxes.  I use my 4″ electric belt sander, and hand held prbital sander )for areas the belt sander can’t get to)  You can sand them by hand, it’s just a LOT more work.  Since I am making quantities of them, I NEED a fast and easy way.  If you do hand sand, a COARSE sanding SPONGE is recommended.

I wanted to add some designs to my boxes, but I often do them with ‘just the stripes’

Use FOAM (not rubber!) stamps and water based acrylic craft paint for your designs.  This is the same paint that I used for my base coat.

LIGHTLY load your stamp with paint (too much paint will cause your stamp to SLIDE when you press it to your box).  I also get TWO stamps per paint loading.  The second one is lighter, but that just means less sanding off later!

After your stamped on designs are dry, lightly hand sand them with a coarse sanding sponge to distress them.

I decided my big box needed some DOTS in addition to the stamped design.  Use the end of a paint brush, dipped into paint.  I made three dots with each paint loading.  Each dot comes out slightly smaller than the previous one.

Next it’s time for my ‘secret ingredient’.  This concoction is my own creation and I do not share or sell the recipe.  (Sorry, it’s the ONE THING that I won’t share) but you can buy it in a can at the store (no mail orders – too expensive to pack a ship) .  The ‘weathered wood wash’ is just brushed on over the entire sanded box and lid to give it a nice aged look.

See the difference the wood wash makes?   You can also use a  use a water based stain to get a similar look.

Once the wood wash is dry, I add a coat of MATTE varnish to seal and protect the surface.

I wanted to add some wood knobs to a couple of the boxes.  To find ‘the center’ for the knob placement, I traced the lid onto a piece of newspaper.  Cut out the circle to the INDIDE of my tracing line.  Folded the paper circle into fourths, and cut a tiny snip out of the center.  Placed the opened paper circle into my lid and used a pencil to mark the center.

Drilled a tiny hole at the center mark and screwed my wood knob on from underneath.


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