that each one curves naturally to the right or left. Separate them in this way, leaving the longest and straightest one for the center feather. The idea is to use an odd number of feathers; usually five to seven, but occasionally as many as eleven are used.
Straighten the feathers by running the quill over an exposed light bulb as shown in Figure 1. Protect your eyes with sunglasses. Gently apply a steady pressure to the quill until it softens and begins to bend to the desired shape. Do not force it too quickly or it might crimp and be ruined.
As the feather is being heated, turn it over from time to time to ensure an even distribution of heat. Also, you will probably have to over-bend it somewhat in order for it to maintain the desired shape. For a faster job, use your thumbnail to simply crimp the quill every 1" or so.This may be necessary in addition to the heat treatment, as a combination of these two methods works quite well and slightly crimped feathers tend to retain their shape better than those that have only been heated.
For a more realistic look, carefully trim the black ends of your feathers with a pair of sharp scissors. First, cut the flimsy tip off of each feather so there is about 3" of black remaining. Next, cut these to resemble the eagle tail feathers shown in Figure 2. The desired shape is more like the tip of a butter knife than the extreme point of the turkey feather. The center feather should have about the same amount of vein on each side and be slightly more pointed than the others. Look at photos of real eagle feathers for reference.