If you plan to dress up as an elf for the holidays or to play a character, then you should have a pair of pointy ears to complete the look. There are several ways to create a pair of elf ears based on different skill levels for crafting. You can make the ears out of felt and attach them to a headband or tape your own ear for a quick project, or you can make them more complex with a custom prosthesis made from liquid latex and modeling clay. To get started, choose a method that suits your craft skill level and the time you have.
Method 1 of 3: Glue felt elf ears to a hat or headband
Step 1. Put a piece of paper over your ear and trace the general shape with a pencil
Look in the mirror while holding a piece of paper to your ear. With your free hand, gently outline the general shape of the ear on the paper. It does not matter if the sketch is not perfect, as you will only use it as a guide to make the template the correct size.
Ask a friend or family member to help you trace the shape of the ear to make the process easier
Step 2. Draw an elf ear around the outline of yours and cut it out
Draw the general shape you want to give the elf ears with a pencil and a sheet of paper. The key is that the top of the ear is pointed, almost triangular. You can make the tips of the ears long and pointed, or short and thick. Then carefully cut out the elf ear with scissors so you can use it as a template.
Alternatively, you can do a general search for elf ear template images online and then print one that matches the style and shape you have in mind. Just make sure to fit the width and length of the image to fit your own ear. Otherwise, it may not cover it
Step 3. Trace the template on a piece of felt 4 times and cut them out
Choose felt in a color that matches your skin tone. Lay the stencil along the edge of one side of the piece of felt to avoid wasting it, and trace it with a pencil or fabric marker. Pick up the template and move it to the next section of felt and repeat the process 3 more times. Then carefully cut out the 4 shapes. These will be the layers of the elf ears.
- If you are using a fabric marker, be careful not to make a thick line, as it could cut through the felt.
- You can buy felt at your local craft store or online with major distributors.
- Instead of felt, you can also use colored construction paper or even a thin piece of fomi. You can buy either at your local craft store or online with major retailers.
- If you can't find a material that comes close to skin tone, you can trace the shape on a plain white sheet of paper, and use colored pencils or crayons to color it to match the tone.
Step 4. Join 2 of the felt cutouts by putting hot silicone on the edges
Apply hot silicone to the entire edge of 1 of the felt cutouts. Then put a second felt cutout on top of the first. Line up the shape and edges of the 2 felt cutouts, then press them together to make them secure. Let the silicone dry for 1-2 minutes. The layers of felt will make the ears firmer.
- Repeat this process with the other 2 pieces of felt. Just make sure to layer the layers so that you have one left and one right ear if the shapes are not symmetrical.
- To flex the ears, run small pieces of thin jewelry wire along the edge before applying the silicone. When it is assembled, you can bend the wire that you put inside the ear to shape it.
- Alternatively, you can leave the bottom edge unglued and open if you want to tuck your ears into the felt ears.
Step 5. Attach the ears to a festive hat or simple headband with hot silicone so you can put them on
Make sure the ears are evenly positioned on the sides of the hat or headband, and then put some silicone in each place. Press your ears against the hot silicone beads and allow them to dry for 1-2 minutes before putting them on.
Method 2 of 3: Transform the actual ear shape with masking tape
Step 1. Secure your hair behind your ears with a hair clip or a scrunchy so it doesn't stick to the tape
Look at yourself in the mirror while pinning your hair so that it is away from your ears. You will be taping your ears, so it is best not to get strands of hair.
If you have short hair, you could wear a hat to protect the one near your ears
Step 2. Place a 2 to 3 inch (5 to 7 cm) piece of tape on the top of the ear
Do this with clear or masking tape. Begin by placing the headband in the area where the top of your ear adheres to your head. From there, run the piece of tape horizontally across the front of the ear and pin it slightly behind the ear. Remove excess tape as needed.
- Be careful not to bend or contort the shape of the ear so as not to cut off blood circulation.
- Do not use wide tape that has a strong adhesive, such as packing tape, as it will be difficult to apply and remove. Similarly, do not use paint tape, as the adhesive may not resist the oils produced by your skin.
Step 3. Add another 4-5 layers of tape and place each piece higher to give it a pointed shape
Place more layers of tape, each a little higher than the last, at the top of the ear. After putting on a few layers, the headband will look like you have mummy wraps on your ear. Once the layers start to extend a little past the ear, pinch off the excess tape to give it a pointy shape.
- Continue applying layers of tape until the top of the actual ear is hidden and you are satisfied with the shape of the tip.
- Repeat this bandaging process on the other ear. Make sure that the shape of the tip of the ear is similar to the first one.
Step 4. Apply concealer and eyeshadow to tape to match skin tone
Cover the tape in a shade of concealer that matches your skin tone with a makeup sponge, small brush, or even your finger. Rub the product to cover the entire tape evenly. Let the concealer dry, then apply an eyeshadow of a similar color to soften it.
- Repeat this process on the other ear with masking tape to hide it.
- If necessary, apply some concealer and eyeshadow to the skin of the ear to blur the edges of the tape.
- You can also use a liquid foundation that matches your skin tone instead of concealer.
