How to Do Threadwork on Feathers

How to Do Threadwork on Feathers

After many requests, I'm finally getting around to a tutorial on threadwork….flat style (not stacked).


  • Something to wrap…feather quill, dowel rod, etc.
  • Thread…I love Sulky brand rayon sewing/embroidery machine thread
  • Scissors…small and SHARP!!!
  • Glue…whatever you like…I like Aleens Tacky Glue…dries clear and flexible…washes off fingers easily!
  • Ruler or measuring tape
  • Pencil or pen…I like Micron pens (indelible ink, super tiny point)


Prepping surfaces to wrap:

Bare quills: normally very slick…you might need to scratch the surface with very fine grit sandpaper…or coat with a thin layer of glue (let dry)…I usually overwrap real quills with thin buckskin first.

Wooden dowel rods/bamboo skewers…don't really need prep work

If you have other things you want to em here and I will give you hints if I have any!!!

Choose your colors!

I always plan out my color scheme first…count colors and do a little math to figure how I want my wrapped segements to look.

Mark your segements directly on the stick…this is where you will change threads for a new color.

Marking on buckskin is easy with marker or really sharp mechanical pencil.

Marking on dowels is easy too, but I suggest a light coat of clear fingernail polish over pencil marks to keep em from rubbing off the wood as you work!


Now you're ready to begin wrapping…

Please note in this pic, I've created a paper cone/collar to hold the feathers out of the way…otherwize you'll go crazy trying to avoid catching fluff in the top of your threading!

I'm right handed:

Hold the thing you're wrapping (I'll keep calling it a “stick”) in your left hand and hold the thread in your right hand.

Create a vertical “tag” with the end of the thread and hold it down tight against the stick with your left thumb, then wrap around and over the tag once or twice to hold it secure.

Now you shouldn't have to hold on to the tag any more and you can freely spin the stick in your left hand while guiding the thread with your right.

Wrap with good, even tension, carefully keeping the wraps close

Tension while wrapping sticks isn't much of an issue (other than too much of it resulting in broken thread)

Tension while wrapping over buckskin can be tricky: altering tight and loose tensions will result in bulges and indentions in the finished product…a little practice will help you find your groove!

Keep wrapping until you reach your mark.



PS: about holding your thread in your right hand…I don't wrap directly off the spool (though you certainly can do it this way)…I set the spool down and run the thread through my hand, going around some fingers on the way, ultimately pinching it between my thumb and index finger…this helps me control the wraps and tension really well…and yes, results in a few cramps and callouses! lol

Practice lots to get a grip on what works best for you! AYE!

Now let's change colors!

Hold your last wrap down against the stick with your left thumb and cut your thread leaving about a 2 inch tail.

Then carefully start a new color by creating a new vertical tag and sliding it under the same thumb that's holding the first tail.

Tag and tail should be practically on top of each other

Then loop around again once or twice with the new color to hold the tag and tail in place.

Adjust your grip, spin that stick, and wrap to your next mark!

You can continue to wrap over your tails, or you can trim em as you go… I like to trim as I go cuz some colors show thru a bit (like thru yellow or white)

Just clip the tails in the middle of a wrapped section and keep on wrapping to hide em underneath.






Now start your next color holding those tags and tails and maintaining even tension!


Continue til you come to the last segment!

This time leave a long tag that will not be clipped off and will hag out of the last finished segement…red tail in pic is a good 4-5 inches long

This is what I use to tie my one and only knot at the end of the stick.


I usually place the stick between my knees so it doesn't roll, then use the final thread to tie a square knot with the final tail.


Then bring the 2 thread together, clip em short and place a tiny dot of glue on that knot.

Use your left thumb to smear the glue (with one last spin of the stick) around the very last wrap and glue down the final tail too! this will help hide them into the final wrapped segment.




Some examples of my more advanced work (over buckskin):

The one on the left is 2mm segments with some metallic threads too.

The one on the right is 3mm segments.







Tutorial Posted on Forums by walela49.

Original Discussion Thread

Visit walela49's website to purchase her work!

Last Updated on December 11, 2019 by Paul G

About Paul G

Paul G is the founder, who wears many hats as a business coach, photographer, and collector of quirky shirts. Paul started in 1996 while pursuing his graduate degree. With a passion for travel, he and his family hav  traveled the world, capturing unforgettable memories and photos. When he's not coaching or clicking, he's indulging in the magic of Disney.

40 Comments on “How to Do Threadwork on Feathers”

  • Avatar for A. Courtis

    A. Courtis


    Thank you! What happens if my feathers have no quills, do you have suggestions?

  • Avatar for Crystal



    Can you show how you put the feathers together in the cone and on the stick that would be really helpful

  • Avatar for Valerie vargas

    Valerie vargas


    Hi your work is very beautiful. I’m just learning how to do this and I would love to watch videos of how you make the fans from start to finish. Maybe you can do this and post on youtube or send me a video to my email address. I would appreciate it. Thank you.


