Stunning Watercolor Feathers

Craft feathers are delightful. But they’re so light that they fly everywhere, they’re hard to glue, and they tend to shed. Enter the watercolor feather! I discovered these last year while running a summer program for 1st-4th graders. Although I’m not sure who loved this project more… me or them! They’re so much sturdier, and while not 100 percent realistic they are absolutely stunning. I’ll share a few of the uses we found for them below, but really the sky is the limit with these beauties.

Materials Needed:

  • Cardstock, posterboard, or heavy watercolor paper
  • Watercolors
  • Scissors
  • Pencil

Prepare the Project:

Draw as many simple feather shapes as you can fit on the paper, including a pencil line down the center of the feather. Older kids may be able to do this themselves.

Make Some Art:

  • Paint the feathers! Don’t worry about going outside the lines, you’ll be cutting them out.
  • Experiment with designs, patterns, color mixing, and using more/less water. You really can’t go wrong.

  • Cut out the feather shapes.
  • Cut the barbs with short downward strokes toward the center of the feather. This is the trickiest part and can take a bit of practice to get the hang of; depending on the age of the kids you’re working with they may or may not need your help. (If you accidentally cut straight through a feather, just tape the back and keep going!)

  • Revel in the beauty of your feathers!

As for what to do with them… here are a few projects we made:

This is an archeopteryx from a dinosaur unit. A year later I still have this hanging in my office!

A simple hanging mobile with a found stick and some twine. I may do a separate tutorial on this one, which I also still have hanging in my office. I’m a little obsessed with these feathers. ;)

If you do this project, please take photos and share them with me! I would love to see, and I’d love to start a gallery with submitted photos of art projects.

Pssst… have you signed up for your FREE art project download yet?

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