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Forum Home - Go Back > Pow Wow Arena > Women's Dance Styles > Fancy Shawl Dancing Plumes help Plumes help

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Old 11-08-2015, 05:09 PM   #1
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Question Plumes help

Can anyone give a how to on making fake plumes pleas?
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Old 11-12-2015, 05:42 PM   #2
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Feather boas from the fabric store
Bamboo skewers from the dollar store
Tacky glue

But the boas to length, about 6-8" or whatever
Spread the feathers so you can run a line of glue all the way down the length
lay a skewer down the length of the feather
Put glue on one more boa and place on top of the skewer
Make sure the boa is stuck good
let dry
cut skewer to length
Can wrap it with colored thread or paint it

Good luck
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Old 11-13-2015, 12:02 PM   #3
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The boas technique is really nice. But art pieces, if I am making a very good fake, I do mine a bit differently:

Part of the problem with making passable fake plumes is the morphology differences in the feathers. Turkey feathers have a window next to the rachis, where there are no barbules at the base of the individual barbs. Eagle plumes do not have this. Visually this feature is discernible at some distance.

The other part is color. Turkey, chicken, ostrich and most other craft feathers are bleached and often whitened. (You will occasionally encounter batches that have been treated with fluorescent whiteners, which glow purple under UV and natural sunlight to counter yellow staining in the feather. ) This makes for a sometimes quite stark difference between eagle and fake plumes.

I use a mix of turkey T flats, turkey fluffs, and ostrich (body or drabs, not full plumes) feathers. The ostrich feathers don't have the window and are good for concealing the gaps in the turkey.

I tone the white down by placing a small amount of either powdered brunt ochre pigment or powder grey pigment in a plastic bag and shaking the dry feathers (fluffs only) with the pigment. This is almost always too dark, so I wash the feathers with ivory soap until there is just a hint of color left. They will be very fluffy if you dry them under blowing cool air. I use clothespins to clip mine in front of a fan running on low.

If you're making a plume with a patterned vane at the top: Pick a couple of nice T-flats with a reasonable, but not too large flat area. Straighten by lightly pinching the shaft with your finger nail. Cut the tip of the vane to shape with very sharp scissors. If you really want to get fancy, a few light strokes with a very fine grade of emery paper around the edge of the cut area will tear away the barbules and imitate the look of the open pennaceous area.

Then use a mix of Tandy Leather black and dark brown Pro Dye, thinned with a bit of denatured alcohol, to paint the tip. The exact ratio of black and brown is determined by the species, gender and age of the eagle whose plume you are imitating. I find I get the best results using a Qtip and doing several coats. Fine marks can be applied by stippling with a stiff brush. Once the dye is dry, gently wash the feather (no soap) and dry it. This removes excess dye which can form crystals on the barbs. it also fluffs the barbules back out.

Then I glue the shaft to of the T-flat to the skewer. Then I place two or three good sized turkey fluffs around the base of the T-flat. Position them to cover the rachis of the T-flat and any window that might be showing. Finally, use 2-3 small ostrich fluffs (trim and strip to size if needed) to fill in the bottom and cover the window on the turkey fluffs.
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Last edited by OLChemist; 11-20-2015 at 04:15 AM.. Reason: Dang autocorrect! Added a bit.
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