How to Make a Paper Feather Wreath

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and that means it’s the perfect time to incorporate hearts into your mixed-media artwork. This lovely heart-shaped paper feather wreath was designed by artist Julie Fei-Fan Balzer and featured on the cover of our special issue, I {Heart} Paper. Follow Julie’s tutorial below to create your own!

Feather Wreath
Julie Fei-Fan Balzer’s paper feather wreath (Photos by Sharon White Photography)

Feather Wreath by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer

I saw a package of beautiful paper feathers in a store and I wanted to take them home, but they were pricey. I left them behind, but I couldn’t forget about them. So I went into my studio to see if I could make some paper feathers with what I had on hand. My  first feathers were very simple and plain—just deli paper and wire. As I figured out the structure, I began to get fancy, adding color and stamping.

When I started to put this wreath together, I realized that the transparency of the deli paper was working against me. Those feathers looked great on their own, but once they were clumped together on the wreath armature, they didn’t look good anymore. I turned to one of my favorite kinds of paper: book pages. The book pages were fragile and started ripping, but I found a solution: washi tape. Necessity truly is the mother of invention. In the end, I think the washi tape makes the feathers much more interesting.

I wanted the wreath to be bold and clean, so I strictly kept everything to a black-and-white color scheme and I love the result!

Materials

  • Scissors
  • Book pages
  • Washi tape
  • Matte medium
  • Craft wire, 20-gauge
  • Glue (I used Ranger Glossy Accents™.)
  • Armature wire, for the wreath base
  • Pliers
  • Optional:
    • Paintbrush
    • Wire snips
    • Teflon® craft sheet
    • Bench block and hammer

Directions

1. Cut a basic feather shape from a book page. (FIGURE 1)

2. Adhere washi tape to the feather shape, focusing it along what will become the spine of the feather and in other select areas. Wrap the tape around the edges of the feather shape in places where the tape extends over the edge. (FIGURE 2) The washi tape adds strength to the book page so that it doesn’t tear when you adhere the wire spine to it.

FIGURE 1 and FIGURE 2

3. Apply a thin coat of matte medium with your fingers (or a paintbrush if you want) to both sides of the feather to ensure that the washi tape stays in place. Allow to dry.

NOTE: One of the great things about washi tape is that it’s removable. However, this can be a negative if you want it to stay put. Matte medium makes the tape stick permanently.

4. Cut a piece of craft wire slightly longer than the feather. Most craft wire can be cut with scissors. You can also use wire snips.

5. Apply Glossy Accents (or another heavy-duty adhesive) along the wire. Press the wire to the back side of the feather shape. (FIGURE 3)

6. Flip the feather shape over so that the wire is against the work surface. Use your fingernails to press along both sides of the wire, through the front of the book page, creating a groove for the wire to sit in.

NOTE: I like to work on a Teflon craft sheet so that the feather doesn’t stick to my work surface.

7. Flip the feather over and let dry.

TIP: If the wire isn’t staying put, use a bit of washi tape to hold it in place, especially at the ends.

8. Once the wire has dried in place, use the scissors to cut angled fringe along the edges, thus creating the feather. (FIGURE 4)

FIGURE 3 and FIGURE 4

9. Use your hands to shape a piece of armature wire into a heart. Fasten the ends together by creating a loop at each end and then wrapping the loose ends around each other. (FIGURE 5)

TIP: Hammer the heart wire using a bench block and a hammer if you want to make the armature firmer. This is known as “work hardening.” You may end up flattening out the wire a bit, but it won’t show, so it doesn’t really matter.

10. Attach the individual feathers to the wire heart by wrapping the ends of their wire spines around the armature. (FIGURE 5)

FIGURE 5

11. Fill the wreath with feathers until you’re happy with the results. You can play with the look of the feathers by bending and layering them.


Julie Fei-Fan Balzer is a working artist living in the Boston, Massachusetts, area. You can read her blog, listen to her podcast, check out her YouTube videos, and follow her artistic explorations on Instagram.


Love paper art? Check out this tutorial for another fun paper art project! Plus, don’t miss these great products:

I {Heart} Paper is a feast for the eyes and a menu for creative adventures. The articles focus on paper reimagined into fantastic, beautiful, and/or purpose-filled items such as wreaths, collage, sculpture, artist cards, party and home décor, and so much more!
This issue of Paper Art magazine, the follow-up to I {Heart} Paper, features 18 cutting, folding, painting, and molding projects.

Categories

Blog, Mixed-Media Techniques, Paper Art and Zen Doodle

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