Feather Wall Art DIY African Juju Hat Tutorial

Feather Wall Art DIY African Juju Hat Tutorial

A few weeks ago, after what seemed like a never-ending decor battle with my console table design layout {I know, so dramatic}, I decided that the wall above it, which is part of it, needed something that was pretty enough to draw attention but not so much as to distract the eye. It seemed like every mirror or work of art I hung or placed there became the focal point of the room, creating too much fuss, and it just wasn’t working for me. It was then that I decided I needed something similar in color to the wall rather than contrasting it… and then as if from the heavens above, it finally hit me. A Juju hat was the obvious answer.

Since around 2006 or so, I’ve been spotting these amazingly gorgeous, colorful and textured circular feather wall art pieces in decor magazines and then of course, on the internet. It wasn’t until recently, though that I learned that they are actually African headdresses, traditionally worn by Village Chiefs in the Cameroon region of central Africa. The feathers are supposed to be symbolic of prosperity, and represent the wealth of positive qualities associated with birds. Also known as a Juju Hat, it is only recently that they have been used as wall art in high-end homes, and cost anywhere from $300-$1300 dollars each.

You can find more information at AfricanArt.com, where they sell a few different varieties in the $315 range. There is also an Etsy shop called Maman Afrique Boutique which has a few vintage Juju hats ranging from $500-$600 in a variety of bright colors. I found a gorgeous Vivid Blue African Headdress in Lucite Box by William-Christopher Design via One Kings Lane a few weeks ago. And Table Tonic has a nice variety of bold colors and various feathers {choices} from $239-$650 each.

Feather Wall Art DIY African Juju Hat Tutorial

So my next thought was of course to make one of my own…
I did a search for Juju hat DIYs and found only two.
1. DIY African Juju feather hat tutorial by Vintage Farm Furniture, which is pretty great and how I located the feathers I’ve used here. I’ve only changed my version slightly, so check hers out for an alternate take on it.
2. A juju hat made from thick wool yarn from Flutter Flutter if you’re against using feathers.

I wanted to really try and recreate an authentic looking version, as they are woven together on a raffia base, then open up into a large circle, which sort of shoots out and away from the wall a bit once hung. So I purchaced grid rug netting, thin yarn and large needles hoping I could hand-stitch the feathers in a similar fashion and somehow weave them into place. But the feathers are so delicate, that I would have ruined the pre-strung quality, and killed the project. I decided to use the grid but with hot glue and added a foam backing that I smiply cut away, revealing the netted grid, making it unbelivably easy to hang with a simple nail in the wall.

Since I was looking for neutral colors to blend in with my wall rather than contrast with it, I used 3 strung Rooster Coque Tails in Natural/bleach {$45.50 per 1/4lb} and chose the shorter tails because they were less expensive. Even though authentic Juju Hats are approximately 30inches in diameter, I only had about 24″ of wall space to fill, making the shorter and less expensive feathers, the perfect choice for mine.

For more ideas on how to decorate using African Juju hats go to Funky Feathered African Jujus via Apartment Therapy

Here’s What You’ll Need…

Feather Wall Art DIY African Juju Hat Tutorial

* Feathers, strung. I used 3 strung Rooster Coque Tails in Natural/bleach {$45.50 per 1/4lb ~ read above for more info} You can choose any feathers you like, I was looking for a neutral color and this was my favorite. If you want yours larger, choose larger feathers.
* Rug Canvas
* Soft pliably fabric or textile like felt. {I used a flexible foam sheet used to pack/ship an item that was sent to me.}
* Scissors
* Hot Glue gun + glue

Please note: this is not an inexpensive DIY unless you already have all the supplies. But it is a fraction of the cost of an original, authentic, or vintage African Juju hat.

My Total cost: about $150

Steps…

Feather Wall Art DIY African Juju Hat Tutorial

* Decide how large you want your total diameter to be, then find a large round object and trace your base.

Feather Wall Art DIY African Juju Hat Tutorial

* Then cut it out with your scissors. I wanted my total diameter to be around 24″ round, so I cut my base at about 11-1/2″-12″. Adding my 6″ of feathers, created the exact size I needed.

