A commissioned pair of dressy costume horns based on my previous ram’s horns tutorial, but using my new form profile and with a more ‘brutal’ paint job.
I decided I fancied wearing a pair of antlers at a recent event. Here are a few pictures of the process from a foam pool noodle to a wearable set of prongs. I regret painting them gold (mostly an accident!), and if I remake them I’ll take the opportunity to make them more realistically thin, but they’re still eminently wearable.
It’s the last minute, and you need a costume, fast! This method lets you make a pair of comfy animal ears with a realistic shape in about half an hour. It’s pretty flexible – whether short dainty cat ears or giant swaying bunny ears, they’ll come together in a jiffy! Mine are pretty bright, but switch out the fabrics with fun fur and vinyl for a more realistic look. Tools and Materials
- Wide, strong plastic hairband (to be nice and stable on your head)
- 8 Cable or Zip ties (these provide the structure)
- Fabric scraps
- Hot glue gun (and glue sticks)
- Fabric scissors
- Strong snips (I used metal snips, but you could also use wire-cutters or really strong scissors)
Design your ears & build the structure
Decide where on your hairband you want your ears to be – standing straight up, or wide spread to the side. Mark the middle of the hairband, and add the cable ties symmetrically. I’ve only shown making one ear here, but it’s a good idea to make both at once, so they match. The innermost cable tie should stand up at the front, and the others at the back to add depth to the shape of your ears. Place the last one a little further apart from the others. Shaping
Where you gather your ears will determine their size – use a rubber band to gather them together. Twist the innermost tie to lay flat on top of the other ones – this will help make a little pocket at the front. Push and pull the individual ties to settle the shape of your ear. When you’re happy with it, add hot glue to the cable ties below the rubber band. When it’s set, trim the ends off, and add more glue to reinforce the join. Add outer fabric
Take an oversized bit of your outer fabric, and glue it to the back of the ear. Start with the base, then the tip, then either edge, making sure it’s securely anchored. If you’re using hot glue, try and make sure it stays neat and tidy, so it doesn’t leave hard splodges to alter the shape of your ear. Once it’s fixed to the outside, trim the fabric down to leave a nice wide hem around the structure, then glue that down. Trim the fabric around the base of the ears. Lining
Nearly there… Cut your lining fabric slightly larger than your ear, then glue to the two innermost struts first. Once it’s firmly in place, trim it more precisely to fit, and glue it around the edges. You’re done!
I decided to sit down and figure out how to make an embossing set-up at home. I used my favourite material – a thermoplastic called ‘polymorph’ or ‘friendly plastic’ – something that’s as springy and tough as nylon, but melts at 60 degrees C, in hot water from a kettle.
Previously I’ve followed tutorials for embossing paper using a cardboard stencil and rubbing the back with a rounded tool, as per this tutorial, but it’s fiddly, time consuming and inconsistent. I’ve seen franking machines that use positive and negative aluminium dies, and thought I’d give it a go using things I had laying around. I’ve devised something that gives lovely results, simply, and is very easy to use – just slip the paper into the hinged die, and squeeze.
To test the theory first, I used a cut-out piece of copper sheet as a template and thermoplastic as my die-making material.
Here’s a step-by step breakdown of the process of making a more involved die, suitable for making business cards. I was inspired by one of the images from my book ‘Duckie and Chickie Afloat’. For later versions, I’d like to add registration to site the paper accurately, and also explore multi-level or carved positives to give more intricate embossing.