How to make a feather headdress

Getting ready for a festival? Want to stand out amongst your friends? You really want a headdress but you don’t want to pay the earth for it?

You have come to the right place. Today’s ‘How To’ will show you how to achieve a feather headdress worthy of Haute Couture.

You will need the following things:

  1. Lots of feathers. Go crazy. Anything you can get your hands on. Beg, steal, buy and borrow. Old feather boa, feather earrings, feather keyring – nothing is too ostentatious or over the top
  2. Old leather belt (approximately 50cms)
  3. Long canvas or calico strip / belt, old tie would also work (approximately 1.5 – 2ms)
  4. Beads
  5. Buttons
  6. Non-satin ribbons
  7. Fabric glue
  8. Electrical tape
  9. Sharp wool needle
  10. Wool or string
  11. leather thong
Start with your leather belt. This is what is going to hold everything together. I have opted for leather as it is sturdy, stiff and easier for adhesives to stick but your can use a softer fabric if you prefer.
Cut the belt so it measures from ear to ear. You can choose to make it a bit longer if you want the feathers to go all the way around.

Glue a line of feathers to the belt. These feathers will act as the base and 'filler' to make the headdress appear full. You can buy this line of feathers ready made in a haberdashery

Now plan out your other feathers. Do not start gluing until you are completely happy with the layout. Larger feathers to be laid first followed by the smaller ones.

Put some 'fluffy' feathers on each end. This way you can cluster the more detailed feathers in the middle

Keep layering the 'fluffy' feathers. Remember that with a headdress, more is more

Wait about thirty minutes to allow the first set to dry and harden before your start sticking your bigger feathers.

You may find these feathers are quite reluctant to stick and stay in place. A good tip is to lay a plastic bag over them and weight it down with heavy books. Leave it for about 10-15 minutes to allow the glue to become tacky and harden.

Do not panic about the glue not being strong enough. The electrical tape will ensure everything is securely held in place.

Electrical tape to be put on once the glue is dry for additional security

Keep layering the feathers until you are happy with the quantity. Then, once all are in place, secure with electrical tape. This is good as it is flexible (you will have to bend the headdress to wrap around your head) and very strong. You can always add more feathers and tape on top of the already existing tape. You will see that it sticks much better than the first layer.
Give each feather a firm tug to ensure that they are safely in place and not likely to come loose. Do not worry about it looking messy. All the tape will be hidden by the ribbon.
Now turn the headdress over. Make sure that the fabric (Dad’s tie or calico belt) is long enough for you to tie around your head and secure at the back with a bow or knot.
You will have to make some holes into the belt. You don’t have to use a belt hole maker, a sharp knife, scissors or even a hole punch should survice. Make sure your holes are close to edge but not too much that they might tear.
You can use wool or string to tie the fabric to the belt.

You need thick ribbon. Do not use satin as this will fray and any stitching you do to it will show up immediately and may tear

Now for your ribbon. This will be on top of the headdress to cover all you glue and electrical tape. Buy a colourful ribbon with a nice decorative patten. It has to be strong so as not to fray and also be relatively wide. I could not find one as wide as I wanted so I bought two different ones to stich together.

If you have a sewing machine, now is the opportunity to use it. This will save a lot of time if you do decide to use different ribbons stitched together. I have used 2 different ribbons and put one in the middle and sewed the thinner one onto either side.

Now you need to attach this ribbon to the front of your headdress. The easiest way to do this is to use the sewing machine and attach to the fabric on the back of the headdress. Do this down either side of the leather belt (where your ears would be). Careful not to sew through the leather unless you have special needles. Then you can stitch by hand at a few points to secure the middle.

Why not add a leather thong with feathers and beads on either end. I have opted to attach this underneath the ribbon, however you may prefer to have it stitched on top.

Now for the finishing touches. You can do as much or as little as you like. I decided to stitch an old beaded necklace across the front so it would hand down the side next to the leather thongs. I also added large buttons that would sit either side near my ears. These are all optional and down to what you would like the final product to look like.

These are wooden buttons with a subtle engraving and a bit of rubbed off gold leaf to give it a slightly vintage feel.

Finally, just add some hair slides to the back so that the headdress will feel safe and secure on your head. Although not particularly heavy, it does have a tendency to move around and slip off.

These will keep the headdress in place whilst you dance the day and night away to your favourite band

Ok. You’re done. Now wear it and work it ladies and gents!

"Darling. You are FABULOUS."

Happy crafting. Enjoy!

x

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