Saturday, 9 February 2013

Making ostrich feather fans with acrylic staves

Tutorial - How to make ostrich feather fans
I often receive emails from people wanting to know how to make their own ostrich fans, so I thought I'd post this tutorial showing how I construct fans using the acrylic staves I design and sell here.

Instructions for constructing Ostrich feather Fans using Flo Foxworthy acrylic staves.

Please note that this page is very image-heavy.

Step 1:

Prepare your fans by selecting 12 ostrich feathers (per fan) and ensuring they are the same length. Trim the end of the quill if necessary using heavy scissors or side cutters/bolt cutters.
Your fan staves come with all the necessary nuts, bolts, washers, cable ties and nylon thread.

Step 2:

Clean the rhinestone inlay holes with isopropyl alcohol or a similar product (rubbing alcohol or vodka will do the trick!). Be sure to wipe the stave thoroughly with a clean rag after cleaning to remove any residue.  This is to ensure the glue has a clean surface to adhere to, to prevent the rhinestones from falling off.

Step 3:

Use a toothpick or chopstick to apply rhinestone glue to the back of each stone, and place rhinestone on the stave.  It helps if you hold the stone with a pair of tweezers while you apply the glue.
The best glue for the job is 5-minute epoxy (available at any hardware store). Follow the glue manufacturer's instructions and wait till the glue is completely dry before proceeding to the next step. If you don't have 5-minute epoxy then E6000 is also a good choice.

Step 4:

Repeat Step 3 for each stave. There are 12 staves per fan, with six rhinestones on each stave, so you'll need 144 rhinestones (1 gross) size ss30.

Step 5:

Use a yard stick or metre ruler to ensure each feather and stave are equal in length. The measurement from the tip of the feather to the end of the stave should be the same for each piece.
Hold the feather in place, with the stave on top (feather curling downwards) and proceed to step 6.


Step 6:

Use a small cable tie (in a colour to match your staves) and loop it through the holes on either side of the feather. Close the cable tie on the feather side and pull tightly, so the feather can't slip out.  Cable ties can be purchased from any electrical supply, hardware or computer store.  You can also use thin wire if you prefer.

Step 7:

Loop a second cable tie through the top holes and fasten it as for step 6.  Repeat for each stave.


Step 8:

Clip the ends off all the cable ties using scissors or side cutters.


Step 9:

Slide one washer onto a bolt, then slide a stave on (with the rhinestones facing down).
Now alternate each stave with two washers till you have used twelve Staves.  If there is still space at the end of the bolt, then you can add a few extra washers between the staves at either end.
Place one final washer on the end of the bolt after the last stave, and attach the nut.
To finish, screw on the locking nut (with the nylon centre), and tighten the locking nut on each bolt as tightly as you like. It may help to use a pair of pliers to hold the nut while you use a screwdriver to tighten the bolt.
The tighter the nut, the more firmly your fan will stay open. The looser the nut, the more easily your fan will open and close.


Step 10:

Lay out each fan, ensuring that the staves are spaced equally – anywhere between 90 - 180 degrees ( semi-circle) depending on your preference.
For left and right hand fans, lay out each fan side by side, so the top staves are pointing to each other.

Step 11:

Thread the nylon fishing line through the hole in one side of the first stave, where the lower cable tie is attached. Tie the fishing line in a secure knot, then thread it through the matching hole on the next stave.
Tie securely and repeat this step till you've tied the fishing line through each stave and your fan is strung together.
It's a good idea to put a drop of superglue on the knot at the beginning and end of your fan string, to prevent the knot from coming undone.  Try not to get any superglue on the fan stave, as it can leave a cloudy mark.

Make sure that you tie each stave together at an equal distance.
Test your fan by closing it – does it fold up correctly? If your fan doesn't close fully, then you may need to remove the fishing line and tie it again, leaving a slightly wider gap.

Your Ostrich feather fans are now ready to use!
Baby pink ostrich feathers, white staves & Swarovski rose ab rhinestones

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