Follow Your Heart – Arrow Tutorial and Free Printable

Decorative Arrow TutorialLast week I shared my thoughts on arrows in design and some really lovely product that incorporated the arrow. There was one product I kept going back to and wishing could be mine. The collection of vintage arrows being sold on Esty by Gallivanting Girls.  Not just the five from the listing but the whole collection. I looked to be about 20 arrows nesting in a jar. A collection of anything is amazing but add the colorful design of these arrows and I was hooked, an arrow though my heart so to speak. Unfortunately at $34 for five arrows this collection was going to be pretty pricy. So I got to thinking, could I reproduce these or at least something close? It is the color that I really loved and a dowel could easily be turned into an arrow so with several dowels, acrylic paint, washi tape and a few feathers I got to work.

Here is what I came up with!

1. Start with 3/8″ dowels (about the size of a pencil) and cut them down to various lengths ranging from 24-3o” long.
2. Using washi tape (masking or painters tape will also work) mask of sections to create stripes and segments before adding color. This can be done any way you like.
3. Apply acrylic paint to those segments being mind full that some pattens you may want to repeat on both ends of the dowel, some you may want only at the top and some centered to make for a more interesting arrangement in the jar.

4. Once the paint has dried remove the tape and re-tape new sections to create more pattern and add additional colors. This process can be repeated as many times as you like to create more detail.
5. This will be the final paint results. I added strips of black washi tape cut to different width to add more contrast (This could also be done with another coat of paint if you’re using masking tape.)

If you would like a glossy finish to your arrows you can add a coat of clear gloss spay paint once all the colored paint has dried.

Decorative Arrow TutorialThe final step is to add feathers. I will admit I would have liked to have had more options for my feather treatment but I have not been able to locate a wide variety here in Germany. If you are near a Micheal’s or Hobby Lobby in the U.S there are a wide variety available.  I found this pack of multi-colored feathers that I made work.

I tried several feathering techniques some I found more attractive than others. Of course, the most difficult one to accomplish looks the best but I will show you the easier ones as well.

6. Select feathers that are basically the same size at the top and cut them each down to about 2 1/2″ (from the top)

7. Then cut them down the middle just along the side of the spine. You can then use the scissors to shape then so they look more uniform

8. You will end up with four feathers that look like this.

Now for the hard part…

Decorative Arrow Tutorial
9. Using super glue gel (or whatever type glue you prefer) run a bead of glue along the spine of the feather.

10. Hold spine against the top of the arrow so the feather is perpendicular to the arrow. This part requires patience. You will need to hold the feather in place until the glue dries enough to hold.

11. Repeat this process on all 4 sides of the arrow…. Be patient!

The second feather option is slightly easier using only two feathers and minimal glue. You will still want to trim you feathers this time leaving an extra bit of the spine and stripping off the feathers at the bottom. You will attach the feathers by binding the base of the feather to arrow using embroidery floss. Secure the ends of the floss using super glue. You may also want to add glue to the top of the feather to hold it against the arrow.

Decorative Arrow Tutorial

The final technique is the easiest. After stripping the bottoms, simply bundle a group of feathers around the top of the arrow. Again,using embroidery floss, secure the feather in the same way you did above.  The results are the simplest and least detailed but very easy to accomplish.

Below you can compare the final results.
Decorative Arrow Tutorial

I think any of them work, it just depends on your plans for the finished product and how much time you have to spend on getting the results fine tuned.

Decorative Arrow Tutorial

Free Printable You may have notice the cute ” Follow Your Heart” banner in this post and guess what it is…



As a special treat I am including a free printable just in time for Valentines Day!  Just click here to download and print to your heart desire!

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