A Flight of Fancy: How to "Be-feather" Accessories
by Jamie Smedley, Marketing Content Development Group, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®
Feathers are a little bit flapper, a pinch of showgirl and a glimpse of bohemian beauty. Overall, they are a lot of fun that can be worn in a variety of ways. They can be integrated into jewelry designs, printed or stamped in bright colors onto clothing or added as accents onto shoes, belts and bags. Displayed as a leading trend on the runways, the look is now accessible to wear everyday with an easy-to-understand guide pointing you in the right direction. Read more to be inspired by the different ways you can include the feather trend into your jewelry.
Top 3 Ways to Wear Feathers
Feathers in Jewelry
Feathers are seen on many types of jewelry. Designers are applying feathers to earring, bracelet and necklace designs in a variety of ways. Feathers are layered to create colorful mosaics or banded designs. While some designs are less structured and include materials such as metal wire-wrapping, chains and large chunky gemstone beads as counterweights.
Feathers on Hair Accessories
Feathered barrettes and headbands, often referred to as fascinators, along with bobby pin clips are creating quite a resurgence. Designs ranging from structured and vintage-inspired to freeform bohemian styles are worn everyday, as well as for special occasions and weddings.
Feathers on Clothing
Feathers are also being used to adorn clothing by being hand sewn onto skirts and dresses or skinny-strapped chemise tops and cardigan necklines. Feathers can be a bright spot of wispy color along hemlines or add interest to single-shouldered necklines. Elaborate rosettes of feathers are also glued or sewn into concentric circles, creating a cameo-style medallion on skirts and jacket lapels.
Ways to Attach Feathers to Jewelry Designs
The simplest way to attach feathers to jewelry is to use crimp tubes with a loop. Insert the end of a de-fluffed and trimmed feather into the tube and crimp down with crimp pliers. Then use the loop to attach to earrings and necklaces.
Another method is to cover the feather end with a cord end. This method is good if you want to have a couple layers of feathers held together.
A glue on fold-over bail is great for concealing the feather quill with a stylish metal component that can be attached to earrings and necklaces with a jumpring.
Feathers can be used to create pluming tassel styles by gluing them inside bead cones. Once the cone bead has been wrapped with a headpin, fill the bead cone with adhesive and insert the feathers into the adhesive. Set aside until the adhesive is dry, then use the loop to apply the plumed cone to jewelry designs.
Feather quills can be wire-wrapped with sterling silver and gold-filled wire. Dead-soft is the best wire to use because it requires minimal pressure to mold it around fragile feather ends.
Feather ends can be knotted with hemp and satin cord. Applying a drop of glue to the feather and cord before the knot is tightened will ensure that the knot stays firm and the feather is securely held in place.
Cord coils are a fast and easy way to secure a feather to earwires and necklace designs. Feather ends can be glued into the coil, or the coil can be squeezed onto the feather end. Larger coils can accommodate larger or multiple feather ends for layered designs.
Prepare feathers for use in jewelry by removing most of the downy fluff from the quill and trimming the end of the quill down to fit your finding. Feathers can be overlapped, layered and fanned out in striking designs that mix colors and patterns. White feathers can be especially exciting because they have a blank canvas that can be painted, drawn on with permanent marker or airbrushed. Swarovski crystal flat backs and cabochons can also be glued on to the flat surfaces of feathers.
Create unlimited combinations when mixing and matching feathers from different birds with a wide array of colors and patterns. Feathers can be coordinated with vivid gemstone and crystal beads and precious metal chains and beads. You can also add gravity to featherweight designs with chain dangles and charms.
We would like to share some of the customer comments we received in response to the article, "A Flight of Fancy," featured in a newsletter. Please keep in mind that the comments expressed below are those of our customers and do not reflect the views of Fire Mountain Gems and Beads.
"Loved the ideas of making jewelry with feathers. Keep the ideas coming!!!!"
"Hi. I thought an article on feathers was a great idea, but is there any possibility of adding information on how to clean them/care for them? Thanks!"
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