Saturday, 5 December 2015

Craft: A Tries to Make a Quill!

I've noticed a number of feathers around the coop from Martha and Pat so I thought it'd be nice to try to make a few quills from them. So here's my attempt at making chicken feather quills!

Materials needed

  • Feathers!
    If you don't have access to feathers, you can always buy some at your craft store! Just a little note: the bigger the quill, the easier time you'll have writing with them! 
  • Ink!
    I have left over ink cartridges from my fountain pen which broke years ago, which I'm going to use. You can get ink from your craft store too!
  • Scissors
  • Pin or needle
  • Possibly an art knife for sharpening the tip and smoothing down rough edges. (I didn't use one)

Step 1: Cleaning
Wash wash wash!

Since I'm using real feathers, I want to make sure they're clean. Starting right at the coop, I've picked out the clean feathers. If they're soiled with poop or they look nasty, they go straight to the bin. Then they sit on my outside windowsill in the sun for at least three days. Once they've been baked nice I rinse them under hot water straight from the tap. The first time I did this step I left the feather in the hot water too long and the black and white stripes turned into a grey feather. After a little soaking, I lathered them up in hand soap and rinsed them off with cool water.

Step 2: Drying and grooming
Air drying

Reshaping the feather
After the washing, I got a tissue and dried off most of the dampness then allowed the feathers to dry in the room. Once they were dry (allow them to completely dry or else you'll have a harder time at grooming), I smoothed and lightly pulled on a finger's width of barbs in a upwards direction to reshape the feather.

Step 3: Preparing the Quill
I wanted more of the feather than a quill so all I did was cut off the fluffier down-feathers and a little bit of the barbs above it. You may need to use a art knife to smooth down rough edges of the quill if you have any. I also cut the base of the quill at around a 45 degree angle to give a nice tip. This is the part where I also used a pin to puncture and remove the dried membrane material inside the quill.

Step 4: Write your heart out!
Quill writing on a piece of scrap paper
Dip the quill in the ink and start writing! I got a nice tip my first attempt and started writing nicely. Unfortunately, I thought that I could better the tip and cut it further... Bad idea. It was too thin and as you can see from the "Addie" above, ink was splatted all over the place!

Extra craft! Quill "marker"! 
Additional material needed: A tissue!

All you need for a quill marker is a tissue. Rip a piece off, roll it thin and stuff it into the quill tip until it can't fit any more in. No need to pack the quill full of tissue, just enough to reach each end and thick enough to cover around 3/4 of the diameter of the quill. Cut your quill to make sure the tissue hangs out of the tip just right. Dip into the ink to fill up your quill and make a test run on paper. You might need cut the tip to adjust the amount of tissue touching paper.

The quill marker holds more ink and it definitely keeps your writing more even in terms of ink flow.

Quill marker writing is lovely! 

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