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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

make quills for writing

This just might a perfect activity to keep kids busy while you are cooking cranberries and chopping pecans this week. 

How about making some quills and natural ink - and then letting the kids make the place tags for Thanksgiving dinner?

We have a big collection of feathers because we live near a very populated duck lake. If you do not have any access to feathers, you might need to buy some at the craft store. 

To make a quill you simply cut the end of the feather into a point and then split the point a bit (this allows some of the ink to store so you can write a few letters before having to re-dip it). That is it really. Half the fun is experimenting with different tip shapes to see which works the best for you. If you need better instructions, you can look here.

For ink, simply mash some berries in water and boil a bit, then strain. Add a splash of vinegar and salt to impede nasty bacterial growth and mold and you are ready to write. Experiment with blueberries, cranberries, walnut shells, coffee... again, the experimenting is the fun part. You can even just used watered down paint if you do not want to make homemade ink.

This is one of those childhood crafts that once learned, will continue to pop up in children's play. It shows up here a few times a year, always for different purposes and with different results.

Have you done this? Any spectacular tip to share?


  1. My oldest (8.5yrs) has been talking non-stops about quills lately. We just bought ink to use with his quill as well as one his friend gave him complete with a nib. It is definitely fun.

  2. As usual, this post is so cool and you've posted *yet another* thing I so badly want to do with my girls. Think I'll try blackberries and beet juice..

  3. Thanks so much for this! Never would have occurred to me - yet so easy and fun. Perfect timing - our mulberry tree is bursting with dark purple berries. :)

  4. Brilliant. Doing this with my independent study art students (hippie school, they're 7th graders) this fall!


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