Feather Wall Art DIY African Juju Hat Tutorial

* Carefully open up your strung feathers. Each of mine were different. One roll had 3 different sets and another had two. They are delicate, so handle them gently.

Feather Wall Art DIY African Juju Hat Tutorial

* With your pliable fabric placed down, center your rug grid circle cutout atop, then begin glueing your first strung set of feathers around the edge. Trim the excess off rather than overlapping.

Feather Wall Art DIY African Juju Hat Tutorial

* It should look something like this.

Feather Wall Art DIY African Juju Hat Tutorial

* To create extra fullness and texture, because I wasn’t going to get the authentic “splay” with my flat base, I began with my first row of feathers facing down {curved down}. Then next row I faced up {almost feels backwards}, then down then up and back and forth all the while pressing with my fingers not only down to set the glue but back and up a bit for more flared feathers.

Feather Wall Art DIY African Juju Hat Tutorial

* Keep adding rows of strung feathers, alternating facing down and facing up until you’ve hit the center. I was really trying to build mine up for dimension and texture. If you’re not as worried about that as I was, you could probably get away with using/buying 2 sets of 1/4lb strung feathers rather than 3… though I almost wish I had one more set.

Feather Wall Art DIY African Juju Hat Tutorial

* At this point, you should have smaller sets of feathers from cutting excess off. Use these to create your finished center. Then with about 3-5 feathers in your hand, apply glue, then place into the center to hide any edges, seams, and to finish it off.

Feather Wall Art DIY African Juju Hat Tutorial

* It should look something like this.

Feather Wall Art DIY African Juju Hat Tutorial

* Once your glue dries, flip it over and carefully trim away your soft fabric backing, leaving it attached to your rug grid. This stabelizes it while keeping it pliaple.

Feather Wall Art DIY African Juju Hat Tutorial

* Look at the front of your work and decide where you want the top to hang by determining which way your feathers look their most natural {and prettiest, of course} turn it back around and trim away a bit of your felt or foam, revealing your grid. Use a nail with a larger head and simply hook your grid over the nail to hang your new feathered friend.

Voila… Voila!

Feather Wall Art DIY African Juju Hat Tutorial

Feather Wall Art DIY African Juju Hat Tutorial

Feather Wall Art DIY African Juju Hat Tutorial

Feather Wall Art DIY African Juju Hat Tutorial

Feather Wall Art DIY African Juju Hat Tutorial

Feather Wall Art DIY African Juju Hat Tutorial

Feather Wall Art DIY African Juju Hat Tutorial, console decor idea


Also Seen…

* Moss Lipow “Eyewear” book from drollgirl
* Sitting gazelle statue is from ebay {you can see LeRoy trying to play with it here}
* Large shell is vintage, was my mom’s from the late 70′s
* Large stone candlestick is from a shop here in Lake Arrowhead, the tall white candlestick I thrifted and painted white
* Battery operated candles

* See my Juju hat in in my office before it made its journey to the living room.
* Find my console table decor inspiration
* See my living room sans furniture for an idea of where this space is

Have Fun!

Find all my DIYs here
FInd all my Home DIYs here

* FACEBOOK * TWITTER * BLOGLOVIN’ * PINTEREST *

LA native & lifestyle blogger Maegan Tintari writes daily at ...love Maegan.com sharing beauty & style secrets, including fashion DIYs, how-to nail art manicures, hair tutorials, and home decorating ideas, as well as a look into her personal life with her husband and adorable dogs, two Frenchies & an old Pug in wheels. Here you will find her talking about their journey & battle with infertility & recent relocation up to the mountains by a lake in search of a better life.

22 Comments

  • C.A.R.

    February 21, 2013 | Reply

    Ohmygosh such a great and beautiful idea!

    munchmecat.blogspot.com

  • P.S. I love this...

    February 21, 2013 | Reply

    I LOVE that idea. Looks easy enough for me to try. Thank you for sharing!

