Put a Feather on It! DIY Gilded Feather Headband

If you saw the gold feathered headband in our new “Everyday Exotic” stylebook and thought, “Wowzas! Where can I get one of those?”, look no further than this blog post!

Equipped with some common tools, jewelry parts, and the savvy of a ‘DIY-va’ (one whose crafting skills are equivalent to that of Beyoncé’s career), you’ll find that making your own boho-inspired feather headband is easy.

Now, let’s take flight!

“Everyday Exotic” Gilded Feather Headband
An Exclusive ModCloth DIY

X-Acto knife
3 sheets of sandpaper
Scissors (any old pair will do!)
1 brass metal sheet (.005 thickness, 4″ x 10″ sheet)
5-7 jump rings (the number needed will depend on how many feathers you choose to make)
3 buckles for end-of-rope fasteners
1 hook clasp
10 crimp beads
3 yards of various cord/rope

First, we’ll make the feathers, and then tackle crafting the headpiece!

1. Grab your brass sheet metal and scissors, and start cutting an array of feather shapes. The sheet metal should feel flexible, but not too flimsy. (Be careful when cutting the metal; sharp edges can form very easily.)

These are the shapes I cut. For the headpiece worn by the model in our “Everyday Exotic” stylebook, I made seven feathers in graduated lengths.

2. Next, use your scissors to create the feather’s slits. Cut in from the edges, towards the center of the sheet. Some of the thinner slivers will curl at the ends as you do this. If they curl, flatten them back out by pressing them down with something flat (I used the flat end of my nearby X-Acto knife). Make sure to leave some room in the center, so that your feather stays sturdy!

3. Use sandpaper to smooth out any sharp edges and corners. Stroke the sandpaper in one direction carefully, as to not bend or break any pieces off.

4. Using the tip of your X-Acto knife, cut into the brass with long strokes from the center towards the edge to create thin, smooth lines along the surface. This will give the feather more dimension. Don’t worry about cutting through the brass, the X-Acto knife will only penetrate enough to make light lines.

5. With your X-Acto knife still in hand, round out the edges similar to how you would curl a ribbon with scissors.

6. You’re almost done with your first feather! To finish, take your pliers, and fasten the ends of the a small foldover connector around the skinny tip of the feather. Now that you’ve finished one make as many as your heart desires! I found that 6 or 7 is generally the magic number for this particular style.

7. Onto the headband! Using the color(s) of your choice – my favorite combination is two terracotta-hued strands with one medium brown strand – measure out three pieces of rope at an arm’s length.

8. Locate your large foldover connector, and, using your pliers, clamp down both ends around the three strands. This clasp is a tad thicker, so it might take a few tries to get it secured into place.

9. Time to braid! To stabilize your strands while you weave, tape the fastened end to the edge of a surface. Add flecks of gold into the braid by periodically sliding your gold crimp beads onto the strands. Not sure how to make a braid? For shame! JK, but if you didn’t learn this handy skill in the third grade, then check out this helpful tutorial.

10. Braid to your desired length. It’s helpful to take a piece of yarn, and trim it to the circumference of a headform, which can be found at a beauty store such as Sally’s Beauty Supply. If you don’t have a mannequin to work with, your own or a friend’s noggin will work just fine. When measuring, I found 21.75″ to be a good standard length that fits most!

11. Once you complete your braid, add a large foldover connector to secure the other end. Attach a hook or lobster clasp with a jump ring to the loop on the connector. Use the clasp to connect to any opening on the other end of the braid, and your headband is easily adjustable!

12. Using your pliers, open up a jump ring, and pull it through a gap in the braid. Slide the connector on the end of the feather through the jump ring, and close it shut. Repeat this step for the number of feathers that you have. I spaced mine about an inch or so apart from each other, and positioned the feathers so the curled edges were facing away from the head which will help prevent them from catching a hold of your hair! If you want, add loops of metal chains to your headband.

13. Voila! Project complete! If desired, to smooth out the edges even more, you can coat the ends of the finished feathers with clear nail polish.

If you make one of these shiny headbands and add a your own personalized flair, upload a pic to our Facebook page, or tweet a pic @ModCloth! We love seeing your crafty creations!


About Julianne

Julie is a modern day Renaissance woman and die-hard bloody mary enthusiast. When she’s not sprinkling magic fairy dust onto ModCloth’s social media channels, you can find her eclectic point of view on food, fashion, music, and DIY documented here!

