Monday, December 20, 2010
This posed no problem, except that I'm broke and none of the materials I had were black:
Feathers can be dyed, but the shaft of the feather in particular is difficult to get to take dye. Feathers can't be heated without some damage, so the dye bath needs to be lukewarm. Dye takes much more easily if the water is hot, though, so doing this to feathers takes a long time.
After the feathers have soaked for a few hours, they can be quickly dried in a 200 degree oven to test. If they're still not dark enough, you can throw them back in the dye bath. The red ones above took about five hours.
Once the materials were dyed, putting together the hat was fun. The wool didn't become a true black, but it went under the feathers as a stabilizer, so this worked itself out. I used some black fake rose leaves as a base for the feathers to give it some structure, and added some natural peacock plumage for shine.