Make a peacock

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Louise Bardwell explains how to make a peacock for your terrace or Tudor table!

Make a colourful peacock to strut along your dolls' house terrace, or use a sitting one as an elaborate centrepiece for the Tudor table. A Victorian doll's house might include a taxidermt specimen in a glass case. Look at photograhps of real peacocks to help with the shape and the colouring.

Materials

Fimo Soft in Pacific Blue (no37)

18 small dark turquoise fluffy craft feathers

4 natural coloured feathers

Acrylic paint in metallic green, gold, black, white, dark blue and light blue

Floral Wire, 0.5mm diameter approximately

PVA glue

UHU glue

 

Size guide

The standing bird’s body should be about 1 1/4in long, 1/2in wide and the neck should be about 1in long. The head should be small and delicate with a small pointed beak. The neck should support the head easily.

The sitting bird has the same size body but the neck is shorter at about 1/4in with the same size head.

Making the peacock body

  1. The Fimo block is marked in eight segments. Cut 1½ segments of Fimo for each peacock.
  2. Shape the Fimo for each bird into a fat sausage, then elongate one end and shape it into a thinner sausage for the neck which is about 1/4in thick at the base near the body thinning towards the head. 
  3. Use a cocktail stick to make holes for the feathers. For the sitting bird make a small hole in the top of the head for the crest and six holes horizontally at the rear of the bird for the tail feathers.
  4. Make a hole in the top of the head for the standing bird and then 12 holes in the rear of the bird using the cocktail stick vertically so that the feathers will stand up in a fan shape.
  5. Make two holes underneath the bird for the legs. Harden the Fimo in the oven following the manufacturer’s instructions and then allow it to cool.

Adding the legs

  1. Cut 2in lengths of wire, you need four for each leg.
  2. Hold the four wires together 1/4in from the end using small pliers, and twist them together until the twisted section is 3/4in long.
  3. Bend the 1/4in long ends out to form toes, three forward and one backward. Trim any excess from the other end. Make the second leg in the same way.
  4. Coat the legs and toes in PVA glue and when dry paint them a light grey and leave to dry.

Adding the head detail

Use a fine paintbrush to paint the detail onto the peacock heads. Paint small white strips around the eye area with a small metallic green strip at the front and the back of the eye and the eye is black. Paint the beak grey.

Creating the plumage

  1. From the natural coloured feathers select four feathers where the smooth speckled ends are roughly the same size, for the peacock’s wings. Snip off and discard the fluffy ends of the feathers.
  2. Trim the fluffy edges off the dark turquoise feathers using sharp scissors. Make them between 1/2in and 3/4in wide with a rounded tip and narrow slightly toward the end nearest the bird.
  3. Cut the feather down in size where necessary, removing the thickest part of the quill so the overall length of each feather is no more than 3in. Reserve a few of the fluffy offcuts to make the head crests with later.
  4. Paint over the feathers sparingly with metallic green paint on both sides working the brush strokes in the direction of the barbs of the feather. 
  5. Paint a small patch of metallic green near the rounded end of each feather as a base for the ‘eye’.
  6. Paint a small oval in gold coloured paint in the centre of each metallic green patch.
  7. Paint a smaller dark blue oval in the centre of each gold oval. Finally add a small dab of light blue at the bottom of each dark blue oval.
  8. Cut two triangular shapes from paper, each side of the triangle being 3/4in long and paint them all over with metallic green paint.
  9. Paint smaller ‘eyes’ all over each one as described before. These will be the iridescent feathers on the back of each peacock.

Constructing the sitting peacock

  1. Take six of the painted tail feathers, cutting the opposite end to the ‘eye’ decoration. Cut three feathers down to 2 1/2in long, two feathers down to 2in long and one feather down to 1 1/2in.
  2. Use the UHU glue to fix the feathers into the holes at the rear of the sitting peacock, the longest at the bottom to the shortest at the top.
  3. Glue the triangle of iridescent feathers onto the peacock’s back so the widest end just overlaps the top of the tail feathers.
  4. Glue a wing feather onto either side.

Take a few of the fluffy offcuts that were previously put to one side and glue them into the hole on the top of the head. When the glue is dry trim them down to leave a short tuft for the crest.

Constructing the standing peacock

  1. Take the remaining 12 tail feathers and cut five down in length to 2 1/2in.
  2. Use UHU glue to fix the feathers in position, the longer ones at the back and the shorter ones to the front nearest the head.
  3. Attach the triangle of iridescent feathers, the wings and the head crest as for the sitting peacock.
  4. Glue the legs in position.

CONTACT DETAILS

Luxury feathers natural, dark turquoise fluffy craft feathers, 0.5 mm floral wire in silver from Hobbycraft, www.hobbycraft.co.uk

Fimo, acrylic paints and glues available from most good craft shops.

 

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