Tuesday, July 26, 2011

How to Dye Feathers Tutorial

Hi, friends...so seriously this whole LadyBird thing has really taken off and I can't tell you how thrilled I am!  It is really wonderful a) being my own boss b) getting paid $ to make stuff c) playing with feathers and pretty things all day d) MOST importantly making ladies happy.  I have suddenly been thrown into the strange world of fashion and girly-ness that I am by no means accustomed to.

I have always loved feathers since I only answered to "Tigerlilly" when I was a young fan of Peter Pan, wielding plastic tomahawks and wearing rainbow colored headdresses.  Once I was older, I made myself a couple of amazing bird headdresses for Halloween and defiantly rocked some feather wings at Burning Man in 2001.   In grad school at UIC, I liked sticking giant turkey feathers in my pony tail, when I felt like the man was getting me down. Needless to say, I have always been captivated by this small treasure and I am amazed that other people no longer look at me like I'm a freak-werido when I rock my feathers.

I am totally okay being a bird lady.

I thought that since I've been on an Art with a capital "A" hiatus (because of being so busy!),  I would do a little blog tutorial on how to hand dye feathers.  It took me quite sometime to find this info, but really it is so simple.

Step One: Procure white feathers. I got a serious shipment in last week and I want to roll around in them.

Step Two: buy Jacquard acid dye in hot pink, of course

Step Three: Drink lots of coffee, steal gloves from your doctor's office, and order Thai takeout. Check.  You will want to wear gloves while dealing with these dyes or you will end up looking like me...a strange smurf.

Step Four: Fill your sink with cold water and soak your feathers.

Step Five: Heat water on the stove until just boiling, pour into coffee can, and add dye.  I use about half the dye per coffee can.  (Dyes brightly) You can also add a little vinegar, but I think it is too stinky. 

Step Six: Add your feathers and mix them around.  Make sure they are covered up by the dye/water.  Now wait.....about 30-45 min per batch.  I usually give them a stir every 15 min. or so...

Step Seven: Rinse feathers under cold water (with your gloves on) until the water runs clear.  Pat them dry with a towel.  Lastly, I like to blow dry mine because they get fluffy again.

Step Eight: Make pretty things and have fun!

Here is the Lady Bird headquarters....totally crammed into a teenyweenie little room...

The shelf has saved my life.

notice stack of Nicole Northway originals on your left.  For sale to a good home :)
In the back, my "vision board" because you all know I'm a major nerd and love the good vibes, man.

Feather rolls and wire...a new kind of palette.  

Take care, ride your bike, and have fun!


  1. This is really helpful! I'd like to encourage you to keep doing what you're doing!

  2. Great tutorial -thank you! Where do you buy your bulk feathers??