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After the success of the Bellatrix-meets-Martha-Stewart post,  'How to make a Death Eater Mask,' I thought I'd post another How To.  This time I'll show you the steps of how to make a lurvely Harry Potter inspired quill.  If this becomes popular, I'll start posting more of my How To's, given I really enjoy crafting.

Just a taste of what's below the cut:



 




LIABILITY DISCLAIMER:  Don't sue me!  Craft at your own risk.  This project is inherently dangerous as it requires sharp, pointy objects.  Never cut towards yourself.  Always use a sharp blade.  And recap/close any open blades when not actively using one.

Cutting quills is messy.  And it's time consuming until you get into the groove of it.  Originally I had intended to cut enough quills to bring all the girls going to Hogsmeade Witches Weekend one as a prezzie.  *sigh*  That's not likely to happen.  Especially since Tink the house garden elf told me to bugger off.  But it is a rewarding and fun craft.  So be patient, take it easy, and go slowly - particularly when you're cutting.

First things first though.  Supplies.

For this project it's necessary to have:
- Feathers.  I used left and right wing goose feathers, but Turkey feathers work just as well.  I ordered them in bulk online from smileyme.com.  Left wing feathers work best for right handed people, just as right wing feathers work best for left handed people.  I spent $26.00 for 72 feathers, including postage.  You'll want to order more feathers than you need because not all of them are winners.

-Alum.  Alum is key to setting a quill and strengthening the shaft.  It's found in the spice aisle of most grocery stores. ($3.50)

-Cutting board

-Knives.  I used a mix of knives.  I found a good sharp exacto knife worked really well for cutting the slit of the nib, but my best tool was my utility knife.  The origins of 'pen knives' were that they were used to cut quills, but most pen knives now a days are blunt, silly things.  Do not use a serrated knife.

-Sand paper.  Fine grit sandpaper works well to smooth out the barrel and any imperfections.

-Acrylic paints and paint brushes.

Step 1:
Boil water.  I pulled out the tea kettle and let it boil.  I poured about a cup and a half into my crockware, and added a heaping tablespoon of alum to the brew.  Then the feather tips went into the crockware.  The process sets the shafts - hardens it a bit.  Some flexibility in a quill nib is good, but too soft and it's worthless to write with.  Let them sit and steam for a few minutes, then lay them out and allow them to air dry.  Some recommend throwing them in the oven at a low setting or even the microwave (ye gads!).  I set them out on the back porch. 
NOTE:  Yes, it will smell like you're cooking wet feathers.  Yes, it's nasty.


Step 2:
Cleaning the feathers.  This has got to be the nastiest part of the process.  There is a thin membrane covering the shaft of the feather, up until it turns white.  You need to strip that.  Using a knife just nicks your feather.  Honestly, the best instrument I used was my thumbnail.

Step 3:
Make a huge mess.  You're ready to cut your quill.  The lower fletching needs to be removed, the quill shaft spliced, the nib split, and shaped.  These guys here: http://www.regia.org/quill2.htm do a much better job at describing the process than I could.  What they don't tell you specifically to do is to lightly sand the feather down - and I recommend it.


One tip I do have to share about this, is use a small hook to pull out the feathery cartilage inside the shaft.  I have a small hook that I bought at Joanne's for turning a tube, and it worked wonders at pulling all that gunk out.


Step 4:
Once you've cut your quill, and are satisfied with your new writing implement, it's time to paint it!  Select your acrylics and water them down.  Darker colors work best because they pale out on the feather, but the feather will take a load of watery paint and even metalics fairly easily.  Please note that if the paint is too thick, the feather will be rigid when it dries.  I played around with House colors.  I made a 'Phoenix Feather,' a 'Hippogriff Feather,' and even a 'Blibbering Humdinger Feather.' 


Green and silver Slytherin Quill

Red and gold Gryffindor Quill

Black and silver fantasy Quill


I hope this inspires you to try your hand at making your own.   It's a lot of fun, and very satisfying. 

But if you would like me to make one especially for you, please contact me at apollinawrites@gmail.com

Happy Crafting!
AV




 

Date: 20 August 2009 12:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sbrande.livejournal.com
Awesome, though I don't have the time or the patience to make these, they look unreal.

Thanks for sharing babe!

Love Sonia :)

Date: 20 August 2009 06:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] apollinav.livejournal.com
Thank you! I'm glad you like them. Though they don't take that much effort really... once you get the lineup going.

Date: 20 August 2009 12:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mischievous-t.livejournal.com
Martha's got nuthin' on you, babe!

These are AMAZING!

Date: 20 August 2009 06:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] apollinav.livejournal.com
*grins* I don't know about amazing, but fun.

Thanks babe.

Date: 20 August 2009 12:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] karelia.livejournal.com
I'm totally in awe of your crafting skillz! *admires*

Date: 20 August 2009 06:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] apollinav.livejournal.com
Skillz are quite humble, I assure you. Then again this is coming from the master cheesemaker, so I'll take the compliment with a smile.

