I can't put it off any longer. It's time to figure out how to make the golden crown for the crane's head. Continue reading to learn more.
Someone suggested that I make the crown from fiber optics. This seemed like a really good idea at first. I could imagine how fun it would be to have a crown that could light up.
I spent about $100 on fiber optic supplies -- several yards of filament, wire, illuminators, switches, batteries and casings -- plus about two weeks of agonizingly trying to figure out how to attach all this hardware to the bird without throwing it off balance or adding bulk to the slender neck and legs. Plus, the battery casings, switches and illuminators need to be accessible, but they're too big to hide under the feathers. The only practical solution I could come up with was to mount the birds on a wood base, and run the wires down the legs and through a hole in the base to a battery pack and switch underneath. But the legs aren't hollow, so the wires would show unless I re-wrap the legs to disguise them, which would make the legs much too thick. And that still wouldn't solve the problem of where to put the illuminator. which would need to be the size of a small flashlight in order to light up several dozen strands of filament.
Sigh. Can you see my dilemma?
I finally gave up on the fiber optics idea. It didn't seem worth the trouble and expense just to make the crown light up.
But it wasn't a total loss, because I discovered that the fiber optic filaments are the perfect size and stiffness for the crown.
So I cut the filaments into about 50 4-inch pieces, and painted them with glittery metallic gold nail enamel. Here they are, drying.
My next puzzler: How to attach the filaments to the head?
The solution I came up with was Polymer clay. I shaped the clay into a small mound that would fit inside the top of the bird's head. I stuck the painted filaments into the clay, and arranged them into a somewhat symmetrical spray. Then I carefully removed the filaments, and baked the clay to harden it. Then I glued the filaments back into the holes in the clay, and set it aside to dry.
Unfortunately, I forgot to photograph this part of the project, but it worked really well. So I'll recreate it for the other birds and add photos later.
I cut a hole in the bird's head and removed some stuffing to make room for the clay/filament crown apparatus. Then I stuffed the crown piece into the opening, and held it in place with glue and upholstery thread. And then I covered the edge of the opening with more lace pieces.
Here's the bird with its new crown.
Whew, I'm glad that's over. Now I can finally move on to my favorite part: the face.
More on making the crowned crane
Crowned crane, getting started
Crowned crane, Part 1: Making legs
Crowned crane, Part 2: Building the body
Crowned crane, Part 3: Feathers
Crowned crane, Part 4: Neck and shoulders
Crowned crane, Part 5: The dreaded crown
Crowned crane, Part 6: Finishing touches
Welcome to my fantasy world
I'm a textile artist in Camarillo, California, USA, specializing in three-dimensional fabric sculpture. I use this blog page to record my journey and to share some of my successes and failures, in hopes that it might help you with your own creative endeavors.