Step 5. Let go of your hair or take off your hat and enjoy the elf ear look
Groom your hair as you normally would. If you have long hair, leave one section in front of your ear and place the rest at the back. This will help you show off your elf ears better.
When you're done wearing the elf ears, simply pin your hair out of the way if necessary, and then slowly peel off the headband and discard it
Method 3 of 3: Making Custom Latex Elf Ears
Step 1. Make a triangle out of clay the width of the top of the ear
The triangle should be 1/4-inch thick. Take a look in a mirror and hold the triangle to your ear as you shape it. The triangle should be wide enough to hide the top of the ear and the top point should be over the ear. Keep molding the clay until it reaches the shape and size that you want.
- For a subtly pointed ear, make an equilateral triangle, or make an elongated triangle for a more pronounced ear.
- If the triangle is too thick, the finished mold will be too large for the ear. Similarly, if the triangle is too thin, it could break when you want to remove the mold.
- You can buy playdough at your local department or craft store, or online with major retailers.
Step 2. Outline the curved shape of the top of the real ear on the clay triangle
While looking in the mirror, hold the triangle against your ear. Use the end of the pencil with the eraser to outline the shape of the top of the actual ear on the clay as a template. The tip of the triangle will act almost like the tip of the elf's ear that will lie on the curved line of the template. Don't press the play dough so hard that it warps or breaks the triangle. Simply apply enough pressure to create a visible outline on the playdough.
- This contour will be the limit of where you will apply the liquid latex to create the elf ear prostheses.
- Repeat this process on the other side of the triangle and make sure the shape of the lines you draw matches.
Step 3. Dip the pencil eraser in some liquid latex to coat it
Pour about 1/4 cup (60 ml) of liquid latex into a disposable plastic bowl. If necessary, stir it up with the pencil eraser. Then you simply cover the eraser with liquid latex.
You can buy liquid latex at your local craft store or online with major retailers
Step 4. Apply the latex that you covered the eraser with on the clay from the outside of the traced area
Use the pencil eraser to apply the liquid latex to the clay triangle. Apply the latex only to the outside of the outline you traced on the triangle. As you apply the liquid latex, smooth it out with the eraser to remove any visible bubbles or clumps. Continue covering the clay triangle until the area outside the outline is completely covered.
- This will create a layer of liquid latex that will be the base of the elf ear.
- You can apply the liquid latex with a small brush, but it will go bad.
Step 5. Allow the liquid latex to air dry for 1-2 minutes before applying more coats
Hold the plasticine triangle upside down for 1-2 minutes to allow the liquid latex base coat to dry. If you hold the triangle upside down, the excess latex will run to the tip of your ear, giving it a more realistic look.
Alternatively, you can speed up the process by drying the liquid latex layer with a blow dryer. Use low speed on the cool setting and hold the blow dryer at least 6 inches (15 cm) from the latex. Otherwise, the air pressure will leave ripples on the hearing aid
Step 6. Apply about 9 more coats of liquid latex to the clay triangle
Use the same technique to apply and dry the other layers. Make sure to allow adequate time for each coat to dry before applying the next.
Step 7. Apply cosmetic powder to the dried latex before removing it from the play dough
Cover the dried liquid latex with cosmetic powder using a small brush. This will prevent the latex from sticking when you remove it.
Use a cosmetic powder like a high definition powder
Step 8. Lift the edges of the prosthesis and gently remove it from the clay
Lift the edges of the denture out of the clay. Slide a finger between the latex and the playdough carefully. With your free hand, pull the plasticine triangle to remove it.
If you want, you can apply more powder inside the prosthesis so that it does not stick and close
Step 9. Use the clay triangle again to make a second prosthesis for the other ear
Use the same process to apply, layer, and dry the liquid latex on the clay triangle. When all 10 layers are dry, cover the prosthesis with the powder before removing it from the clay triangle.
When you are done, you will have 2 elf ear prostheses
Step 10. Cover the inside of the prosthesis with liquid latex and put it on the ear
Use the pencil eraser to apply a thin layer of liquid latex to the inside of the prosthesis. Put the prosthesis over the top of your ear while looking in the mirror. Hold it in place for 1 to 2 minutes while the liquid latex dries.
Make sure to hook your hair away from your ear so it doesn't stick to the liquid latex as it dries
Step 11. While wearing your ear, apply liquid latex around the edges to seal them
Use the pencil eraser to apply the liquid latex. Smooth the liquid latex around the edges of the prosthesis to create a seamless transition to the real ear. Continue this process until the edges are sealed and allow them to dry for another minute or two.
- Be careful not to stain your hair with liquid latex while you do it.
- Reapply using this process on the second prosthesis.
Step 12. Apply concealer and eyeshadow to the prosthesis to match the skin
Apply a thin layer of concealer to the denture with a small brush. Make sure to choose a concealer color that matches your skin tone. Let the concealer dry and then apply a similar color of eyeshadow to soften the appearance of the concealer.
- Repeat this process to hide the second prosthesis. Then enjoy the look of custom latex elf ears!
- Remove the latex prosthesis gently with soap and warm water. If you are very careful, you may even be able to reuse the prosthesis in the future.