I'm planning on making wings for my suit, and I hate the look of felt or fleece covered 'feathers,' so I decided to do some experimenting on my own before I went and bought $50483534 of custom-dyed real feathers. I present: feathers made out of strips of fur! They're not that hard to make, either. Definitely something that would help you if you wanted your feather color to match your suit's fur.
First, I cut out some thin, straight strips of fur that run parallel to the nap of the fur. I looked at the knit backing and just cut down one row of knitting to make sure it was straight. Here are the widths I used for the small and large feathers, respectively:
The width it should be will vary with the type of fur used. In retrospect, the little feather looks a bit threadbare; it should have been wider.
Then I just lined them up and hot-glued the backings to each other. After it cooled, I took my made-of-fail hairspray (that I never actually use on my hair because it is like glue in a can) and gave them a good dousing. You can see the little feather covered in hairspray in the background of the previous picture. I used "Rave 4x" hairspray, made by Suave, if you're wondering. Hairspray might not actually be the best thing to use since it's not waterproof, but that's all I had. The point is to make the hair stiffer somehow so it holds its shape.
My lovely assistant helped me dry the hairsprayed feathers more quickly!
The feathers after hairspraying. They both smell really nice now! The little feather is looking pretty ratty after its treatment, though. It took a bit of teasing to make it look somewhat fluffy again.
Next I grabbed some scissors and gave them a trim to make them look more realistic. You could go wild with this step to make all sorts of feather looks. If you need reference (it really helps) I'd suggest going to an online feather store like Rainbow Feathers
or Zucker Feather Products
and looking at the different types.
Next was the search for a suitable 'shaft' for the feather, mostly to cover up the very obvious fur backing in the middle of the feather. The perfect solution for this would be puffy fabric paint--quick and easy, just run a line of it down the middle. Or, some sort of glue that dried opaque. However, I couldn't find fabric paint or glue, even though I know
we have them... so instead I decided to experiment with plastic straws and Q-tips.
In the end, I used the plastic straws. I planned to cut the Q-tips in half along their length and then hot-glue them on. But I quickly found that it is nigh impossible to cut Q-tips lengthwise. SO... on to the straws. These worked better--I just cut out a thin strip and tapered it on the end, then ran a line of hot glue down the backing of the fur and eased the plastic strip into place. It looked good, but I would not do this in the future, simply because I wouldn't want to painstakingly dissect a million plastic straws to make little shafts out of. Fabric paint or white glue would be much faster and easier. (You wouldn't get a protruding shaft with these, but who needs those if they're going to be glued to a wing?)
Ta-da! There you have them! Faux fur feathers!
"BUT!" You cry, "Wouldn't these things be really floppy and easily crushed?" Actually, after gluing the shaft on only one side, they became surprisingly stiff. The big one still has flexibility when you wave it around, but the little one doesn't even shift when you shake it.
I tested the destructability of the big feather by crushing it thoroughly in my sweaty, nasty fist. The image next to it is what it looked like afterwards, and it was easily smoothed back into place. So they're pretty durable!
Anyway, that's my little experiment of the day. I hope it inspires somebody!