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Feather Design

15 June 2015 19:41

Do you ever look on Pinterest for craft ideas?  It's full of unusual ones, as well as the more usual.  I came across this one recently, on blog.freepeople .com


Painted feathers!  It looked fun, so I pinned it.  Then, soon after, we were out for a walk where there were lots of Canada Goose feathers.  I picked some up to have a go.  It was only after I'd started painting that I noticed that the writer had used acrylic paint on fake feathers; I was using water colours on real feathers!  The water colour wasn't taking very well, so I had a dig around in the cupboard and found 3 pots of acrylic paint.  They seemed to work, so I painted 2 feathers with them.

I also found a little pot of white paint which worked well for the highlights.  However, I wasn't greatly impressed with my choice of colours, so I only painted the two.  Once they'd dried, though, I was pleased with the way they looked.


This is a good family activity - from the walk to find feathers (near a lake or river with Canada Geese is one good place!) to the painting, which any age can enjoy.  You can then go on to create a fabric design.

Create a design

1. Scan your feathers.  You can arrange them in a group, or scan them individually.  Because I only had two, I scanned mine individually.  Save each one separately, so that you can manipulate them separately.

2. Now have fun playing with them using Photoshop, or similar software.

      i) Open a new blank file.  Set the resolution to 150dpi and the size to about the size you plan to make your design.  I made mine 20cms square to start with, but you can change the size as you go along.

      ii) Choose a colour for your background

      iii) Copy one of your feathers and place it near the centre of your canvas.  You can change the size, the position and the angle of your feather.  It works better if you don't have any elements completely vertical or              horizontal in your design, otherwise you get a 'stripe' in your repeated design.

      iv) When you're happy with the centre of your design, merge the layers and select the left hand half of the canvas.

      v)  Click on Layer, New, Layer via cut.  Click on the Move tool and use the arrows to move the left half of the design to the right side of the canvas.  

      vi) You now have a space in the centre of your canvas which you can fill with more feathers.

      vii) When you're happy with your design, merge the layers and follow step v) again. this time selecting the bottom half of the design and moving it to the top.

      viii) Repeat step vi)

      ix) You should now have a complete design which will repeat when printed on fabric.  Flatten your design, save it, upload to Print me Pretty and order your fabric!

Create a simple design

If you want to create a simpler design, open a new canvas, as above.  Choose a background colour.  Copy 2 ,3 or more feathers onto your canvas in a straight (ish) line.  Make sure the area around the feathers gives the spacing you want.

Flatten the design, save it and upload it to Print me Pretty.  A straight or half brick repeat will give you stripes of feathers.

Go and try it!