diy project: feather pen pal stationery kit

In the world of internet and cell phone communication, information and feelings are shared quickly and impulsively. I prefer face-to-face communication to the phone or email, but I’ve had several good friends move away over the past year. Writing a letter to a friend requires a sacrifice of your time and requires you to really slow down and think about what you want to say. Plus, receiving a letter in the mail is so exciting! Why not initiate a pen pal communication line by sending a special pen-and-paper set in the mail?

This DIY puts a practical ballpoint spin on the traditional quill pin. I purchased white feathers at the craft store and dyed them with RIT. The feathers take color beautifully; I could have done it for hours. You can buy or make your own stationery to match your feathers, or you can print out and use a cute stationery template I created. Enjoy! — Halligan

Materials

  • computer and printer
  • paper and envelopes
  • feathers
  • short pen ink refills (I found mine at Staples.)
  • RIT dye
  • scissors
  • ruler and X-Acto (if you are using the stationery template)

Instructions

1. If you are using the provided stationery, download the file here. Print out and cut your stationery.

2. Get a pan that you can completely submerge your feathers in. Fill about 3/4″ with hot water and add your RIT dye. The color takes pretty quickly, so if you want a lighter color, act fast and don’t add much dye! Gently rub the feather in spots where dye is reluctant to soak in. Let your feathers dry.

3. Cut off the closed tip of the feather’s end.

4. Cut off the excess plastic tube of the ink refill.

5. Insert refill into the feather. Mine fit snugly and did not need glue; however, if it’s a loose fit, a dab of glue will do the trick.

6. Find a pen pal.

  1. I used to try this when I was a kid, using the ink tube from a ballpoint pen and tatty old seagull feathers I picked up at the beach. It never worked that well, because the ink tube was too long to put inside the feather – and my mum was always justifiably grossed out by the dirty feathers and threw them away! Yours are MUCH prettier (and more hygienic), and the stationery is super-cute! :)

  2. Hilary says:

    Cute! I want a pen pal now!

  3. Annie says:

    I distinctly remember having one of these as a kid, made out of a goose feather. Still a cute idea! haha

  4. This post and how-to has made my day! love this idea, and now I have a great project to do with my niece when she stays with us. Merci beaucoup!

  5. Tiffany M. says:

    I love this! I can’t wait to try it. I have several pen pals that I write to regularly, and I enjoy making my own stationary. I’ve always thought writing a letter is so much better than a text or an email when you can do it. Plus, it’s such a thrill to get things in the mail!

  6. ana isabel says:

    this is so great! i love dyeing feathers!

  7. rooth says:

    What a fun idea! I love writing and receiving letters, it’s quite sad that rarely anyone still does this

  8. rooth says:

    What a fun project! I love writing and receiving letters and it’s quite sad that rarely anyone does that anymore

  9. Pecahes says:

    HOW FUN IS THIS? Man, I wish I had known about these feather pens back in the day –Mr.s Johnson’s third grade cursive lessons would have been so much cooler with a badass pen like that.!

  10. jessica says:

    This would be so fun for signing a wedding guest book!

  11. alice says:

    Very cute idea! I’ve been wondering what I should do with some peacock feathers I’ve recently acquired. Thanks for the tut!

  12. isotoner says:

    That’s good idea.

  13. Fanny says:

    I loooove feathers :) Really beautiful idea!!

  14. Ambrya says:

    Awesome idea! This is so original and beautiful. Thank you for the inspiration!

  15. Jené says:

    this is so cute, and a great idea.

  16. Oh my gosh, I’m totally going to do this!!! I have an awesome penpal in Detroit who is just the coolest chick, and she will *really* love getting this little package in the mail.

    Thank you SO MUCH for such a wonderful idea!

    Heidi

  17. just bought some feathers last night! This is going to be great :) Thanks for the idea!

  18. Cat K. says:

    I love this! I think I might actually do this one. How neat!

  19. lua says:

    Thank you so much. The nearby fabric shop has pretty peacock feather and various hued plumes I’d like to do this with. I’d like to do something similar with fake flowers as in the Liz Lisa catalogue, those have the pen casing and there’s no tape showing… Really appreciate your step by step visual instructions.

  20. Ashley says:

    This is the cutest idea! Since I used to live in Illinois I have some really good friends that I don’t get to see very often! I’m always handwriting letters to them and they never send me anything back! They just call and tell me they got it! :( maybe something like this would entice them to write me back! It would be a budget friendly Christmas idea too! :)

  21. Brittany says:

    I absolutely love this! What a great idea! I am so sick of email/texting etc…and I LOVE the feather pen idea…I’ve always wanted one with my desk :)

  22. Rachal says:

    What kind of feathers did you use? This is so awesome I can’t wait to try it!

  23. What a great idea and so easy to do. You could also experiment with different types of feathers to get different effects.

  24. gosh that is so cool , i so miss having a pen pal , i used to write with alot of people when i was young and up until 5 years ago , when my house burned down and i was a disaster, but now i am doing alright , how do you find pen pals these days ? Is there any one on her that would like to pen pal , ? i am in ohio and dont care where my pen pals would be , i love to write and reallly miss snail mail , have a pink rainbow day
    georgia from ohio

  25. susan wilson says:

    This is a great idea thank you i will try this with my grandchildren they love making things especially things they can use.

  26. these would be an amazing accent for a wedding guestbook!

  27. Lauren Gentry says:

    I love this idea so much! I’m actually considering using it in my wedding as favors. I could make a bunch in different colors with corresponding colored ink refills. Then the guests could pick a color to sign the guest book in and keep the quill (along with a cute glass vase for a stand, of course). My only question is how did you make your black tips? Did you hold them in a very concentrated dye solution or hang them there for a long time? Thank you so very much for showing me how to do this myself, as buying a a few hundred quills and ink was going to be very expensive!

  28. XIronman says:

    if the pigment is DIY, that would be perfect.
    I learned that the dyestuff can be made from some flowers. for example, coxcomb

  29. C says:

    This is so cute! Just be careful you don’t cut the ink refill too short or it will leak :( I tried this before but my refills were a bit longer & didn’t work as well when cut so get them as short as you can or you’ll have a mess! These are really pretty, I love the colors!

  30. sidharth says:

    really awesome

  31. wonderful idea. I adore feathers thank you

  32. Kathy says:

    A fun idea! Would be great to have for sale at Renn. Faires!!
    It is unfortunate that there is a decline in letter writing and the art of penmanship these days. I am a fan of the art of lettering. I am hoping that with this post, more people will have a desire to pull out their stationary and hand write a letter to someone. Let’s keep the mail going, and save a job…..use a stamp!

  33. Enotneicna says:

    I’ve made pens with peacock, ostrich and wild turkey feathers

  34. Emma says:

    Okay… This idea is awesome!!!

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