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Project Blog - Feathers
Project Blog

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Feathers 
Thursday, July 10, 2008, 08:40 PM
Feathers! He's got feathers as decoration all over. And not just plain single colour feathers, no, that would be too easy. These feathers start tan, turn vibrant red, and then have black tips. Black! Man, they don't make black kool-aid.

That's right, kool-aid. I went out with my sister today, and she had some time before I got off work which she spent going to the dollar store and picking me up a pack of feathers (I had mentioned I was going to so she surprised me with them). Then on the way home we stopped in at Safeway and picked up 6 packets of kool-aid for $2.

I had, of course, researched dying feathers earlier and found that to dye natural fibers like feathers and wool you need to use acid dyes. Kool-aid, the stuff you get in a tiny packet and are supposed to add sugar to, acts as an acid dye. it is cheap and vibrant. Kids use it to dye their hair when they can't get real hair colourings.

I found a set of instructions online, first wash the feathers in a water/detergent bath to get the oils off, and then add some vinegar in with the kool-aid and water to help it set. There was another bowl too I forget what it was for. I read some sites saying the vinegar was unnecessary because the kool-aid has enough acid on its own, but it didn't hurt to add it. I'm not sure that there were any oils to wash out of my store bought feathers, either.

They go in the microwave for a couple minutes in the kool-aid mix.

I used orange and a bit of green to get the tan, and just did the whole feather in it for a very short time. They came out a little peach, I should have used more green.

Then I put the blue and purple and the rest of the green in with the orange, stuck the feathers on the side of the bowl so just their tips were in, and stuck that in the microwave. They ended up a very dark burgundy. I tried to put them in longer but I guess they were saturated, they wouldn't get black from this.

I then dumped that and made a new batch using two reds. Water tension wasn't enough to hold them 2/3 of the way in so I taped their ends to the bowl to hold them up. The red turned out well.

The 'black' got even lighter when they dried the whole way, I ended up using a sharpie (permanent marker) on the tips to make them blacker. Sharpies don't work well on feathers, don't try to use them on the fluffy parts at all they will make the fluff stick together. They worked ok on the tips, because they were flat and already fairly dark so the gaps didn't show up so much.



I might try to redo these later, I did a recount and found out I am actually one short. Kool-aid is cheap and I have lots of leftover feathers.

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