Beautiful, wispy macrame feathers have been clogging up my social media feeds as of late - but I'm not mad about it. They're incredibly beautiful and I've definitely found myself bookmarking them to purchase later, to hang in the kids' room. But of course, I was also curious to know how they were made. How in the world do you achieve that perfectly soft fringe?! Well, thanks to Damaris Kovach's amazing tutorial, I finally got all the answers. And it involves a cat brush. Enough said. Honestly though, the possibilities are endless here and I can't wait to play around with this technique more. But in the meantime, I hope I'll inspire you to make these at home.
For a medium sized feather, cut:
- 1 32" strand for the sprine
- 10-12 14" strands for the top
- 8-10 12" strands for the middle
- 6-8 10" strands for the bottom
Fold the 32" strand in half. Take one of the 14" strands, fold it in half and tuck it under the spine.
Take another 14" strand, fold it in half and insert it into the loop of the top horizontal strand. Pull it through and lay it horizontally, on top of the opposing strand.
Now pull the bottom strands all the way through the top loop. This is your knot!
Pull both sides tightly. On the next row, you'll alternate the starting side. So if you laid the horizontal strand from left to right the first time, you'll lay the horizontal strand from right to left next.
Lay the first folded strand under the spine, thread another folded strand into its loop. Pull the lower strands through the top loop. And tighten.
Keep going and work gradually down in size.
Be sure to push the strands up to tighten - grab the bottom of the middle (spine) strand with one hand and with another, push the strands up. Once you're done, drag the fringe downwards to meet the bottom of the middle strand.
Then, give it a rough trim. This not only helps guide the shape but also helps with brushing the strands out. The shorter the strands, the easier, to be honest. It also helps to have a very sharp pair of fabric shears!
After a rough trim, place the feather on a durable surface as you'll be using an animal brush to brush out the cording. The brush will damage any delicate or wood surface so I suggest using a self healing cutting mat or even a flattened cardboard box.
When brushing, start at the spine and push hard into the cording when brushing. It'll take several hard strokes to get that beautiful, soft fringe.
Work your way down. When you're at the bottom, hold the bottom of the spine while brushing - you don't want the brush to yank any strands off!
Next, you'll want to stiffen the feather. The cording is so soft that it'll just flop if you pick it up and try to hang it. Give it spray, or two, and allow to try for at least a couple of hours.
Once your feather has stiffened up a bit, you can now go back and give it a final trim. This, I would say, is the most challenging part. Take it easy. It's better to trim less than more! And you might need to adjust your trim depending on how often you're moving the piece. Once you're done trimming, you can even give it another stray of fabric stiffener for good measure. And then, you'll be ready to hang your piece!