In Braid of Sand, Raziela makes quills from the phoenix feathers that fall from the nests in her garden:
She pointed to the large stone basins above them. There was a soft rustling noise and then another feather kicked up into the air, this one entirely engulfed in flames. First, it sailed up in a graceful swoop before gliding back and forth to the ground like a skier sailing down a hill. It smoldered quietly on the white gravel between their feet.
It seemed like such a neat visual that when I was trying to come up with an activity for my toddler and I to do together I decided this was something fun we could do. While I found plenty of tutorials for making paper feathers and saw plenty of phoenix quill tattoo designs, I had a hard time getting tips on how to make a phoenix quill, so I thought I’d share my steps with you.
- A pen or pencil (or whatever long, thin, straight piece you’d like to build your feather around)
- Two pieces of paper (I cut a sheet of brown packing paper we had lying around in half, but any kind of paper will do depending on the look you’re going for)
- Paint (I used acrylic paints)
- Brush (a brush that comes to a point worked better for me than the straight edged one I started with)
If it seems a little haphazard it’s because there’s so many ways you can customize this project to suit you and I don’t want it to seem like there’s any one right way.
I drizzled the glue back and forth across the pen in a zigzag. I wanted to make sure the pen didn’t move or slide out.
Next, I cut out a feather pattern. Because this is supposed to be a phoenix feather, I opted for a more flame-like shape instead of a smooth leaf-like pattern. You can find plenty of outlines online if you don’t want to freehand one yourself.
I started with my yellow straight down the middle and then filled in the orange before edging it in yellow again. Flames have a very fluid color pattern, and since this is also a feather you can go for a more structured pattern like a peacock or something more solid if that’s what you prefer. For this one, I kept going over these colors with each other so there were no hard edges.
I only used four colors, a bright yellow, neon orange, and a burnt umber (reddish-orange), and some shimmery gold paint for highlights. You could easily add in some hints of blue or touches of black too.
Finally, I cut the edges. I tried to make all of the cuts have the same angle because that’s what gives it that feathery look. You can make them as close together or far apart as you want depending on the look you’re going for, and if you accidentally cut off a piece it will actually give it a more authentic look.
And there you have it! Your very own phoenix feather. There are so many ways to customize this to suit your skill level and the supplies you have on hand. They make fun pens, or a great bookmark.
What did you think? Did you try this out? I would love to see how your phoenix quill turned out! And stay tuned for more updates on Braid of Sand.