Mallard Bow Tie


Ducks have such beautiful secondary feathers! So when I got home after a duck hunt where I was able to get multiple mallards this season, I thought about what I could possibly use them for. After perusing the web a while, I came across an image for feather bow ties. I would never have considered wearing a bow tie before but now that I was able to integrate my passion into my formal wear, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to create one. below is what I used for this project:



12 - Mallard secondary feathers, 6 from either side of the wing

1 - worn out 1" leather belt

1 - paper clip

hot glue gun


I suggest trying to pick similar length and size feathers so the bow tie appears even in layout. While I am unfamiliar if it is the case with other ducks, mallards usually have ten secondary feathers on either wing, so one duck should be enough for a bow tie.

Cut the feather to measure around 3" in overall length.  

Next, cut the belt in a length of about 2 1/2"-3". Depending on the thickness of the belt and how easily it rolls on itself you may need more material to work with. Since my old belt is one that could flip and be worn on either side, I had to cut the one side of the belt off and slim it down with a sander a bit to make it more easy to roll and glue.

Cut an additional 1/2" off the 1" belt. This will be where you glue the feathers to.

heat up the hot glue gun and apply a drop on one corner of the 1/2" section and place 1 feather angled furthest outward from the center. Repeat this for all 4 corners. Each of these feathers will be the outside edge of the bow tie. Add an additional drop of hot glue on each corner and add a feather on top of the four already glued feathers, covering the half section of the lower feather that does not have color.

For the final four feathers, glue the bottom two feathers of the bow tie on before gluing the top two. When gluing the top two feathers on,  glue them so that the brown portion of the feathers overlap with the bottom feathers. 

Once the feathers are in place and you are comfortable with the look and layout, roll the 2 1/2" section around the center as tightly as possible without displacing the feathers too much. The seal of this section needs to be on the back of the bow tie so the front looks clean. Apply hot glue as you roll it tight and secure it in a set of pliers, vice or zip tie to allow the glue to cool and harden.

After the bow tie has set,  bend and trim a large paperclip to be similar to the image below.


You will slip the two ends of the paperclip into the sides of the bow tie and the point at the top will slip behind top button of the shirt when complete. Glue in place on either end of the bow tie and allow to cool.

Enjoy your stylish new wild game bow tie!