Saturday, October 1, 2011

Birds of a Feather Costume Tutorial, Part Three

Now that your wing base is all set, it's time to get to work on the feathers!

To make the process of wing construction faster, the feathers are created in sets that are double layered. For my original costumes I used sets of four feathers in a row, which I will also use in this tutorial, but once you have the basic idea, you can change it around any way you would like for your wings.

To cut even feathers of uniform size, we are going to create a paper feather template.

Take two pieces of paper of equal size (here I am using standard 8.5''x11'' printer paper) and cut one in half, hot dog style as shown above. Take one piece of the cut paper and set the rest aside.

Draw a line one inch down from the top edge.

Draw lines dividing the piece of paper into four equal sections. This paper is 11 inches long so each of the four sections will be 2 and 3/4 inches.

Draw in the feathers in each of your four sections making sure not to go past the top inch that was marked off earlier since you will be using the top edge to cut along a fold.
Have fun with this step and play around with different shapes until you find one that you really love!

Cut around the edges to complete your feather template! At this point you could also transfer the template onto thin cardboard or card stock to make it more durable.

Start cutting out fabric!
Get the full sheet of paper that we set aside earlier and use it to cut out a large rectangle. Using an iron, press the rectangle of fabric in half hot dog style.

Place your feather template on the pressed piece of fabric with the top edge along the fold and cut. I highly recommend using a rotary cutter for this step since it makes the process very quick.

A double layered set of four feathers!

And what it looks like unfolded for clarity.

Continue using your full sheet of paper and your feather template to cut out more sets of feathers!
This part of the project is a bit repetitive and time consuming, but it is well worth it in the end. So turn on your favorite music and get lost in the feathers!
Also, as you are working, try not to stress about cutting exactly from the template. Remember, the wings have many layered feathers and they don't all have to be perfect.

Next time we will work on sewing the feathers to the wing base!


  1. Do you have any suggestions to prevent material fraying if using a material other then felt for this project?

  2. Do you have any suggestions to prevent material fraying if using a material other then felt for this project?