Friday, May 24, 2013

I want to get fake feathers

So, there's this project that I've been wanting to do for... no idea.  Years now.  How many I do no know.

It calls for angel feathers.  That's a problem.

Angel feathers would be flight feathers meaning that actual huge feathers (for example peacock feathers) aren't the right type.

Feathers that are the right type, or can be made to look like the right type, are generally available but are too small.  To understand this pick any flying bird (meaning things like penguins and ostriches do not count for this exercise.)  It can be anything really.  A hummingbird, a crow, a duck, a swan, a seagull, falcon, eagle, vulture, whatever.  Look at the largest feather on it's wing.  Now imagine scaling the bird up until it's body was the size of a humans (cranes can be about the same height, but that's in part because of their absurdly long necks, thus that doesn't count as the same size) and the feather you have previously selected by the same amount.

What you end up with is an extremely large feather.

An unrealistically, unnaturally large feather.  This isn't assuming angels have wings large enough to provide the lift needed to get a human body off the ground, this is just keeping the wings in proportion to the body.

Now, as it turns out, fake feathers of perfectly nice quality exist already, so you'd think that someone somewhere might be using that technology to make angel-sized feathers.

Here's the problem: Run a search for "fake feathers" "artificial feathers" "synthetic feathers" "imitation feathers" or something like that and the search results will be dominated by two things:
  1. Real feathers that are cut or dyed or somethinged in order to look like they come from a different type of bird.
  2. Hair accessories.
Run a search for angel feathers and you'll get fake angel wings made out of bird sized feathers.

It seems to be almost impossible to find out if the product I'm looking for (giant fracking flight feathers which would have to be synthetic because... see above) even exists.  And regardless of whether it exists it seems impossible to find out where one can get synthetic feathers at all beyond buying a fake bird made with fake feathers and plucking it.

So I'm calling on you, dear readers, for help.  Any ideas?

If all else fails, any ideas on how I could produce decent quality fake feathers myself?


  1. When we did angel wings in my university's theatre department's costume shop, we did huge wingspans but upper-limit of bird-sized feathers. I'm not sure there's any reason the feathers have to be scaled up exactly the same -- we just used a friggan LOT of them. Hand-stitched by us unpaid grunts who were doing it for course credit. Three weeks of my life for a prop that got ten seconds of stage time....

  2. I have this video lying around in my Youtube playlists. It looks a lot like what you're talking about. Let's see what I can dig up starting from here.

    What do you think of this?

  3. I seem ti recall seeing some pretty impressive angel-style wings (impressive for both realism and size) made by some extraordinarily dedicated cosplayers back when I had a roommate who was very into costuming and cosplay.

    Unfortunately a lot of cosplay stuff works because it's part of a whole costume, so the individual feathers don't necessarily have to be perfect, as long as the wing they make up looks reasonably realistic.

    If you need to make an entire angel-sized wing out of angel-feather-sized-feathers, then you might be able to use something like thin but strong foam board that's appropriately colored and textured. If you need a single (or a few) very realistic but large feathers... I'm not sure what to suggest.