  • Avatar for Harry Davis

    So Nice work and amazing idea its looking so beautiful

  • Avatar for Ira Kaufman

    Hi Walela, thank you so much for sharing the “how to” with your beautiful artistry. I would like to visit your website to purchase some of your work. However, the link to walela49 doesn’t lead me to a website. It says “domain name is available for purchase”. Can you please email me your website? I would also like to be on your newsletter list too. I so admire your work, and hope to give this a try. Been beading on a loom for a while now, and branching out to other crafts.

  • Avatar for Eileen



    Always so happy to find useful instructions that I can follow when I am making items I have not made before….

  • Avatar for Carissa Peterson

    Are you threading rate over the dowels? For example I have wooden ones.

    • Avatar for JoAnn Padgett

      JoAnn Padgett


      Beautiful! I have white owl feathers, I’m going to try this in honor of my husbands great grand mother . Wado

  • Avatar for sherry



    where do you purchase your feathers?

    • Avatar for Paul G

      Paul G


      Try Crazy Crow Trading Post or Noc Bay Trading Post.





    • Avatar for Paul G

      Paul G


      Yes, I added you!

  • Avatar for Valerie



    Do you still sell women’s plumes. I bought a double one years ago. What do you charge for a double plume and for a side plume?

  • Avatar for

    great put up, very informative. I wondrr why the other specialists oof this sector don’t
    realize this. You must continue your writing.
    I’m sure, you have a grewat readers’ base already!

  • Avatar for

    Hi there colleagues,pleasant paragraph andd pleasant arguments cokmmented here, I amm genuinely enjoying by these.

  • Avatar for Diane



    Thanks for sharing such beautiful work.

  • Avatar for Crystal



    I believe you could do better at explaining how to create this! You show a cone but maybe you should show what you have in the cone exactly and show how you do the buckskin on the stick. You need to be more clear at showing how to make a plume.. can you help with that?

  • Avatar for Brianna Craig

    Brianna Craig


    where do you ourchase the things i have the feathers but where can i buy the sticks

    • Avatar for Laura



      They have BBQ skewers at the grocery store that work for this project. I’ve been told that us what some people use.

  • Avatar for Ronald



    Wow! Thank you for your time and effort to share this… I am Gitxsan (Northwest BC in Canada)

  • Avatar for Joe Metoxen

    Joe Metoxen


    Thanks for your tutorial, this will be very helpful to me as I work on my new Eagle fan. You do very beautiful work and with practice, I can only hope that my work comes near straight as yours. Thanks Again

  • Avatar for Nancy



    sorry … wanted to mention … your instructions and hints were very understandable and helpful … again, thanks

  • Avatar for Nancy



    Awesome work … just beautiful .. thanks for sharing .. will have to give this a try … rest assured I will be back for assistance … lol …. thanks again

  • Avatar for Phillip Campbell-Joseph

    Phillip Campbell-Joseph


    How do you do stacked thread work?

  • Avatar for Arlynna



    Love this can we get a video

  • Avatar for Paul-Hermann Hilgers

    Paul-Hermann Hilgers


    Good Threadwork.

  • Avatar for khamilton



    how to connect two finished plumes to the one stick holding
    them together?

  • Avatar for Carrie



    Thank you so much I was just getting ready for my first go at it! I’ve loved your work forever !

  • Avatar for Lkjuanice



    Beautiful work. Thanks a million. my Email used to be weilela47, so I had to be noisy, & I am so glad i did. Kudos!!!!!!

  • Avatar for Kiawa



    tks for sharing … helped me much

  • Avatar for Gischihan_Sr



    Thank you for the great tutorial. Great pictures and clear descriptions. Thanks also for telling us that you are right handed.

    I hope you will continue with how to do the raised wrapping.

  • Avatar for Aunt Blackie

    Aunt Blackie


    Beautiful work! Thank you so much. The fotographs are very clear. Now I can keep my hands busy!
    I am Cheyenne/Arapaho and Saamie.

  • Avatar for Yolanda



    Wow you are finally teaching us after so long! I have waited for this tutorial. I have admired your work for years. Thank you for sharing.

  • Avatar for Elaine Winston

    Elaine Winston


    I do like when you show how to make things …but i do have a question … do you have something that shows how to do peyote stitch on a pen …i have trouble with that.. i have been looking on the computer that would show me step by step
    until i understand it .. thank you …Mrs Elaine Winston

    • Avatar for Sewa Contreras

      Sewa Contreras


      That’s a wonderful tutorial. Can you make one to show how to stack eagle fluff for hairpiece for female dancers. I’ve been making my girls regalia for dance but don’t know how to make the fluffy feathers for their hair. I was gifted eagle fluff for my girls but kinda embarrassed that I don’t know what to do with it…

  • Avatar for penny richmond

    penny richmond


    Beautiful WiFi Thanku for sharing

  • Avatar for Perry



    Great tutorial thank you

  • Avatar for B.M. Ouellette

    B.M. Ouellette


    WOOOOW beautiful. What beautiful work thanks for sharing.

  • Avatar for Twobears



    Great job, I am a potawomeck Indian of Virginia

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