    Zena
    http://www.psilovethis.blogspot.com

  • Leti

    February 21, 2013 | Reply

    I love it!
    Dontcallyourmum.blogspot.com.es

  • Tina

    February 21, 2013 | Reply

    Wow! It’s so you. :)

    -Tina

    (P.S. First time commenting since I started reading your blog a few years ago!)

  • Heather Carson

    February 21, 2013 | Reply

    so cute!
    i love feathers, great idea!

    xo – heather
    This Life Is Yours Blog

  • Marina

    February 22, 2013 | Reply

    Look so cute! Make the place really cosily!

    xx
    Biskvittka.blogspot.com

  • Olga StarDec

    February 22, 2013 | Reply

    Pinning this, I have to give it a try, it’s gorgeous!

  • Timbo

    February 22, 2013 | Reply

    wow, this is a master piece!

  • A.Co

    February 22, 2013 | Reply

    This is GORGEOUS and I’ve never heard of these before!! You did an AMAZING job and it looks perfect there. WELL DONE M!

  • Peanut Butter & Sparkles

    February 22, 2013 | Reply

    I have been lusting after these for years. They were always a tad out of my price range. I tried to find a DIY but never found one that looked worth the effort. I can’t wait to try this! Thanks for posting. Yours looks gorgeous.

  • Me

    February 23, 2013 | Reply

    It couldn’t look more perfect.

  • ka

    February 24, 2013 | Reply

    merci! J’adooooooore ;-)
    Bravo!

  • Jen of MadeByGirl

    March 6, 2013 | Reply

    ALWAYS impressed by your DIY…

    Madebygirl.blogspot.com
    MadeByGirl.com

  • andrea

    March 11, 2013 | Reply

    Wow, it’s really a wonderful peace, nice to see this great work done by you, great creativity you have performed keeps it up.

  • Wall Coverings

    March 25, 2013 | Reply

    There are a lot of blogs and articles out there on this topic, but you have acquired another side of the subject. This is reliable content thank you for sharing it.

  • Anonymous

    April 14, 2013 | Reply

    great! i’m so glad i found this tutorial! just to be clear… the 1/4 pound was enough for the entire project? or did you have to buy three of these sets?

  • GlamorousZ

    May 20, 2013 | Reply

    I love your tutorial! I have just recently started a blog myself and have posted your DIY tutorial for these feather hats on my blog. I have tried to source it properly. Just wanted to make sure it was okay. If there was anything you wanted me to change or add please let me know.

    http://headoverheels4design.blogspot.com/

  • Kelly

    February 9, 2014 | Reply

    Hi. Do you recall how long each of the Strung feathers were? I’m in Australia and the online stores sell in length as opposed to by weight so I’m unsure of how much to buy.
    Thank you.

    • Maegan Tintari

      February 10, 2014 | Reply

      hmmmmm…. Oh man, I can’t really remember. They came in a handful of different pieces. Some were longer than others. I think the longest was about 25 inches, but I think/hope the link to shop will at least have some sort of measurement direction. I used one set, though if I wanted it bigger/fluffier I could have easily used 1-1/2-2. Good luck :)

  • leelee

    February 16, 2014 | Reply

    I am so in love with this project! I’ve seen them in designer mags and so wanted one but as you said…way out of my price range. I think I’m going to have to try this pronto! Thanks so much! I’m going to share this on google +.

  • Tracye

    February 26, 2014 | Reply

    Did you use 6-8 inches or 10-12 inches? I am just trying to get an understanding when you said you used shorter feathers. When I click on the link for the feathers it selects 10-12 inches. I love your juju hat and I am definitely going to try this myself.

    Thanks
    Tracye

  • Rita

    May 8, 2014 | Reply

    Hi Meagan! You are awesome! I love your tutorial. It is easy to follow.

    I am going to make one (30″ – 32″). First of all, how many layers of feather did you put down to create the fullness as shown. Secondly, I checked the website (Feather Place); the colour displaced is more yellow than natural. I could not find the natural colour on the website. Also, some other websites sell them by yard. Please let me know how many yields I should order to make a 30″ – 32″ hat. I am so excited And anxious to start the project.

    Thank you very much!

    Rita

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