How to Make a Macramé Feather
Are you looking for that something special to add a wisp of whimsy to your wall? Or simply hoping to add to your bountiful boho collection? Either way, these feathers have got you covered. They are a perfect entry point into the world of macramé , even if you’ve never forayed into it, and look so professional that you’ll have everyone asking where you bought them. Be careful… it won’t be long before everyone’s asking for some!
There are so many different types of cord to choose from on the market, but for this project, I recommend a single twist cotton. This means that the fibers are all softly twisted around each other, making it very easy to brush out. If you choose a triple twist cord (three single twist strands twisted together) you will end up with a wavy feather. Do not use any type of braided cord — they are impossible to brush out!
So, what will you need to get started on this project?
- Your choice of macramé cord — you can stick with one color or mix two
- Some sharp scissors
- Masking tape
- A pet brush or a fine-toothed comb
- A stick to hang your finished feathers on and pull together your beautiful wall art
Note: If you decide to use two colors, it is up to you how you would like to mix them. A good place to start is half and half. After you have made one, you can adjust this based on your own preference. Remember that the bottom half will be the same color as your feather’s spine!
How to create the macramé
Step 1: Decide how long you would like your feathers to hang. For this project, I chose to make one centered feather the longest and add two shorter and smaller feathers on either side. This will be a personal preference. When you have decided on your length add 2cm allowance for attaching to your stick and 2cm for your initial overhand knot. Once you have your final measurement double it and you are ready. This is your feather’s spine.
Step 2: Decide how wide you would like your feather to be. This measurement will give you the length of your perpendicular strands. It will also give you the length that you need to leave at the bottom of your feather. For this project, I used twenty-eight 20cm perpendicular cords for the large feather and twenty-two 16cm ones for the smaller feathers.
Step 3: Now that you have decided on your feather’s width, you can tie your overhand knot at the bottom to stop any of your perpendicular cords from sliding off. Before you pull it tight you may need to slide it up or down a little so that it is the same length as your perpendicular cords folded in half. Tape the top of the spine to your work surface with masking tape to keep it still while you add the perpendicular cords.
Step 4: Now to give your feather some girth! Start by folding two of your perpendicular cords in half and laying one on top of the feather’s spine and one underneath. Pull the ends of the cords through the loops made on either end. Pull tight and slide down to sit on top of your overhand knot. With the next pair, reverse the order laying the opposite side on top so that the visible cord alternates with each pair (if you start with the left side underneath, next time put the left on the top).
Step 5: Once you are happy with the height of your feather, it is time for the initial trim — I say initial because these feathers require several!
Arrange the cords
Arrange the cords so that there aren’t any crossing over each other, and trim it to the rough shape you are looking for. If you want to avoid an overly triangular shape start to angle the curve back towards the spine from about the third layer from the top. This is where it is helpful to have a very sharp pair of scissors. You don’t want the scissors to be pushing the cords around, rather cutting them right where you have arranged them.
Step 6: Time to brush! I find that the most useful brush for macramé fringing is a pet brush — specifically a cat brush. I have commandeered my cat’s one so have had to get him a new one! It’s all worth it though as those fine bristles create the silkiest fringe. If you don’t have a pet brush on hand a fine-toothed comb will work just fine, you may need to give it a few extra brushes is all. As you start to brush you will find that the strands tend to curl in on each other. Just keep brushing from the center of the spine out to the edge, flattening it with your hand as you go if need be. Be aware that the fibers can easily cross over each other at this point so keep checking and readjusting wherever needed.
Step 7: Now that you have a lovely silky fringe for your feather it’s time for the definitive trim. I recommend trimming a little bit at a time, evening out the sides gradually to ensure you don’t cut too much. There are loads of different shapes you can make your feathers; long and thin, wide, tapered and curved. I like mine to be on the wider side, curving slightly inwards at the top.
Step 8: In order to attach your feathers to your stick fold the top of the spine over your stick, then pull the feather through the loop on the other side. This is called a lark’s head knot and is one of the most common ways of attaching macramé cords. This process might ruffle your feathers slightly; if so, give them another brush.
Give it a final trim
Step 9: When your wall hanging is in its final place of display, I find it helpful to give it one final brush and light trim should any of the fibers have moved around in the process. It helps to keep those clean crisp lines looking perfect.
So, there you have it! These feathers are unbelievably versatile; you can make a large wall hanging with many feathers or a single large feather as a statement piece. You can make small feathers as mini decorations or add them to a larger piece of work to complement it.