With the basic body structure completed, it's time to add feathers. These are a lot of work. Continuing reading to see how they're made.
If you've followed my earlier posts, you know that I've been building a trio of East African Grey Crowned Cranes. If you haven't kept up, you can start here.
With the basic body structures completed, it's time to add feathers.
At this point, I decided to work on one bird at a time. That way, I could theoretically learn from my mistakes before proceeding with the other two birds.
I chose to begin with the smallest of the three bird bodies.
I used my embroidery machine to make the feathers, using this process:
1. I downloaded feather embroidery designs from Urban Threads.
2. I used Embird embroidery software to resize and simplify the designs.
3. I then hooped two layers of cotton print fabric with a sheet of Sulky Ultra Solvy stabilizer sandwiched between them.
3. I loaded the hoop into my embroidery machine, and stitched out dozens of feathers.
4. Then I cut out the feather shapes, leaving the edges raw.
5. I soaked the feathers in warm water to dissolve the stabilizer.
6. I let the feathers dry.
7. I brushed the back of each feather with Aleene's Stiffen Quik. (It comes in a spray bottle, but the sprayer is hard on my hands, so I find it easier to pour the liquid into a plastic cup and apply it to the feathers with a paintbrush.)
8. I let the feathers dry again.
9. I pressed the feathers with a steam iron. I left the gray feathers flat, but I curled the ends of the long red tail feathers with my fingers while they were still hot from the iron. After cooling, they retained their curled shape.
I then pinned the feathers onto the body, moving them around and repinning until I was satisfied with the placement. Then I hand-sewed the feathers to the body using strong upholstery thread and a long doll needle.
Here's the crane with all its feathers stitched into place.
Up next, the neck and shoulders.
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 Reno, Nevada, 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.