I had to do a process presentation along with the project I did for class, so I figure I'd share it with you guys too.
I bought two pre-formed foam wreath forms from the craft store and foam glue. The other stuff, red and white acrylic paint, copy paper, red cardstock, scissors, utility blade, old toothbrush, and tissue paper, I already had lying around collecting dust.
I began by cutting around 1,000 feathers out of about a dozen sheet of standard white copy paper using four basic shapes. The majority were round down-like feathers ranging from half the size of a dime to silver dollar size. I cut each individually so no two would be exactly alike. Cut the basic shape, make a fold in the center (not end to end but close), cut along the sides to various degrees, curl the feather as you would a ribbon with edge of the scissors, and then fold again at the center seam.
I glued both foam forms together and shaved down the front to round it a bit more using the utility blade. I didn't know that Stryofoam is generally cut using heat, which also seals the foam so it doesn't continue to flake off. Ooops! I then covered the complete form in tissue paper so I would have a more solid and matte surface in case it showed between the feathers I would be applying.
After which, I glue each feather into place with a small amount of glue on the tip of the bottom seam and pressed each down with a chopstick. The feathers are so close together it's impossible to get your fingers between them without damaging the shape you created. I worked in a circular motion from the inside-out.
The last feathers to be put into place were the red ones. Then, I created the arrow using a wooden dowel cut to size, painted it with white acrylic, attached three large feathers with glue, and splattered the other end with red acrylic using an old toothbrush.
After the arrow was dry I shoved it into the foam without glue so it can be easily removed for shipping, storage, etc. Done!