Thursday, April 24, 2014

Feathered Fun

Can I tell you a secret?  I have a serious infatuation with feather earrings (and other feathered accessories).  I know, I know...they have been around a while now and are probably on their way out, but all during my enforced hiatus I had a serious hankerin' for them and I promised myself that I would try to find some way to make a few pairs just for the fun of it.  Also, I can't pass one of those stands at the mall without desperately wanting to have a few feathers attached to my hair along with one of those bright pink or electric blue hair strand clip-ons...and if it includes glitter, so much the better!

I am sooo 12 years old sometimes.

Anyhoo...I happened to be strolling the aisles of Hobby Lobby recently and...TA DA!  Bags of colored feathers on SALE!  I still had the whole yellow/green color scheme from the Earrings Everyday challenge in my brain so I bought a bag of green feathers to play around with.  Unfortunately, after looking through the entire bag, I realized that all the feathers were basically the same length and I wanted something with graduated lengths and a little more variety of TYPE of feather (5 minutes of attempted designing made me a feather connoisseur). to Michael's I went (because it was a Sunday and Hobby Lobby is closed and darn but that annoys the snot outta me because I invariably need supplies on Sundays and they are SO much better stocked than Michael's) and I ended up with a few more bags of feathers of various sizes and colors along with some foldover crimps.

Eh, voila!  Feathered earrings a la KJ:

In the "lessons learned" category, do NOT try to take photos of feathers when there is even the SLIGHTEST breeze because guess what?  Feathers try to fly away!  Duh!

Laying them down worked a little bit better, but it was still difficult to get any kind of a shot (and, as has been mentioned, my photo skills are rudimentary even under the best conditions).  I thought the polka-dot feathers were fun and I used some black and white ones to tone down the crazy brightness of the turquoise ones.  The tops are faceted onyx and a little faceted Czech glass rondelle that is black with some turquoise speckles on it.


I had to REALLY scrounge through the entire bag of feathers to get enough of the same coloration, size and length to have matching earrings.  If you try this, I suggest maybe buying 2 bags of the same colorway so you have more to work with.  There were only TWO of the black and white polka dot feathers and I had to trim them to make them the same length...same goes for the turquoise with the large dots.

And then here's where I totally lost my mind.  These are definitely statement, shoulder-duster type earrings.  I started with the large and partially fuzzy pale gold feathers, then layered on the curved, flat brown feathers (again - only 2 in the whole bag), and then did a grouping of three of the bright green feathers on top.

Even with all the feathers, it sill seemed to need something, so I added some green glass briolettes and gold chain sections for extra bling.

Still can't get everything to quite hold still and when I lay them down, the dark brown feather on the left earring wants to hide so taking these photos was a real challenge.  I think you get the idea, though.
The overall technique is SUPER simple:  
  1. Figure out what feathers you want to use and make sure you have enough for both earrings (although if you are not obsessed with things being symmetrical like I am, I suppose you could just do one totally bodacious feather earring on one side and a tiny, coordinating, but not matching, earring on the other side). 
  2. Put them into a layered pile (NOTE:  remember to layer in reverse i.e. lay the front of the earring down first and build towards the back) with the quills in the foldover crimp.  Adjust size, length and quill thickness as necessary with scissors.
  3. Using a toothpick, spread a teeny bit of glue into the crimp (you can skip this if you want - I just like extra security).
  4. Put your feather bundle tips into the glue inside the crimp.
  5. Use your flatnose pliers to carefully fold over the edges of the crimp
  6. You can attach this directly to an earring hook now OR you can add extra beads, bling, chain or whatever as desired.
I kind of like having a bead that hangs in the right place to sort of hide the foldover crimp (like in the green/gold earring pair), but be careful in choosing this bead as I found that if it is too big or heavy, it will cause the feather section to hang wonky.  I had to adjust the design of the turquoise/black pair because of this.

Hope you enjoyed my foray into the world of feathered earrings...I want to get some better quality/matching feathers and see what else I can come up with. 


P.S.  I actually wore the turquoise/black pair to work one day last week...and no one thought it was odd.  I'm not sure what that means...


elisabeth said...

Awesome earrings - I pictures the statement ones with a long green maxi dress that is otherwise plain and sandals :-)

Shaiha said...

Love the colors especially the teal ones though I do have to say that I am glad that Hobby Lobby was closed because I am boycotting them. lol

Shaiha said...

For the life of me, I can't find your email address but I wanted to let you know that I got my goodies. I can't wait to find the time to play with them,