Use feathers and a few shades of paint to create a distinctive wall finish.

Feather Wall Painting Techniques

by Jan Burch

With a few colors of paint and a handful of feathers, you can create faux painting effects to add a distinctive touch to any room. Use a feather duster to make a subtle textured look that's lovely in bathrooms, dens or bedrooms. Go modern with a pop-art look that uses a single feather as painting tool. The single-feather painting technique also gives the ideal finishing touch to faux marble painting. Whether you paint the entire room or highlight an accent wall, feather painting will add a new dimension to your do-it-yourself repertoire.

Use a feather duster as a giant paintbrush to create a subtle, textured effect on your wall. Choose three related paint colors. An easy way to do this is to select three adjacent colors from a paint chip. Use the middle color to paint a solid base coat. Trim the feather duster to about one-third of its length, making a stiff, round "paintbrush." Using the darker of the remaining two colors, dip the feather duster to coat just the tips with paint, then dab the duster on a paper bag to remove excess paint. Pounce the duster straight into the wall, leaving an area of mottled dark paint. Repeat to cover the wall and allow to dry. Using a new feather duster, repeat the pouncing step with the lightest paint color.

Paint with a single feather over a solid-color wall. Dip the soft end of the feather in your contrast paint and stroke the wall freely with it, making lines and swirls wherever you want. Try flicking the dipped feather to create random splatters of paint over your lines. Use one or two strong, contrasting colors for a modern art effect, or just one low-contrast color for a subtle, sophisticated look.

Use the feather painting technique as a final step in faux marble painting. Lightly dip a single feather in white paint mixed with glaze. Trace the feather in a twisting motion over the painted surface to create the illusion of soft veins that add depth to the marble look.


  • Choose white or nondyed feathers, if possible, to avoid the risk of dye bleeding into the paint and spoiling your work.
  • Have extra feather dusters and feathers available before you begin. When the feathers get so loaded with paint that they no longer give you the look you want, you can discard them and use a fresh one.
  • Practice first on a large piece of white foam core or poster board before you tackle painting your wall. This will let you check your color choices as you develop your technique.

About the Author

Jan Burch has written about home, garden, wellness and other topics since 1992. Her articles have appeared in ByLine, Living Natural and New Mexico Woman. Based in Albuquerque, Burch is a Feng Shui consultant and Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioner. A life-long crafting enthusiast, she holds a master's degree from the University of California.

Photo Credits

  • Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images