I thought it’d be fun to take some ostrich feathers to make a DIY palm tree. This is the perfect project for a fun party backdrop decorations. Or it also works for homemade decor in a room that looks high end and expensive. Let me show you the inspiration, how I made the faux palm tree, and a video so you can put this together too.
Here’s the inspiration for my project. It’s available for $1500 on Amazon here. I love the top, but I wanted my base to to look more like a palm tree. I’ve seen a similar look in coastal homes that I think is so gorgeous!
how to make a diy palm tree
Let’s start with the video tutorial so you get an overview on what I did. Then, I’ll dive in with more details below:
If the video doesn’t work here, you can watch it on YouTube here. It’d mean so much if you’d watch the video! I’m trying to get better at my video skills so I can grow my YouTube channel. If you have a few minutes to watch this and/or subscribe, I’d so appreciate it.
This is to make 4 DIY palm trees
- 2 PVC Pipes (1″x10′) (for the trunk of the palm tree)
- Wood rings (for ridges on Palm Tree)- 3 packs are enough for 1 small tree
- or 3/8″ Backer Rod (for ridges on Palm Tree)- 1 pack is good for 3 trees
- 1-3/8″ Spade Bit (for making the hole in the base)
- Gold spray paint (to paint the base)
- Petal Pink dye (to dye the feathers)
- Styrofoam Ball 4.7” (to hold the feathers together)- buy 2
- Masking Tape (to attach the ridges on the base)
- Plaster of Paris (to give texture to the base)
- Acrylic Paint- Pink Chiffon (to paint the styrofoam ball)
- 1 Pack 12-14″ Ostrich Feathers (40 pieces)
- 1 Pack 8-10″ Ostrich Feathers (50 pieces)– though I wish I’d gotten 2 packs
- 3 Packages 14-16″ Ostrich Feathers (36 pieces)
- White Floral Wire (to extend the feather length)
- 2x4x8 Stud (for the base support)- buy 1
step 1- how to dye feathers
For my trees, I thought pink would be really fun! To be honest, leaving them white would save a lot of time and would be really pretty.
Start by washing the feathers in warm soapy water. I used dawn dish soap for the soap and washed all the feathers.
Then, I heated 4 quarts of water to near boiling.
Add 1 Tablespoon of dye to the hot water and 5 Tablespoons of vinegar to the water. This will help set the dye.
Next, add the feathers to the dye bath. Stir for 1 minute.
After the feathers are the desired color, remove them from the dye bath. Then, rinse them in cold water.
Once dyed, hang the feathers up to dry. I put them out on my drying rack. I used some clips to hang a few, but mostly they sat on top to dry. It took a few hours to dry in the sun.
step 2- fluff the feathers
Once dry, they a little shriveled looking so its good to fluff each one back up by running it through your fingers.
Start at the base (the quill) and work to the top of the feather. It also works to message them behind your hands like you’re trying to warm up your hands with the feather in the middle.
Divide the feathers back into their sizes.
Make 3 piles of short, medium, and long.
Then, divide each pile into 4 piles. This will be the feathers for each palm tree.
step 3- base for the feathers
Next, let’s assemble the top of the palm tree. That means connecting the feathers together. To do this, we’ll use two Styrofoam Balls. Begin by cutting both balls in half.
I used a bread knife and that works nicely. This will leave you with 4 pieces of styrofoam half balls.
Paint the top of the styrofoam ball pink (or whatever color your feathers are). This will help the ball to blend in with the feathers. I used a foam craft brush to apply the paint. Because the styrofoam is porous, the paint seeps into all the holes and so it takes a lot of paint to get it covered. Let it dry.
Note, I didn’t paint the bottoms of the balls. For the 4.5′ palm trees, this isn’t an issue at all. For the 5.5′ palm trees, I am a little shorter than them so I can see the bottom and that bugs me. So I wish I would’ve painted the bottom of two of them.
Once the styrofoam is dry, mark the center on the bottom.
Then, put it on top of the PVC pipe and center it. Then push it down to create an indent.
Make the indent deeper with a pair of scissors. Push the intent in more with the tops of the scissors. This will make it so that the styrofoam will sit on the top of the PVC pipe easily.
step 4- assemble the feathers
Now for the fun part! Start putting the feathers- start with the longest ones at the base and then do the medium ones at the top. Make sure the feathers are arching down to give the look of a palm tree.
On the smallest ostrich feathers, use white wire and masking tape to extend the feathers.
I used a few inches of the white wire. We’re extending the feathers as a way to save money- the long feathers are the most expensive.
Last, push the small (extended) feathers into the styrofoam. At this point, I put the styrofoam on some PVC pipe and only put the extra feathers in the front to create some fullness. Like I mentioned before, I wish I would’ve bought double the small feathers as I did to create even more fullness on the palm trees.
step 5- make the base support
And now, let’s make a support that’ll hold up the palm tree. To do this, I’m using some leftover 2x4x8 Stud that I have on hand. First of all, cut 4 pieces to 12″ long. Next, cut 8 pieces of the 2×4 to 4-1/4″ long.
Use the 1-3/8″ Spade Bit to drill a hole in the middle of the 12″ long pieces. This is where the PVC pipe will go.
