To continue the Middle-Earth Costumes series, I thought I’d share with you a tutorial on how to make your own elven ears. They are very easy to make, and are a great addition to any costume! Overall, the material for countless pairs of ears will cost you about the same price than buying some in a professional costume shop.You should find everything you need to make these in an art supply store.
- Liquid Latex
- A soft brush
- A pencil, to use as a carving tool
- Flesh tone acrylic paint
- The first and most important step in making your own elven ears will be to sculpt the ears you want to make in plasticine. Use a mirror, have your model nearby or print a picture of your ear to make sure they are the proper size.
- I did mine in two different stages. First I made the general shape of the ear, then I added the pointy part and I completed my ear by carving a shape that would make them look more natural. I used the pencil to help me carve the details.
- Don’t forget to make two! I draw the shape of the first one I made on a sheet of paper to make sure the second one was identical in shape.
- Add a base to you ear so it can stand up on its own. Since we’ll only need to work with the upper part of the ear, you can easily have it on a base.
- With the soft brush, apply a coat of latex on the plasticine ears. The latex will be white at first and become transparent yellow as it dries out. Wait until each layer is dry before applying the next one.
- There is no strict number of layers you should apply, since it will generally depend on how thick each layer is. I suggest having between 10 and 20 layers. Latex is a very resistant material so it doesn’t need to be very thick to maintain its shape.
Once the final coat of latex is dry, peel of the latex ears from the plasticine. Gently roll the edge with the tip of your finger and it should come off easily. Don’t hesitate to turn them over in order to take them off the plasticine model. If you think its not thick enough, just let it take its shape back over the plasticine, and continue applying latex over it.
Cut the edge of the ear to make a clean separation.
Finally, mix your acrylic paint with latex in equal quantity and paint your ears. Mixing latex to acrylic paint is necessary if you don’t want your paint to crack in the long run. They might required two coats of paint because the latex will make the acrylic more transparent.
Now that the ears are complete, time to put them on! Adjust them to your ear by cutting where necessary. I chose to give a little curve to mine so it would fallow the natural curves of my ear. You can also shorten your ears by keeping a smaller pointy part if you want to make hobbit ears!
The safest way to fix them is by using a glue specially made for fixing latex parts to your skin. You can buy it in professional costume or party store all year long or in pharmacies during Halloween. The ears will be in place for the entire evening, or more. Actually, you’ll need a special product (usually sold with the glue) to take them off.
Now if the special glue is very effective, it’s also quite messy and pricy as well. Some friends are using two small rolls of duck tape, one on each side of the ear, to make the ears stay in place, and I have to say it’s pretty effective. Easy to take off and easy to put back if they fall. Way more easy to use with children as well. You just have to change your duck tape every evening.