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Monday, February 3, 2014

Painted Feathers - Dream Catcher

So, recently, I have developed a “thing” for dream catchers!

I have always liked them, but of late they have shown up for me all over the place, even in my dreams. A girl can take a hint!

Even though initially, I didn’t know what to do with it, once I relaxed into the notion of making myself a completely personalized dream catcher, ideas started to tumble in left, right and center.

Not only that, it all fell into place!

For years now, I have had this empty spot above my bed. It has never really happened to me before, that I couldn’t easily find a "decorating solution.” Sure , sometimes I would put something some place, then a while later find something better, but I’ve never had a spot where just nothing felt right! Except for that space above my bed! Anything I have put there, just didn’t feel right. It didn’t belong there.

But after listening to the whispers about the dream catcher, and we’re talking quite a big one, it is finally clear that this is what that empty wall has been waiting for!


So, I went and looked for some more unconventional dream catchers on the web for further inspiration and what a treasure trove I found!


Let me share just a few with you:

I was so inspired by this amazing dream catcher, made by Rachel Rice! Isn't it just gorgeous? It set all sorts of idea wheels in motion in my brain!

And I love the organic shape of this one.  It’s flowing and multi-level and just amazing!

And this one - so pretty! And all made from paper!
And one last one - so colorful and more unusual!


I’m hoping to make mine somewhere in between all of them, even though I will keep it in more neutral tones, with a few pops of color.


This is going to be quite the labor of love, and an ongoing project for a while, but I am already having so much fun with it.  So far I’ve wrapped the hoop in suede bands and stretched the crochet inside of it!

The hoop is 14” and was a left-over from my pantry project many years ago! I had used the hoops around the lazy susans, to stop the cans from sliding off!



I’ve been going through my little treasures, to find things that I want to incorporate in that dream catcher “dangles.”. It has been such fun picking out things that felt like they wanted to be part of it. Crystals, gems, lace, rocks, beads - yes, all of it will be part of the dream catcher.



And feathers.

Feathers will be playing a big part, as they often do in dream catchers.

I also want to incorporate my word for the year (courage) into the dream catcher, as well as some other words and phrases that are important reminders to me.

Initially I thought I’d make some paper feathers from some of my art work and write the words on there, and I may still do that in addition, but then I remembered seeing words written on actual feathers somewhere and I just HAD to try it!

The perfectionist in me was quite exasperated with my haphazard approach of “just trying it” and felt very strongly that I should be doing some good research on this first. Watch some tutorials. You know, learn how to “do it right!”

But, I’m happy to report that she really didn’t get a say in this, as I just wanted to go and try it! 

And it’s so much easier than I thought!



I am seriously in love with this and I think there will be many more stamped, decorated and otherwise made meaningful feathers before my dream catcher is all said and done!

As my first one, I used a somewhat more ragged looking feather, just in case it all goes wrong. However, it didn’t go wrong and I love the less-than-perfect edges!


Ok, let’s get started.

You will need: some tape, a small brush and just about any medium, paint etc. you want, as long as it’s not water based. So, acrylic paint is fine, acrylic ink is fine, solvent ink pads are good, oil based pens, glitter pens, metallic paint and pens, sharpies, alcohol ink - whatever you have on hand.

If you have none of the above, glue and glitter will work too. Stickles are great for this, as is just some glue and perfect pearl powder.

Failing that, glue and glimmering eye shadow will do the trick too.

See what I mean about this being versatile?

And if  you are going to stamp your feather, you’ll need some stamps, of course.

I would also recommend a clear, glossy fixative spray.  It will keep everything nicely adhered to the feather once you’re done and really brings out the depth of color on your writing/drawing on the feather. Acrylics tend to dry a little dull on a feather, so this will take care of that!


1. Tape down your feather to your work surface. Try and do this as gently as possible and as much on the edge as possible, to give yourself maximum working space. Make sure you catch enough of the edges though to keep your feather steady and all the little feathery bits in place.



2. Start decorating. I started at the end of the feather, then did the word later, but you can start anywhere you like.

On this feather I used Pearlescent acrylic ink, gold stickles, diamond stickles and some of the glue and perfect pearl powder mix I used for the word.



3. Writing. I made up a tiny bit of of a paste of mod podge and some gold perfect pearls powder and mixed it together. Then I wrote the word “courage” on the feather. At first, very faintly, with just a tiny bit of water, so if I made a mistake I could maybe wipe it off.

Then I went over it again, this time with a stronger mix, just to strengthen it.



You could also brush your feather with mod podge or Elmer’s glue, or write in Elmer’s glue, or paint patterns in glue, then sprinkle some glitter on, shake it off and let it dry!


4. Let it dry. The stickles took a while to dry, but I LOVE the raised quality! So shiny and they look almost like little beads! Love it!



5. Seal it. My last step was to give both sides of the feather a couple of spray coatings with a clear, acrylic fixative spray. Do this outside though please, this stuff stinks!

And voila! Here’s the finished feather!



And here’s another!


This one I stamped, sprayed with alcohol inks, decorated with sharpies and stickles. I haven’t sprayed it with the fixative yet however, hence it’s still looking a little dull!

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  1. That is absolutely fabulous! Makes me wanna try and see what result I get! :)

  2. Try it, Christina! It's so much fun!

  3. Innovative and eye-catching. Beautiful photography also. I see I have more to learn. :)
    Betsy at PaperCalliope.com

  4. Wow, the feathers are wonderful! I also very much love dream catchers. I used to own a big traditional one that I brought with me from Texas, when I came back to Germany. I also made a few, but they were always rather traditional looking. The ones you showed were so inspiring - I want to make my own version of one, too! How fun! Will have to start collecting little bits and pieces ... :-)

  5. I'd love to see your finished dream catcher, Ursula! And the process is so much fun too! Treassure hunting included :)


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