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  1. Avatar
    Kelly McKernan 06/01/2011 at 2:19 pm #

    Ooh, I would love if it you guys did a contest to give that away!

  2. Avatar
    Meanz 06/01/2011 at 3:37 pm #

    How pretty! I’d like to try this.

  3. Avatar
    Linzy 06/01/2011 at 4:27 pm #

    I’m going to have fun with this!

    Little Acorns

  4. Avatar
    Adelai 06/01/2011 at 5:19 pm #

    *cough*Cultural appropriation! *cough*
    Seriously, though, not cool.

    • Avatar
      Jo 06/02/2011 at 5:44 pm #

      I don’t think any culture owns the ideas of braid and feathers. I think you’re being a little too sensitive. It’s just pretty okay?

    • Avatar
      Jess 06/02/2011 at 6:04 pm #

      @ Jo: that’s classic derailing talk right there. I agree with Adelai, this is not cool.

    • Avatar
      Natalie 06/04/2011 at 9:03 pm #

      I agree, I don’t see how using feathers and braid together is offence in any way.

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      Victoria 06/05/2011 at 3:54 pm #

      Jo, you’re right. Besides, many things in fashion are based off of cultural designs. If it’s a cultural design, it’s not owned by anyone; it’s public domain. This is just a pretty accessory harkening back to American Indian culture. If I were American Indian, I’d be flattered. It’s very pretty.

    • Avatar
      Erica 06/05/2011 at 7:26 pm #

      @Victoria, thanks for saying that. You’re totally right; fashion often bases its designs on designs from other cultures.
      “Cultural appropriation” would imply that there was some sort of conquering attitude (that is, I, the wonderful Modcloth, am better than you inferior Native Americans and am taking away this item of value and making it mine because my culture is better) in making this headband, and I would hardly say there is. @Adelai and @Jess, get off your high horses.

    • Avatar
      Jess 06/05/2011 at 10:00 pm #

      Oh. My. @Erica: thanks for educating me on your definition of cultural appropriation. Considering this is a fashion blog, I suppose I should take your comment with a grain of salt. I think I was being quite restrained in expressing my opinion. Thanks for pointing out my privilege. I’ll return the favour- *your* privilege is showing as well. @ Victoria: as Métis, I find your comment insulting. My culture is not there to be plucked at will for your decoration.

    • Avatar
      Celeste 06/06/2011 at 12:16 am #

      By that logic, one shouldn’t eat curry unless it’s prepared by someone from India, sushi unless prepared by someone Japanese, etc. I say if it’s not hurting anyone, imitation is the highest form of flattery. There are many things in all our lives that originally came from somewhere else. Even my old anthropology professor would agree that the intermixing of cultures is a natural progression of things, so let’s not get too uppity about ‘cultural appropriation’, especially if you’re not from that culture to begin with. (Then you’re speaking on behalf of others you don’t represent, appropriating their voice, which is worse, in my opinion.)

    • Avatar
      Jess 06/06/2011 at 1:30 am #

      @ Celeste: I respectfully beg to differ. Why? For many reasons, but mostly because you invoke your examples without attending to the violence involved in the so called “intermixing of cultures.” This is my issue. Cultural appropriation doubly inflicts violence through the act of appropriating itself, and second, by erasing or marginalizing the people whose works have been colonized.
      Prime example: Victoria mentioned “harkening back” to American Indians. I find this offensive as First Nations people and their descendants are still here, *not* bygone relics. This is what is hurtful–when parts of a culture are taken on and fetishized while erasing or exoticizing the peoples they originally belonged to. That is why I take offence.

      That said, I highly doubt your anthropology professor would be so uncritical about the power discrepancies between settlers and indigenous and/or colonized peoples.

      Also, perhaps you should look up who Métis are before you suggest that I am getting “too uppity” about speaking on behalf of “others.”

      That said, I’m done. I originally tried to voice my concerns with restraint, but this conversation is going nowhere. peace.

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      AJ 06/06/2011 at 5:07 pm #

      I understand that many Native American peoples are very offended by the current use of their culture in clothing and accessories. To Native American readers who are offended, I understand that your culture is not a trend.

