by Laura BlackFeather, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®
''Plumes and Pearls'' Feathered Headband
Plumes are in full bloom this season with feathered hair bands soaring in popularity. It's the hottest red-carpet look celebrities are opting for with up-dos, low side ponytails and short hair styles. A simple, inexpensive headband can be easily transformed into an Oscar-winning work of art that's versatile enough to wear beyond your big day for formal occasions, holidays and special nights on the town.
Select feathers in neutral colors that coordinate with your dress. Iridescent peacock fringe and Guinea feathers are two designer favorites, with pheasant plumes offering elegant background sprays for added dimension. Marabou-style turkey feathers (white feathers used in Design Idea above) add eye-catching fluff for a touch of whimsy.
Choose a narrow headband in a neutral color, available in local department stores.
Banding the Feathers
Separate feathers into two groups for each type of feather selected for your design, and bundle together at the base of the quills using Nymo® beading thread size D. For best results, wrap the feather base multiple times, forming a wrapped band approximately 1/2 inch to 1-inch wide.
Once each type of feather has been bundled into two groups, pair like with like and bundle each group of two together to form each side of the feather piece. Do this by overlapping the banded sections of each of the two and creating a new wrapped band that encompasses both existing bands.
Repeat for each group of like feathers.
Creating the Design
Experiment with each of the feather bundles to determine how you'd like them featured together. Once you've decided, start with the group of feathers you'd like as your base. Band your next group of feathers to that base and continue adding groups and banding as you go so your end result is one complete bundle of feathers to add to your headband. NOTE: banding feathers together in this manner keeps them secure so they will stay in place over time and wear.
Attaching to Headband
Using E-6000® adhesive, squeeze a line of glue onto your completed feather bundle over the entire banded segment on the bottom, or base, of the bundle. Apply to headband, slightly offset to either side of the center, and let dry completely.
String cultured freshwater pearls, in your desired color and shape, onto a 10-inch segment of Nymo beading thread. Knot stringing end to hold beads in place but leave other end open. When your headband is completely dry, test the length of your pearl strand by wrapping around the headband and feather bundle. Both ends of the strand should be concealed on the back of the headband. Add or remove beads as needed.
When you've reached your desired length for the pearl strand, knot the open end of the thread to secure beads in place. Apply a generous amount of E-6000 adhesive to the underside of the headband. Starting on the underside of the headband, wrap the pearl strand around the headband and feather bundle, and continue wrapping until the end of the strand reaches around to the underside of the headband. Tie the two ends together and gently press the pearls into the glue. Let set until completely dry.
Bring headpiece with you to your hair and make-up style consultation and be prepared to wow the crowd. Pair with cultured freshwater pearl dangle earrings (like Design Idea 811A) for a head-turning ensemble.