Instructions for dyeing feathers in a microwave

Because we have been asked on a number of occasions about dyeing feathers, I thought it was about time I had a go. Feathers being what are classed as a protein fibre like wool and leather need an acid dye and some heat to colour them.

I Used:- Kenanthrol acid milling dye, Vinegar, Water, Glass microwaveable bowl, Cling film, Absorbent towel and a Hairdryer.

This simple recipe seemed to work very well

  1. Mix ½ spoon of dye with a dash of water to make a paste
  2. Add the paste to 500 ml of water in a glass microwaveable bowl
  3. Add three dessert spoons of white vinegar
  4. Add the feathers. These will probably float.
  5. Cover with cling film.
  6. Microwave on full power for three minutes.
  7. Turn any feathers over that are floating so the dye can reach both sides
  8. Microwave for another three minutes.
  9. When the mixture has cooled a bit, Lift very gently and rinse. Some feathers are more delicate than others. Place on an absorbent towel and pat to absorb excess water

10.Feathers at this point will look very bedraggled. Hold the feather by the quill and with a hairdryer, blow in one direction.

The featured imaget were feathers from our first dye session

A word about safety

It is best to avoid inhaling the dry dye powder as it can produce lung irritation. Where possible use the dye in solution. Wear rubber gloves when you are handling the dyes. If you are using the powder for any length of time it is wise to use a facemask, (available from most DIY stores). Clean any spills as you go on to avoid unwanted stains. Protect yourself and the work surfaces and keep the dyes away from children, food and pets. Do not use dye utensils for food preparation!