Monday, March 10, 2014

How to dye feathers cheaply

Easter is almost here and as I look at my list of crafts I want to make I notice one big issue, I'm going to need a lot of feathers. Not just any feathers though, multicolored ones! With 80 assorted poultry is residence I have plenty of feathers it's just a matter of getting them the color I want. Obviously I'm going to have to dye them, but how? So glad you asked, because I have 2 different feather dying methods that I decided to try out today.

How to dye feathers


I started with mostly guinea feathers. Those are the black and white polka dotted ones.  I also threw a few white ones in the mix for variety.....I'm sure a few others got through too. I collected my supplies: boiling water, white vinegar, a glass baking pan, stirring spoon, Kool-aid in various flavors or food coloring (the cheap liquid kind that comes in the 4 pack) and dish soap with an extra bowl.

First, put the water on to boil and dump a packet of Kool-aid in the glass baking pan. 

Mix a few drops of dish soap with some warm water in a bowl in the sink. Take a handful of feathers and swish them through the soapy water making sure they are completely wet. This helps to break down the natural oils in the feathers and makes them ready to accept the dye. Rinse in cool water then squeeze gently to remove excess water. Set them aside on a clean towel. 

After the water starts boiling pour 3/4 cup boiling water in the baking pan. Add 2 tablespoons vinegar and mix. Add the feathers and agitate with a spoon. Let the feathers sit in the dye mixture until just slightly darker then the desired color. Remove from dye and rinse with cool water. Lay flat on paper towels to dry. (or the dog's towel....I totally stole her towel right out of the dryer! lol) If after rinsing you decide the feathers are too light you can put them back in the dye bath for awhile longer.
 
dying feathers natural

This method works very well except I didn't like that I couldn't really change the intensity of the color. You can use the exact same method except use the liquid food colors instead of the Kool-aid. With this method you can mix colors to make many different shades. I also found that you can add a few drops of food coloring to the Kool-aid if you chose to try that first. The vinegar helps it absorb....so as long as you have that and the boiling water you're pretty much free to experiment. Cool, right? 

I did try the Rit dye method. It worked, but the color took longer to set and the cost was almost $3 per color. Kool-aid is often on sale here for $.20 each and I buy the boxed 4 pack of liquid food coloring at the dollar store. The cheapest option is the liquid food coloring...and it's the most vibrant. Bonus!

You can let the feathers air dry naturally, or use a blow dryer set on low to dry them. I'm impatient, I dried mine. I used free range chicken and Guinea feathers but you can buy a bag of white craft feathers and dye them also. Whatever you have will work. Have fun with it. Make pretty colors! Best of all...make awesome Easter crafts and come back to show me what you made! 

Have fun!

~L                      

9 comments:

  1. Those feathers are so beautiful!! Thanks for linking this wonderful post up to my “Themed Blog & Shop Hop!”
    Angie
    godsgrowinggarden.com

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  2. I always wondered how to dye feathers. I wanted to start using them along with bows for the dogs I groom. I am so going to try this out. Thanks.
    P.S. I followed you here from Tilly's Nest

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    1. This would be great for dogs! In case they manage to get one off and chew it, you know you've used food grade dyes! Would love to see pictures!

      ~L

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  3. I love all of the beautiful colors! Can't wait to see your crafted projects. Thanks for sharing these dying tips with Share Your Cup.
    hugs,
    Jann

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    Replies
    1. I have so many projects I want to do now...I don't know where to start! lol

      ~L

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  4. Gorgeous feathers! Thanks for sharing on The HomeAcre Hop! Hope you have time to share again today!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks!....and thanks for stopping by! Love your hop!

      ~L

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  5. This wonderful post is being featured on my blog tonight - it received the most "clicks" from last month's "Themed Blog & Shop Hop": http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/2014/04/march-2014-theme-blog-shop-hop-results.html
    Thanks!
    Angie

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  6. How pretty they turned out!! Thanks for sharing at the Pleasures of the NW's DIY Party

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