      But please understand that cultures will forever influence other cultures. Why have teenagers begun stretching their ears and doing body modifications? Because African cultures did it first. I don’t see anyone from African cultures stepping up and acting offended. The same goes for Japanse culture… women of other cutlures wear Kimonos, people decorate their homes in the traditional Japanese style, etc. I haven’t witnessed any Japanese people’s standing up and objecting. American culture has even blended into Japanese culture… and we aren’t protesting! We micmic what we love. People of Asian, Caucasian, African American, and many more descents have loved Native American culture, jewelry, craft for a long time. Many Native Americans still craft and sell these items so we CAN wear them! Not everyone is out to degrade these peoples and the beautiful things they wear. Not to mention, modern people are not responsible for the way Native Americans were treated in the past, as horrible as it was — so please, stop acting like we are! I’m not saying forget what happened to you, but don’t think that it will happen again. If anything, the newer generations are working hard to ensure that no one goes mistreated again. We are all people, all with different traditions, and we should admire and respect one another. It’s as simple as that.

      So if we respectfully enjoy your culture? Let us. You don’t own it. We don’t own ours, either. Feathers and a braid are just that — feathers and a braid. They are certainly not limited to Native American culture. Nor is a fascination, great appreciation, and respect of nature. I admire feathers because I greatly admire the bird as a living creature. I am conscious of this earth I live on and am doing all I can to preserve and cherish it. If I want to wear something that I think reflects that, I will. If I want to wear something that inspires me, I will. So will many others. A blending of cultures will never fade.

    • Avatar
      Beth 01/08/2013 at 8:23 am #

      Actually, I think you need to ALSO look at the Celtic History and its use of feathers, knots and braids. Nope, not one culture owns those things. Braids are used in MOST cultures.

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      Beth 01/08/2013 at 8:25 am #

      I should also mention that to me this looked VERY Fae like. I expected to see wings on her with Pixie Dust. That is definitely NOT Native American Imagery.

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      Beth 01/08/2013 at 8:34 am #

      “The women also wore their hair long,
      generally in one, two, or three braids which were sometimes decorated with beads.
      Women warriors may have worn their hair loose into battle. They were fond of
      personal decoration and wore a lot of jewelry.”

      “They wasted no part of the animals
      they ate, utilizing the skins, fur, horn, bones, feathers, and so on in many ways.”


      So I have now backed up my statements with simple facts. I do hope this helps ALL of us to respect ALL cultures and to research all history before we jump on one another about what we believe to be the only truth.

      This is not just Celtic History, but if you look to Indonesia, The pacific Islanders etc. They also use braids and feathers.

      I do believe the Egyptians used a lot of these ideas as well. I am currently looking into that.

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    Laurel 06/01/2011 at 11:55 pm #

    Love it! I did see it on the stylebook and wondered why I couldn’t find it for sale anywhere. I’m excited to try and make one!

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    Caitlin 06/02/2011 at 12:03 am #

    The model is so pretty and I absolutely love the accessorie! Thanks for the post.

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    alex 06/02/2011 at 6:24 pm #

    No one wants to go through the trouble to make one. I’d rather pay 15 bucks and buy it..

    • Avatar
      alex 06/02/2011 at 6:34 pm #

      Oh but i forgot, knowing ModCloth it would be 50 not 15.

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      Natalie 06/04/2011 at 9:00 pm #

      If your a DIY lover like me then its no trouble, its fun 🙂

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      Maddie 06/15/2011 at 7:27 pm #

      I’d make one!

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    eyesofcuriosity 06/03/2011 at 3:18 pm #

    This is so awesome! My friends and I always look forward to “DIY” night.

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    taylor kitto 06/04/2011 at 6:13 pm #

    Oh man, that’s awesome!! Thanks for the lovely idea!


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    k 06/06/2011 at 3:11 pm #

    Put a bird on it!

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    Maddie 06/15/2011 at 7:26 pm #

    Thanks for the tute! (i might just make earrings from the feathers, though) Btw, is the metal the type you can get from a hardware store (such as Lowe’s) or would you find it at a (good) craft store, or both?

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      Victoria 06/16/2011 at 11:51 am #

      i got the metal sheets and the leather ropes at hobby lobby. the rest i got from jo ann’s fabrics. 🙂

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    Haley 07/06/2011 at 3:18 pm #

    I don’t necessarily have every single one of these supplies, but i’m looking forward to improvising!! This is going to be fun… Very pretty DIY idea! Thanks, Modcloth!

  13. Avatar
    Haley 07/06/2011 at 3:19 pm #

    i* haha

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