Venture into the captivating realm of macrame, a fiber art technique resurging in popularity, and discover the effortless elegance of the macrame feather. Perfect for bohemian home decor and an ideal starting point for beginners, these feathers are as easy to craft as they are charming. Not just a delightful addition to your space, they also make for thoughtful handmade gifts. This guide provides a comprehensive roadmap to creating your own macrame feather, outlining the perfect cords to use and a step-by-step approach to crafting feathers of various sizes.
What is Macrame Feather?
The art of macrame, rooted in the ancient technique of ornamental knotting, allows the creation of intricate patterns with cords or threads. The term ‘macrame’ itself is derived from the Arabic word ‘migramah’, denoting ‘fringe.’ In the realm of macrame, a ‘feather’ is a design mirroring the shape and texture of a real feather, achieved through this unique knotting method.
Macrame feathers serve as versatile elements, fitting seamlessly into diverse decor styles and spaces. These feathers can enhance wall hangings, act as charming bookmarks, or even be woven into jewelry. The potential uses of macrame feathers are bound only by your imagination.
Supplies You’ll Need to Make Macrame Feathers
1. Macrame cord
Creating macrame feathers requires the right supplies, and the most crucial among these is the macrame cord. It’s important to note that this project calls for actual macrame cord, not alternatives like clothesline or other cords. The reason for this is simple – the hallmark of macrame feathers is their beautifully frayed edges, achievable only with a cord that can unravel.
The thickness of the cord you opt for doesn’t particularly matter in the creation of macrame feathers, but it will indeed impact the center’s thickness. For instance, a feather made using a 5mm single strand cord will have a slightly thicker center compared to one created with a 3mm single strand cord. Therefore, choosing the right macrame cord size depends on your aesthetic preference for the feather’s appearance.
2. Sharp Scissors
The importance of sharp scissors in crafting macrame feathers cannot be overstated. Given the thickness of macrame cord, particularly when it comes to the final feather trimming, dull scissors could lead to complications. To maintain the utmost precision in your crafting, it’s advisable to invest in a pair of scissors dedicated solely to your macrame projects. High-quality scissors will ensure clean, neat cuts and contribute to the overall quality of your macrame feathers.
3. Measurement Tool
This might initially sound peculiar. However, in the context of making macrame feathers, a traditional measuring tape might not always be your best option. Two main reasons contribute to this. First, measuring individual pieces of cord for larger feathers can be a time-consuming task. Second, achieving uniformity in cord size can prove challenging.
Instead, a more efficient method involves wrapping your cord around an object of the same size as your desired cut pieces. For instance, if you aim to cut 7″ pieces, you could use a small 7″ wide wood cutting board. After sufficient wraps, slide the cord off and cut at the top and bottom, providing you with a stack of identically sized cord pieces in an instant.
If a small cutting board isn’t at your disposal, other alternatives like a sturdy piece of heavy cardboard or a book can be just as effective. The goal is to use an object robust enough to wrap the cord around, streamlining your cord cutting process.
3. Wire Pet Brush
The inclusion of a pet supply item in your macrame toolkit might seem peculiar at first, but a wire pet brush plays a significant role in creating the perfect macrame feathers. This brush, or even a simple comb, helps fluff out the feather edges, providing that desired wispy look.
While you could certainly get by with a regular plastic comb, a wire pet brush often yields better results. These brushes, also known as slicker brushes, are readily available and highly affordable, typically priced under $10. The unique bristles are ideal for teasing out the cord fibers, adding that feather-like texture to your macrame masterpiece.
4. Fabric Stiffener (Optional)
Depending on the cord’s texture, the final size of your feathers, and your personal aesthetic preference, you might consider using fabric stiffener. Some cords are softer, causing the completed feather to droop when hung. Fabric stiffener provides rigidity, ensuring your feathers maintain their shape.
While some crafters recommend using hairspray to stiffen their feathers, this method’s effectiveness remains debatable. Additionally, there could be concerns about the feathers remaining sticky post-application. If you choose to use hairspray, proceed with caution and ideally try it out on a test piece first. In contrast, fabric stiffener is designed specifically for such crafting needs, offering reliability and optimal results.
How to Make Different Sizes of Macrame Feathers
The versatility of macrame feathers allows you to experiment with various sizes, enhancing your creative freedom. Altering the feather size is as simple as using a longer center cord and increasing the number of cords along its length.
For larger feathers, consider using thicker cord or even doubling up on smaller rope, especially if you have an excess. However, for substantial macrame feathers, applying felt to the back can offer additional stability, ensuring the fringe maintains its placement. While fabric stiffener offers some support, backing with felt can provide an added layer of security.
Among the variety of cords available, including 3 ply macrame rope, braided macrame cord, and others made from hemp, jute, or synthetic materials, the single strand cotton macrame cord stands out. It’s a great choice, particularly for wall hangings or any project that requires frayed fringes.
Moreover, this type of cord comes in a myriad of colors, providing ample scope for creativity. Feel free to craft feathers in multiple hues or even dip dye your feathers for a unique aesthetic touch. For instance, using Indigo dye can lend a distinctive color and pattern to your macrame feathers.
How to Make Macrame Feathers
Crafting macrame feathers might seem complex, but it’s a straightforward process. Just follow these simple steps and bring your macrame feathers to life.
Step 1: Begin with your longest cord, folding it in half. This serves as the ‘spine’ of your feather. Next, take another long cord, fold it, and place it perpendicularly underneath the spine to the right.
Step 2: Fold another long cord in half and pass it through the loop of the first cord over the feather’s spine.
Step 3: Thread the ends of the first cord through the loop of the second. Now, you should see something that resembles the third picture.
Step 4: Pull the cords tight to secure your first knot on the spine.
Step 5: Repeat steps 1-4, but switch sides. Place the loop on the left instead of the right this time.
Step 6: Fold another cord, loop it through the left loop, pulling the ends upward through this loop.
Step 7: Tighten each cord, alternating sides. Once you’ve used up your longest cords, switch to your medium cords, and finally your smallest cords, maintaining the same process.
Step 8: By this point, your feather should be taking shape.
Step 9: Now, brush out your cords using your wire brush, creating a fringe effect. Make sure to hold the spine so you don’t accidentally detach any knots. Trim the spine if necessary to ensure a neat appearance.
Step 10: After brushing out all cords, use scissors to shape your feather.
Step 11: Spray your feather with a stiffening spray to ensure it hangs flat.
These steps are applicable for feathers of any size. The final step to complete your wall hanging is to attach your crafted, stiffened feathers to a dowel or stick. Remember, without stiffening, your feathers may be too floppy. Alternatively, you can create a framed picture of your macrame feathers by gluing them to a piece of foam board or heavy cardstock.
Crafting a macrame feather is an immersive and rewarding venture, offering endless opportunities to add a personal touch to your decor. Whether you’re a beginner or a macrame maestro, the process outlined on BeanDaikon allows you to craft unique, boho-inspired creations. So, dive into the fascinating world of macrame feathers, harness your creativity, and explore the untapped possibilities of this traditional art form.