8 Craft Projects With Feathers Inspired By Notting Hill Carnival

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Every August bank holiday the streets of Notting Hill are full of carnival floats, steel bands, colourful dancers, and as much jerk chicken as you can eat. This year, get creative with Carnival-inspired craft projects featuring feathers. It's time to get the party started!
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1. Feathered Mask

Forget shy and retiring, you’re incognito when you're wearing a mask. So shake your tail feather and go all out with the decoration. 

How to make:

• Draw a basic mask shape onto a piece of paper to get the right size and shape. Place a thin piece of transparent plastic sheet over the drawing and trace using a marker pen. Cut out the mask shape and eye holes.

• Now for the fun part! Gather a selection of pipe-cleaners and plastic feathers, or cool stickers, bright glitter, sparkly sequins, pretty ribbons... anything colourful really. Then, using a hot glue gun, start sticking on the embellishments. Use the pipe-cleaners to create a headdress-style to stick to the top of the mask.

• Once you’ve finished decorating the mask, use a hole punch to make a hole either side. Thread approximately 50cm lengths of ribbon through each hole, then position the mask on your face and tie the ribbons at the back of your head. 
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2. Clay Feather Charms

Stylish clay feathers, as seen on blog 100 Layer Cake, can be worn on a necklace, as earrings, or grouped together to create a gorgeous handbag charm.

How to make:

• Draw a simple feather shape onto a piece of thin card and cut out to make a template. Roll out some air-drying clay so it’s just a few millimetres thick. Place the feather template onto the clay and draw round with a pencil.

• Cut the feather shape out with scissors, snipping small 'V's into the edges. Make a hole towards one end of the feather with a large needle. Continue cutting out feathers in this way to use up all the clay. Leave them to dry. 

• Apply a little gold paint to the feathers, creating different designs on each. When the paint has dried, thread some metallic cord through the hole or use the feathers to create other pieces of jewellery.
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3. Feather-Trimmed Skirt

An ostrich feather skirt is a must-have for carnival dancing. Plus this version is 'no-sew', so no sewing skills required.

How to make:

• If you have white ostrich feathers, dye them to your desired colour in a large pot or in the sink with some packet dye, then leave to dry. You can do the same with the skirt you intend to cover, too, so you keep it matching.

• Once dry, use fabric glue to attach lengths of the feathers along the bottom of the skirt, gluing all the way around. Use pins to hold the trim in place while it glues. To make a full feather skirt continue adding lengths in this way, all the way up to the top of the skirt.

• Once you get to the top, neaten up raw edges by gluing a wide ribbon to the waistband. Leave to dry completely before wearing.
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4. Feather Headdress

If you don't want to use real feathers, just use paper. This is a great project to do with kids, too.

How to make:

• To make a paper version of a feathered headdress, draw three different sized feather shapes onto a piece of thin card and cut out to make the templates. Place the smallest feather onto a piece of red paper, draw out five feathers and cut out. Use the medium feather to cut seven yellow feathers, then cut seven blue feathers using the large template.

• Measure and draw out a semicircle headdress shape onto the red paper and cut out. Draw round a two pence piece onto the blue paper and cut out five circles. Then draw round a penny onto the yellow paper and cut out five circles. Glue the circles to the headdress.

• Fold and score each of the feathers, snipping into the edges to create a 'feather' look. Then start gluing the feathers onto the headdress, starting with the red, then the yellow then the blue. Finally attach two lengths of thin elastic or string to either side with some sticky tape.
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5. Feather Nails

Nail art is massive and feather-inspired techniques, as seen on blog Syl and Sam, will give your talons the wow-factor.

How to make:

• Clean off any old polish first, then give your nails a coat of clear nail polish. Once dry, apply a second coat. Before this has dried, press a feather over the tacky nail varnish and hold in place for a minute or two.

• Once the feather has stuck, trim the excess from around the nail to neaten it up. Add a coat or two of clear topcoat over the feather to secure it in place. 
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6. Feather Shoes

Funk up a pair of strappy sandals with some matching feather trim, and get ready for some serious footwork.

How to make it:

• There are a couple of ways to achieve these embellished shoes. Either apply some strong glue to a length of feather trim and attach it to the top of your sandals or along the front if your shoes have a t-bar – take into account undoing the sandals when gluing in place.

• If you don’t fancy having feathers permanently attached to your shoes, then measure around your ankles and cut a length of feathers to slightly longer than this measurement. Glue (or stitch) on some Velcro to either of the two ends, then simply wrap them around your ankles and attach the Velcro whenever you want to wear.
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7. Feather Headband

This look as seen on Modcloth Blog is a bit more festival-chic, but it can work at Carnival, too. Delicate gold feathers are attached to a leather braid to create a stunning headband.

How to make it:

• Buy a variety of feather shapes onto a piece of thin card and cut out to make a template. Place the feather templates onto a piece of thin brass sheet metal and draw round with a pencil. Cut the feather shape out with scissors, then snip small 'V's into the perimeter, taking care of the sharp metal edges.

• Sand down the edges, then add small fold-over crimp ends to the tips of each feather – so that you can attach them to your cord – and press in place with pliers. Do this with all the feathers.

• Braid three pieces of leather cord together, ensuring they're long enough to go around your head. Either attach a clasp to the end of the braid or make it long enough to tie in a knot.

• Attach a jump ring through the plaited braid, hook on a feather, then use two small nose pliers to close the jump ring. Continue adding feathers to the braid in this way until you’ve arranged all the feathers. 
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8. Feathered Party Parakeet

Another great one for kids – create a feathered friend to adorn your wrist. As seen on blog Pop Goes the Page, these parakeets are simply made from a toilet roll, coloured paper and a pipe-cleaner.

How to make it:

• Wrap two pieces of coloured paper, one bigger than the other, around a toilet roll and glue in place to create the head and body.

• Cut a beak and a tummy shape from different coloured paper and stick down. Use two coloured dots for eyes, adding detail with a felt tip.

• Attach feathers to the head, two feathers for wings, and some at the bottom for tail feathers. Finally, use a hole punch to make two holes at the base of the toilet roll, feed a pipe-cleaner through and attach your party parakeet to your wrist.
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