Crafty and outdoorsy folks alike, you’ve likely held onto a feather or sixty from a duck pond or from beneath a bird feeder. Well, my fluffy collection served its time as mere decor and was ready for some action. The more uniform in look a mass of feathers is, the more useful it is to me for crafting. Size is not a problematic factor (scissors take care of that) but don’t we all love to be matchy-matchy? Surely, I thought, A cheap hair dye kit from a local supermarket will do the job just fine. And it did..
My Original Feathers:
The dye I purchased was under $3. I went with red, knowing that it would color my lighter feathers better than the darker ones. If you want a more drastic result, use a blond kit or bleach before dying another color.
Instructions (or as I like to call them, “Destructables”) are easy cheesy to follow. Feathers, however, are not the equivalent of hair.
Lets briefly examine the anatomy of a feather as it relates to this project.
The feather is designed to deflect water off the top. Isn’t that just nifty?
Applying this knowledge is putting the dye mixture to the BACK of the feather to best penetrate each lovely little barb, as shown below, gently rubbing against and with the “grain” of the feather, finishing by slicking the barbs in a natural direction
After this was done to every last hoarded feather, I left them bunched in a glass mug for thirty minutes
As the hair coloring instructions say, rinse out until the water runs clear. With feathers, a towel is alright for drying if you pat nicely.
The after-coloring conditioner can be used very very lightly on each feather… mine will be drying most of the weekend, but here they are!
To define an exact before and after… I photographed a light and dark feather pre and post dye application
The dye I chose gave warmth to feathers of cool greys. Even the darker ones now have lovely strawberry undertones.
These will lighten further when they are completely dry. I’m pleased with my subtle, natural-ish results!