papier-mâché layers had dried (I left the fan sitting on a wire rack resting on the radiator to help things along), I coated it with three layers of shellac to provide a waterproof and toughened finish. When this layer was dry, I gave it a brief sanding to even out any creases left in the paper layers. Unfortunately I wasn't quite diligent enough in this step, and a few creases are still present in the finished fan. I think I may have to ask Santa for a device that can do the sanding for me. Just one coat of gold paint on top of this was sufficent to give an even coverage.
Next, with help, I drilled 9 holes into the top of the fan to accept the full length Ostrich feathers I had choosen to use. In this step, I had to take it very slowly, as I didn't want to split the balsa wood, or drill down too far. I used a hot glue gun to secure the large ostrich feather in the drilled holes. Leaving the feathers as they were creates a section of fan that is too thin on fluff to be attractive, so I took apart a section of cockscomb trim and glued this into place in front of the ostrich feathers. As the quills of the trim was much smaller, I was able to use a small craft sissors to punch holes. The picture to the left shows the feathers in place and the initial gem placement to match the portrait.
The next step was to take away from some of the "stuck on" appearance of the gems, and give them more of a "set in" appearance. If I was to recreate this fan, I would take the time to carve settings into the wood, but as the gems were already in place, I used some black epoxy putty which I painted gold when it dried to imitate jewel settings.
So to finish, I added a line of small stick on pearl drops around the upper edge of the handle, and it was complete. Looking at the finished handle, I can't help thinking of gingerbread, but that, I think, is not entirely a bad thing.
And just a final note to say, despite what I thought myself when I was making this, the fan works quite well for its intended purpose. While the usual edge on, back-and-forth fan motion doesn't work, using the fan flat and sweeping in on and off ones skin, creates a nice draft by pulling the warm air away from one. I'm also given to understand that this also creates a nice draft for the person sitting beside one.