Date: 20 August 2009 01:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] droxy.livejournal.com
ok..hehehe

I get a big feather donated by the big ass birds in the back yard. I cut the bottom with sissors. Then I mutilate a ball point pen and shove it up the quill shaft for a fit test, if it doesnt fit, i then cut the ballpoint pen shaft. I coat the ball point pen shaft with glue and push it into the quill. No ink bottles.

The problem is these quills have a nasty habit of disappearing on me. I have no clue where they go.

I made Ollivander a quill and got quills at AZ and they are no where to be found. =(

At least I still have my big quill.

I want a big red quill for snape with a red ball point pen...hehe

Date: 20 August 2009 03:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mischievous-t.livejournal.com
The ball point insert is brillz.

Date: 20 August 2009 03:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] droxy.livejournal.com
I want a functional ever filling quill...=)

Date: 20 August 2009 07:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] apollinav.livejournal.com
*nods* I get that, I do. And your methodology, whilst simplistic, works. I fancy dipping the quill and all the trappings that go with it.

Date: 20 August 2009 07:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] droxy.livejournal.com
Hee- yes and you have a pretty writing style. I scrawl. I am also on the move. I can't carry the ink well at a con, which is why the ball point quill works for me. =)

Date: 20 August 2009 01:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mischievous-t.livejournal.com
Btw, I lurve the wall color in the background of the first pic!

Date: 20 August 2009 07:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] apollinav.livejournal.com
Ha! The wall color is cream. The flash just didn't go off quite right there. But I liked the effect, so I kept it.

Date: 20 August 2009 01:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kosmickway.livejournal.com
you are too damn crafty! way cool!

Date: 20 August 2009 07:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] apollinav.livejournal.com
*cackles* I've been telling people I'm a crafty bitch for years. Thanks m'dear.

Date: 20 August 2009 02:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dixiebell12.livejournal.com
Awesome! I will definitely be making some when I get home from Chicago ;)

Hugs,
Dix

Date: 20 August 2009 07:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] apollinav.livejournal.com
Oooh, I'd love to see pics when you're done. I think you mentioned Turkey feathers.

And it would give hubby an excuse to shoot something. Not that one is needed.

Date: 20 August 2009 03:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] slytherinlaurel.livejournal.com
Wow! These are beautiful! As someone not craftily inclined, I am even more impressed.

Date: 20 August 2009 07:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] apollinav.livejournal.com
Why thank you love! It's not that difficult, even for non-crafty folk. It's just time consuming.

Date: 20 August 2009 09:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] juno-magic.livejournal.com
Wow, those are COOL. Thanks for sharing this how-to.

*is seriously tempted*

Date: 20 August 2009 07:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] apollinav.livejournal.com
Great! If you do, please share pics. I had a lot of fun, and once the process was nailed down I was able to churn quite a few out.

Date: 20 August 2009 12:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] clairvoyant12.livejournal.com
I glanced at your post last night as I was scrolling through my friend's page. I thought, 'When does AV have the time to make Hogwarts house quilts? Does she ever sleep? Does she drink too much caffeine?'

It was when I actually took the time to read your entry that I knew it was time for new glasses. I saw those mad craftin' skilz at work again. You are the southern Martha Stewart! Very pretty quills. *g*

Date: 20 August 2009 07:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] apollinav.livejournal.com
*grins* Lots of caffeine. Lots of Oooh Shiny projects.


And I don't quilt. They take forever. I don't have that kind of attention span... Oooh Shiny...

Date: 20 August 2009 07:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] clairvoyant12.livejournal.com
Where do you find these websites? How to cut a quill? Custom corset generators? You crack me up, AV. :D

I bet if you gave Tink a pack of smokes, she would have helped you with the project, swearing under her breath the whole time, though.

Date: 26 August 2009 04:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kierkegaardwife.livejournal.com
"NOTE: Yes, it will smell like you're cooking wet feathers. Yes, it's nasty."

True that, LOL, seriously. There might be a few worse smells in the world.

xx

Date: 27 August 2009 12:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] apollinav.livejournal.com
*nods* It's best to do the whole lot at once, and throw on a fan.

Date: 30 August 2009 03:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] m-mcgonagall-65.livejournal.com
These look great! Just wanted to say that I enjoyed meeting you in Chicago. Okay if I friend you?

Date: 30 August 2009 03:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] apollinav.livejournal.com
Absolutely! I would love it. It was so much fun meeting you in Chicago. I can't wait to do it again.

Date: 4 September 2009 04:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] miamadwyn.livejournal.com
How did I miss this?!? And I've even researched this for my ofic, but seeing your handy-dandy how-to is tres cool!

Date: 4 September 2009 07:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] apollinav.livejournal.com
Yay! I'm so glad you found this useful.

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