Finally, screw two of the 4-1/4″ pieces to the 12″ piece to create an X. Repeat 3 more times to make the base supports for all the palm trees.
step 6- make the palm tree trunk
Finally, make the palm tree trunk. Start by cutting the PVC pipe into 4 pieces- 2 need to be cut to 4.5′ long with a miter saw. That leaves two pieces that are 5.5′ long.
Put each piece of the PVC pipe into a base support.
Now it’s time to add ridges to the PVC pipe to make it look more like a palm tree. I tried two methods which I’ll share the pro and cons for.
First of all, I used 3 packs of Wood rings for one of the shorter palm trees. This cost $9, but was super fast to tape onto the base. I taped them up every 3-1/2″ on the PVC pipe. for a total of 11 ridges on the short palm trees.
Next, I tested using foam 3/8″ Backer Rod for the ridges on the rest of the palm tree bases. This cost $4 for three trees- so much more affordable! I had to cut the backer rod to 5-1/4″ long pieces and then tape them onto the PVC pipe. Because they’re foam, they move around more and are trickier to tape on. But save so much money!
For the tall palm trees, those have 18 ridges. Again, I put them up every 3-1/2″ up the PVC pipe.
step 7- give the trunk texture and color
Once those were assembled, I quickly applied a layer of Paper Mache over the palm tree trunks. To do this, I cut strips of newspaper, dipped them in Paper Mache paste, and covered the PVC pipe and the ridges.
To make the paste, just mix 1 parts flour with 2 parts water and a dash of salt (to prevent mold growth). I used 1 cup of flour, 2 cups of water, and some salt. Mix well with a whisk until the paste is the consistency of watery pancake batter. Note, I heated my Paper Mache on the oven and it got really chunky. I should’ve just used warm water and skipped the stovetop.
I did this step because I figured it’d give it a paper look and not a plastic look (which I prefer). I also worried about how well the paint would stay on the PVC pipe. In my experience, paint stretches easily off PVC pipe. Let the Paper Mache dry.
To continue one more step to get better texture on the base, I decided to mix some Plaster of Paris with water until it is the consistency of thin paint. Then, I simply brush it on over the PVC pipe. I didn’t want any of the edges of the news paper to show so I thought a plaster look would be good. I want these for decor in my home so I’m really obsessing over details with this step.
Let the plaster dry. This is a quick step- usually less than 20-30 minutes.
Take the palm tree bases outside to spray paint. I went with a metallic Gold spray paint. Apply a few thin coats.
To finish off the palm trees, hot glue the styrofoam with the feathers in it over the top of the PVC pipe.
This is a slow project with lots of small steps, but it’s so worth it! I love how it turned out!
I think the base looks really expensive as does the feathers.
I had a lot of fun putting together a table setting for this project. I wanted it to be very Barbie chic! For the napkin, I made it look like a bow- I love that detail!
They totally work for a party. But I love them for everyday decor too! So I’m planning on them living in my room.
Like I mentioned, I wish I would’ve painted the bottom of the Styrofoam balls on the taller trees. And added more feathers for better coverage. Overall though, I’m very excited for how it looks!
I think it looks really sophisticated in my room. And it gives a beach-y vibe!
Warning- this is not a cheap project. Especially when making 4 because all of the ostrich feathers add up! Here’s exactly how much I paid for these palm trees-
The 2 PVC Pipes cost $17, the 3 packs of Wood rings cost $9, and the 3/8″ Backer Rod cost $4. I also bought the 1-3/8″ Spade Bit which costs $8, the Gold spray paint is $10, and the Petal Pink dye came to $5. The 2 Styrofoam Balls were $10, the Acrylic Paint- Pink Chiffon was $1, and the White Floral Wire cost $7. These come to a subtotal of $71.
Like I mentioned, the ostrich feathers were the most expensive part of this project. The 12-14″ Ostrich Feathers cost $30, the 8-10″ Ostrich Feathers cost $19, and the 14-16″ Ostrich Feathers cost $50. So I spent $99 on feathers.
My grand total comes to $170 to make 4 DIY palm trees.
If you look at the price for each palm tree, that comes to $42.50 per palm tree. What do you think about that price? Compared to the $1500 inspiration lamp, it’s not too shabby!
Derek and Lucy
Last week we made the impossible decision to put our dogs Derek and Lucy to sleep. We found out Derek had bone cancer and he was in a lot of pain. For Lucy, she has a thyroid problem and for years her food went right through her. This meant lots of accidents inside. The poor girl loved food, but was always starving. So we said goodbye to them together.
It was absolutely heart breaking. We thought we’d get a few more years with Derek, but had known for awhile that it was Lucy’s time. Our house feels so empty without them. I miss them deeply.
If you’ve been a long-time reader, you’ve probably seen their pictures on here. Lucy especially loved being in front of the camera and was my little model dog. This is the last project I made with them around. So I snapped a few pictures with them in it.
They were the best dogs and I’ll miss them so much. I hope they’re in doggy heaven together having the best time. I like to think of them not in pain together, very happy.
Well, besides that sad note, I hope you enjoyed this DIY palm tree! I think it’d be so fun for party decorations or just as some cute decor in a room. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments about this project. I’m happy to help.
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