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Bleaching prior to dying

9265 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  SBPatt
I've done a lot of dying but I want to trying bleaching certain feathers so they will be a light enough shade to take bright dyes suitably.
I was going to start with some pheasant rump. Any methods, suggestions?

Thanks Pat
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Bleaching feathers

Go to Sally Beauty Supply and get some whitener and a bottle of 20 volume hydrogen peroxide. Mix the whitener and H2O2 to have a consistency of cream or maybe thick milk. Wash the skin with Dawn and warm water and rinse in clear water. Submerge the pheasant skin and work the bleach solution into the feathers. The feathers will turn to a ginger color that will be a medium dark tan when wet. Don't let it go too far or you will burn the feathers and they will get brittle. Rinse well with clear water then rinse with hair conditioner. It is better to remove the skin too soon than too late. If the roots of the covert feathers and aftershafts are still gray you can bleach a second time.

Have fun,

Jerry's directions are right on with the exceptions that 1) Synthrapol or any clear dish detergent cold be used to make sure it is cleaned and degreased; and 2) Don't use hair conditioner if you are going to dye the material because the glycerin in the hair conditioner will coat the material's fibers and greatly hinder the absorption of dye. This is the quickest way to bleach feathers, skins, animal hair, and animal tails used in fly tying. Don't worry about the color being a light ginger or tan after bleaching, it will dye, including light colors like yellow or light pink, just fine.

The other way you can bleach materials if you don't want to go to a beauty supply shop and get whitener and 20 volume Hydrogen Peroxide is to simply soak it overnight at room temperature in a bath of the regular Hydrogen Peroxide you can buy at the drug store, Wally World, Freddy's, K-mart, Target, and many grocery stores. Mix it with water so there is at least 25%but not more than 50% Hydrogen Peroxide, put the material in it, and let it soak overnight. Then rinse it well and to stop all bleaching and neutralize the Hydrogen Peroxide that may be left, soak it for a few minutes in white vinegar and water then rinse again. This way of doing it doesn't require babysitting or the use of rubber of nitril gloves to protect your skin.
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missed a step

flytyer caught me in somewhat of a little goof.

I usually go straight from the bleach to the dye if I am dying the skin and then the conditioner after rinsing from the dye pot. I use a lot of blonde pheasant as is. The conditioner helps with brittle stems.

Great info

Sounds pretty easy. Thanks to both of you.
Going back a few years here but the info is still applicable; I’ve been bleaching pheasant tail for a while but hadn’t tried any other feathers on the bird. After soaking a rump patch and tail section in water (and a little Dawn detergent) to degrease, I placed it in a solution of 1 part 20 volume hydrogen peroxide (available at beauty supply stores)/2 parts clear ammonia and let it sit, swishing it around a couple times; the rump came out after 75 minutes, the tail was done in about 2 hours, after which they were placed in 1 cup water/2 Tbs white vinegar to neutralize the bleaching process. You want to do this outside, and cover it if you can.

Bleach Blonde Softhackle

hook - WFC Model 6 #8
thread - Uni 8/0 tan
tag - tinsel gold
tail - bleached pheasant tail
rib - small wire gold
abdomen - bleached hare’s ear
thorax - bleached pheasant aftershaft
shoulder - bleached pheasant rump

Can’t vouch for the bunny, but the pheasant was my work. Happy with the results but got some of the whitener and will give that a try, too, when the wife is out of the house for a while.

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