It was full of small, jewel-bright birds, fluttering and tumbling all around the room…”They’re not birds!” Harry said suddenly. “They’re KEYS! Winged keys.”
–, Chapter 16 – Through the Trapdoor and the Philosopher’s [Sorcerer’s] Stone
I knew early on I wanted to have flying keys in Spawn’s room.
It’s not like they are a major part of the Harry Potter cannon. They appear for a handful of pages in the first book as part of a challenge and then are never seen or heard from again. Still, they so completely capture the world of HP. Have a door you don’t want people to simply be able to get through? Not good enough to just lock it. You must lock it, give the key that unlocks it wings, and let it loose with hundreds of other winged keys. Catch it if you can. 😛
Making the keys was really concrete in my head. I’d seen a ton of examples online, but none of them looked how the keys had in my mind while reading the books. (The movie version failed me entirely by looking more like semi opaque dragonfly wings.) I’d seen the wings done in paper, shimmery fabric, papier mâché, and even stained glass. They all had their merits, but it just wasn’t what I wanted. I can’t imagine I’m the first person to think of actually using feathers, but I’ve yet to see it done that way online.
I picked up two packages of medium sized quill-type feathers and an extra package of smaller downy-type feathers. Both were by Creatology™ and available at Michael’s. The keys themselves were a bit harder to track down. I ended up ordering a huge lot of mixed keys off eBay for about $10. Still have a bunch of tiny keys I have no idea what I’m going to do with, but there you go. I have both a high and low heat glue gun. I’d used the low-heat for the peacock feathers in my wedding, so I figured that would work well for this application as well.
First I glued the individual feathers together to make wings, cutting the ends down as needed. I didn’t bother much with one technique or style over another. My only focus was that they all to look different. After all, they aren’t supposed to be atomically correct birds wings…just magic wings. 😀
Once I had two sets of wings, I glued them one side at a time to the keys. (Letting them dry/harden completely before going to the next side.) If needed, I’d top off the top/bottom with a bit more glue until they were completely solid and could handling a bit of me flailing them around without falling apart.
If I’d really been thinking, I’d probably have gotten some wire for attaching the wings. Still, I’m not unhappy with the glue in the end.
They’re colourful and the weirdest combination between soft (feathers) and hard (metal keys). I have no idea if I’m going to randomly hang them from the ceiling, put them on a mobile, or do something else entirely; but that’s part of the fun. They’re done, and that’s one thing I can cross off my list of crazy.
And seriously, I need less on my list of crazy. More to come soon…
*In unrelated news, I’m officially in my third trimester today. Have lots to say about that, but making the keys took up my evening so I figured I’d write about them first. More on that later.*