How to Make an Eagle Wing Fan

by Sarah Freeman, Demand Media

    American Indians have created and used bird wing fans for centuries. These fans--often made from the complete wing of the animal--are accessories showcased during traditional dances and also waved to cool spectators on hot days. While American Indians used eagle wings to create the fans in the past, obtaining any kind of eagle wing or feather in the United States has been illegal since 1962. You can make a recreation of an eagle wing fan at home using supplies found around the house.

    Step 1

    Draw eagle wing feathers on a piece of sturdy paper, such as poster board, file folders or cardboard. Make the feathers the size and shape of an actual eagle wing, ensuring you include the wing's shaft down the center that extends beyond the feathers. If you're not sure where to start, look through books or browse the Internet for pictures of eagles to find one you can recreate. Color the feathers in with a medium of your choice, such as markers, paints or colored pencils.

    Step 2

    Cut out the eagle wing feathers. Make each one look more realistic by snipping slits along the feather's edge.

    Step 3

    Place the feathers in the shape of the eagle's wing, layering one feather slightly on top of the next. Glue them in place when you have a shape you desire.

    Step 4

    Wrap a thin piece of leather around the bottom of the eagle wing fan, where the feathers' shafts meet. Add some leather fringe pieces coming from underneath the handle. Fold the leather over itself and the leather fringe so that it meets in the back of the wing. Glue the seam in place.

    Step 5

    Use a marker or glue small beads in a design on the eagle wing fan's handle. Depict an animal or plant, or create an American Indian symbol for yourself.

    Tips & Warnings

    • You can build a wing fan using feathers of another type of bird other than an eagle. Visit the Oracle ThinkQuest website for directions on how to make a fan using an real bird wing.
    • It is illegal in the United States to take possession of an eagle or eagle parts, including the birds' feathers and wings, without a permit.

    About the Author

    Sarah Freeman has been writing professionally since 2005. She has written for publications around the world, including London's "Live Listings Magazine," "College Avenue Magazine" and "Fort Collins Weekly." Freeman works as the community reporter at the "Loveland Reporter-Herald" newspaper. She graduated from Colorado State University in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism.

    Photo Credits

    • Tom Brakefield/Stockbyte/Getty Images