Paper Feathers 2.0

Remember when I made these paper feathers last year?  And showed you HOW I made them.

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They sold really well in my booth at Stars, so I decided to make more.  But I noticed that the last few leftovers got very ‘crunchy’ over time and cracked and broke easily when handled.   Time to re-think the process to make them hold up better and longer.

Pretty much the same supplies: bamboo skewers, old sheet music and book pages and glue.  I decided to use regular Elmer’s glue instead of thinned down tacky glue this time.

 

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First I glued the bamboo skewer down the center of a scrap piece of book page.  Left them to dry overnight.   I did a couple dozen at a time.

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I used scrap cardboard, the fronts and backs of old cereal boxes, cut into thirds; glued the skewer/paper to the center of one side of the cardboard.  Let dry.

Then I glued a piece of pre-cut sheet music or book page paper to both sides of the cardboard.  This project uses a LOT of glue.  The average size on my feathers is 7″ x 3″, and I went through a 4oz bottle of glue for each dozen feathers.

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I used the handles of my scissors, but you could use a boning tool or any other ‘hard edge’.  After I placed my paper atop the skewer side of my cardboard, I ran the handles of my scissors along the skewer, to work out any air bubbles.

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Once I had several of them this far, I IRONED them.  Yep. I ironed them.  This helped set the glue and work out any air bubbles and to keep the cardboard nice and flat.  The glue wasn’t 100% dry at this point, so I let them sit overnight before cutting them.

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Then I cut them into a feather shape, then I cut the feather slits.

I came across one small kerfuffle in the process.  When I cut the slits in some of them, the paper was coming loose from the cardboard.  This happened after I had had no problem with about 40 of them, so I was perplexed!
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I just tossed out the one that came apart.  A few minutes later, it happened again?!?  What’s the deal with THIS batch??  I just tossed that one out too.  Then it happened to the very next one.  What the heck am I doing wrong??  Is this whole batch going to fall apart???

I decided to investigate a little further and pulled the paper completely off the ones that were coming apart and discovered that they were all from the same box!  So I ended up having six of them in total come apart like this.  Not really sure what was so different about that particular cereal box that caused this to happen; but I can tell you that it was the one and only ‘store brand’ cereal box that I had in my stash.  So, FWIW, keep that in mind if you decide to make these.  P1380220

I’ve already taken a big batch of them to Stars, and made a second batch for the upcoming Spring show.

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.

SUPPLY LIST:

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!