[DIY] Hand-Painted Leather Feather Necklaces

For the last year, I’ve been finding craft inspiration via Pinterest and inviting a group of 30 women in Los Angeles to come together for a monthly craft night.  I cost out the craft and ask for a contribution from anyone that wants to participate.  It’s a great way for my friends and friends-of-friends to get to know each other and grow their networks in L.A.!  This month we hand-painted leather feather necklaces, and due to the overwhelming responses on social media, I decided to write a DIY post about this craft.  Please excuse the poor lighting in my dim kitchen.  I tried my best to capture the final product!

DIY Leather Feather necklace craft

I took some inspiration from a couple of pins I found on Pinterest.  Thanks to the below blogs for being the inspiration for this craft:

The beauty of crafts like this, is no two people end up creating the same item, unlike crafts with specific instructions.  The process was extremely easy and with a larger group (and depending on what kind of paints you want to use), the cost can go down drastically.  3 of us made 3 each and the cost came out to around $20-$25 per person by purchasing items from Michaels.  With a little better planning, purchasing online, and had I not bought all new metallic pens, the price could have been even lower.

Again, you can decorate the feathers in any style you want, but for an idea of the materials we got and how we did it, I’ve included links to the items I used either from Michaels or Amazon and instructions on how we went about it.

Materials

  • Necklace Chains – $2 to $6 (Assorted colors) – Really, any cording or chain can be used for this, but I went with a cheaper version.
  • Jump Ring Connectors (to attach the feather to the necklace chain) – $3 (To match the chain or chording you select)
  • Small Hole Punch – We didn’t use this, but instead used a needle.  Getting the connector through the leather was very difficult with only a small needle hole, so I recommend using a hole punch to make a large hole for the connector to go through.
  • Leather – $5 to $7 – You can get any color you’d like, just be sure you’re thinking of what color paints you want to use and what color chain you have.  We purchased a few different colors to play with.
  • Acrylic Paints – $1 to $7 per paint – I highly recommend looking on Amazon for packs of paint.  You can get an assortment of colors for a pretty reasonable price.  If you just need one or two, you can find some lower budget versions individually as well at a craft store.
  • Paint brush(s) – $2 to $10 – We used small detail paint brushes to get fine, small lines
  • Metallic Leafing Pens – $5 to $10 per pen – These were an easy guaranteed way to get metallic colors to show up on the leather.
  • Beads or Pendants – $Varies – We added feather charms to our necklaces, but you can also add beads to the strings or incorporate them into your design in various ways.
  • Pliers – $Varies – you can get a kit for $10 that includes a few different types of pliers.
  • A good pair of sharp scissors
  • A pen to mark the shape of your feather on the back of the leather

Instructions

  1. Cut out a feather on regular printer paper to use as a stencil.  We printed out this template from online.  Lay the cutout on the back of your leather (on the non visible side) and trace the cutout with a pen.
  2. Using sharp scissors, cut the feather out from the leather.
  3. We found it easiest to punch a hole into the top tip of the feather first before painting.  This hole will be where you place the ring connector that turns the feather into a “charm” for your necklace.  This is where you’ll use a hole punch if you have one.  Preferably smaller than standard office hole punch.  Because we didn’t have one, I used a sewing needle.  This proved to be difficult as the connector rings were thicker than the hole the needle made.
  4. Use the pliers to open up one of the connector hoops and push through the feather’s hole.  Close the hoop back up using the pliers.  You have no turned your soon to be feather into a charm!
  5. Using the paints and pens you purchased, decorate your feather to your liking.  I made a small row of dots using metallic pens down the center and then using both the pens and acrylic paints, brushed small lines going outward and down from the center line to create the look of the individual threads on the feather.  This is where you can let your creativity run wild!  The other ladies had some fun with theirs, doing different designs.
  6. Let your feather dry before handling.
  7. At this point, your feather can be modified if you’d like to create actual feather like appearance but cutting slits into it.  Similarly, you can go straight to placing it on the chord.
  8. If you’d like to add any charms to the feather or beads to the necklace, now is the time to do this.  Add the feather charm you created to the necklace chord or chain you purchased.  Ours came with a clamp already connected, so we were done at this point!

Again, there are so many different ways you can create this feather necklace.  Have a blast making your festival perfect necklaces!

DIY Leather Feather craft

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