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How to best preserve a feather and turn it into a long lasting memory?

ShanadeusShanadeus Registered User regular
edited June 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
Basically, I'd like to somehow preserve a feather from my passed on bird and have a couple of ideas of what to do with it.
What I'd like to do is to somehow encapsulate a feather in glass so that I can perhaps make a light bracelet or necklace of it, or just keep it in a nice box, but I don't know how to go about it (in the UK).

Any suggestions and/or alternative ways to preserving a feather (I have a couple of them but I'd rather not experiment and risk ruining them)?

Shanadeus on

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    ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited June 2011
    You can get something like a coin or card slip and put it in there just for storage.

    How much are you willing to spend?

    ceres on
    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
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    ShanadeusShanadeus Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Money is not at all a problem here, I'm willing to pay a lot for a good method.

    Shanadeus on
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    NostregarNostregar Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    I don't know how you would get it done, but my first thought was get it encased in clear acrylic. Should be much, much cheaper than glass.

    Nostregar on
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    ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited June 2011
    Well, there are processes like lucite embedding, or you can go right off the deep end into LifeGem territory.

    Lucite is probably more sane under the circumstances, or you can keep it in a coin case or card slip, which is much cheaper but the feathers will decompose after a while.

    edit: I have worked with glass. Don't bother with that. You'll either be working cold (not airtight) or you'll destroy the feathers because glass reaches approximately eleventy billion degrees C before it's workable.

    ceres on
    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
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    Skoal CatSkoal Cat Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    My vote for a Lucite type option. On the cheap, I'd say vacuum seal it.

    Skoal Cat on
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    ShanadeusShanadeus Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    The lifegem stuff is neat but not for me, the acrylic stuff looks interesting though. But I wonder how well a feather would last in the plastic, sounds like air bubbles might cause trouble (air bubbles that an amateur like me would probably fail at avoiding).
    I'm currently storing the feathers in an air tight container, should I add in silica gel packs and mothballs just in case?

    Shanadeus on
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    ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited June 2011
    The acrylic embedding really is your best bet. A few air bubbles won't hurt anything; the amount of air you'll trap even if it's right on the feathers is way too small to be of real harm to them.

    For now I wouldn't put anything toxic in with them; they should last just fine temporarily.

    ceres on
    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
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    Skoal CatSkoal Cat Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    I'm sure you could find someone to do the acrylic cast for you. I'd try to contact someone who makes casting for custom jewelry pieces and go from there, or maybe even an acrylic shop if you've got one local.

    Skoal Cat on
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    tapeslingertapeslinger Space Unicorn Slush Ranger Social Justice Rebel ScumRegistered User regular
    edited June 2011
    *acrylics* such as Lucite are not a home-casting product. There are casting studios which can do it but it won't be as cost effective as some might suggest. A casting resin which could be used to create an embedment would be polyurethane, polyester or epoxy; as a general rule these materials are toxic in their liquid state and need to be handled with caution. For casting clear resins, you need to have a mold that's compatible with the resin in question, and for clarity the mold itself will need to have a high-gloss textureless surface (surface textures give a frosted effect). I am a consultant who sells these types of materials at my day job and I have worked with them before. Another option would be to use a coating epoxy (the type used for bar-tops and tables) to laminate the feather onto an existing pendant. there are a few books out there on resin jewelry work and I've done a good bit of it myself, so if you have questions I would be happy to help. :)

    tapeslinger on
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    SeñorAmorSeñorAmor !!! Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    What about laminating it? Not sure if the heat or pressure would destroy the feather, but I can't imagine it would.

    SeñorAmor on
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    Liquid HellzLiquid Hellz Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    What about laying it in a small plastic box and squirting a bunch of clear silicone into it?

    Liquid Hellz on
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    VestyVesty Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    SeñorAmor wrote: »
    What about laminating it? Not sure if the heat or pressure would destroy the feather, but I can't imagine it would.

    Laminate will protect against general wear and tear from handling it but it won't keep it from decomposing.

    Vesty on
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    SeñorAmorSeñorAmor !!! Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Vesty wrote: »
    SeñorAmor wrote: »
    What about laminating it? Not sure if the heat or pressure would destroy the feather, but I can't imagine it would.

    Laminate will protect against general wear and tear from handling it but it won't keep it from decomposing.

    Isn't laminate air tight?

    SeñorAmor on
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    tapeslingertapeslinger Space Unicorn Slush Ranger Social Justice Rebel ScumRegistered User regular
    edited June 2011
    sheet plastic laminate (for paper etc) will not seal very tightly around something as thick as the stem part of a feather. Clear caulking silicone will probably not be clear enough to see the feather through; silicone is also prone to yellowing with age. Feathers are like hair, they don't rot, but they are easy to damage, so sealing them inside another medium is optimal.

    tapeslinger on
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    ShanadeusShanadeus Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Thanks for the advice people!
    Looks like acrylicthingamajig is worth a closer look, but still looking for other options.

    How well would a feather last in an airtight jar?
    Or in a vacuum sealed jar (have no idea how you'd go about to do that though)?

    Shanadeus on
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    OgotaiOgotai Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    What kind of bird is it? If its not a parrot of some type, some colors can fade quickly if it stays exposed to light. Parrots dont fade as quickly as other birds but still can. The main thing is you want to keep it out of direct sunlight, and bright light in general if possible, if you want to colors to last as long as possible. UV light being the bigest factor here.

    I keep alot of feathers for research projects at work, some from species we would have a hard time getting more from. Most are just in envelops or plastic sleeves that are kept in cabinet when we are not using them. Some are several years old but still look fine. We're not handeling them on a regular basis though. Same thing with musieum specimens, they keep the stuffed skins in climate controled areas (dry) on trays in cabinets until a researcher needs to use them to study colors/size variation/distribution/other morphological characters. Alot of the stuff is still as colorful as life after decades.


    Short term, put it in a bag and stick it in the back of a freezer it if you are really worried about it. Its how we keep the birds we get until we can examin their feathers. Cold keeps any bacterial growth from degrading them (not really that big an issue, more for the birds themselves) and the dark keeps the colors from fading.

    Ogotai on
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