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Feather Wall Painting Techniques

Updated February 21, 2017

You may have heard of feathering your nest, but have you heard of feathering your walls? Feathers dipped in paint and swished over a base coat on the wall can leave a wispy, creative look that wallpaper cannot achieve. Feather painters often use feather dusters for painting walls, to give a fuller image than a single feather would.

Decide on Your Color Scheme

Feather painting can give you a dramatic effect, or a wispy romantic one. You may want dark feathering on a light wall, or light on dark, or multicolour feathering on a base coat. When you have decided on the look you want, buy paint for your base coat, and paint for each colour you want to use for feathering, staying with either all latex, or all oil paints. Make sure to buy a paint tray and a separate feather duster for each colour you are using.

Start with the Base Coat

Prepare the room for painting as you would with any paint job, taping off baseboards, edges, door and window frames and covering furniture. Apply the base coat and let it dry thoroughly, according to the paint directions. If you are covering a light wall with a dark colour, you may need two coats. When your wall is dry, you are ready to feather paint.

Practice Makes Pretty

No matter how many colours you are using for feathering, fill paint trays with the respective colours, each about 1/2 inch deep. Practice your painting method on a grocery bag or sheet of butcher paper until you get the knack of just dipping the tip of the feather dusters in the paint, without getting it too thick; then just apply a light wispy image on your practice paper. Soon, you will get the feel for just how much paint you need on your feathers. Use the paper or bag later to wipe off excess paint from your feather dusters.

Time to Feather in Monotone Color

Now that you have practised and found the feathering look you like, it's time to be creative. Let's say you have determined you want silver feathery flecks on your navy blue bathroom wall. Dip your feather duster tips into the paint lightly, and then apply the paint to the wall. You can start making a scattered pattern, and then fill in between "spatters" until you like the density of the silver feathering. Another look combines different values of paint in the same colour family. For a smart look, use all shades of cocoa, chocolate, caramel and nougat on a taupe wall. For your little girl's room, a pale pink base coat with delicate red feathering would be fresh and pretty. For a sophisticated look, apply almond feathering on a white wall, with just hints of metallic gold.

Try a Colorful Kaleidoscope

For a child's room, a laundry room or kitchen, go bright and whimsical. Use an off-white base coat with three or four primary colours feathered in, again in a random pattern. Remember, if you want a repeatable pattern, you may as well use wallpaper. You will need a separate feather duster for every colour, and you may want a couple of extras, too, in case one gets too drenched with paint.

Drama and Contrast

Another option is a high-contrast colour scheme. Try a white wall, with only black or chocolate brown feathering. Or, white with red or apple green. You may find you want bigger and more frequent feather spatters with such a simple, high-drama colour scheme.

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About the Author

Linda Johnson is a veteran writer and Photoshop and Illustrator aficionado. She is a TV-radio producer, ad agency owner and a winner of Addy Awards and the First Place Award for Best National Public Service Film. In addition to Johnson's online work, her writing has appeared in "Poetry Guide," the "Indianapolis Star" and Indianapolis Dine magazine.