With an entire coop full of molting hens, there are a lot of feathers floating around our home lately. We've collected them, crafted with them, and last week we wrote with them. This lovely article from Rhythm of the Home detailed how to make the quills as well as natural ink from berries. Since Hadley and Finley are very actively writing these days, this project was perfectly timed. Here is just a brief overview of how we made our own feather quills and ink.
First we collected feathers (love the chicken butt in this photo above). You can use any feathers you find or collect, but the larger the better. If they are too small they will bend, especially under the pressure of little hands.
Using something sharp, like scissors or a knife, cut the tip of the feather on a sharp angle. Since the feather is hollow, the ink will go up into the feather a bit and let you write a few letters before dipping your quill again.
To make the ink, press berries through a sieve and add a bit of salt and vinegar (a 1/2 teaspoon of each to about a 1/2 cup of berry juice).
When it comes to actually writing, try pulling the quill towards you and blotting the drops off to keep your letters smooth. We used an all purpose art paper, but watercolor paper would also work well. If you are older, or fancier than us, you can try looking up calligraphy, or even drawing pictures. We stuck with our names and a bit of artwork.
Even the 15 month old got a feather and drew lines and squiggles.
I'm brainstorming how I can keep this set up somewhere so the kids can come back to it without making a total mess.
I shared at Friday Nature Table, Taming the Goblin