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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

How to Make Maleficent-Inspired Horns

My daughter is going to be Maleficent (the new movie version) for Halloween and her costume is still a work in progress. She still needs a dress and a staff, but at least her headpiece is mostly finished!  And that's what I'm going to show you how to make today.

Here she is in the dressing room phase! I will be adding a little bulk here and there to the horns and front headpiece (she was done for the night). But you can see the main idea and I will definitely post pictures when her costume is complete!  You can't tell in the photo but her horns have a 3D effect to them - they curve backwards like in the movie! I can't wait to put it altogether, with a high, stiff collar too! 

There are different methods for making horns, such as Dawn Anderson's way where she traced out the shape she wanted, cut them out of fabric, sewed, turned, stuffed, and attached to a headband. 

I made that sound so easy, haha. I'm sure it takes a good amount of skill and patience. Isn't her work amazing?! (Not to mention the fabulous dress.) 

I looked into other ways to make the horns too, such as shaping them out of wire then using paper mache (that's what the movie people do) or shaping them out of aluminum foil and then covering with fabric. You could try any of those methods if you have the supplies and skills.  

But the method that I decided to go with came from one of our fans, Alex Radu, who used modeling clay to shape the horns!  (See picture above.) It seemed to be the most lightweight method where I could control it as I went and end up with the 3D effect I wanted. Alex was so nice to share her techniques with me and I want to give a big shout out to her and her shop, Qtees Creations on both Etsy and Facebook. She has some really cute styles and embroidery for both boys and girls. Go check her out - you'll be glad you did! 

I did make a few adaptations to Alex's methods, mostly because it's what my daughter wanted and we all know that that's what it really comes down to in the end. If she is happy, I am happy! So I give full credit to Alex for the idea but if I did anything drastically different that she doesn't approve of, you can blame me!  Let's get started on the tutorial.  


Crayola Model Magic: 1 pkg of black
 Black duct tape
Approx. 1/2-3/4 yard black stretchy fabric (I used spandex dancewear fabric)
Hot glue gun 

We will start with this Model Magic clay in black. She got it at Michael's and I got it on Amazon.  You only need one package for two horns unless you want them to be a lot bigger than what we did. I like this clay because it is super easy to mold (I am not a sculptor!) and it dries lightweight and fairly flexible. 

I lined a baking sheet with wax paper and had paper towels handy to prop up the shapes since I was going for 3D.  I divided the clay into to pieces and shaped each one into a snake (kindergarten methods here) and gradually forming into a good solid base at the bottom. You'll see why in the next step. I googled pictures of Maleficent to look at while I shaped them because I wanted the curves to go the right directions. I was also careful to make them symmetrical.   

Then, with the horn curves still propped on paper towels, I smushed the bases of the horns down around the top of the headband so it is all one piece. You can put the horns as close together or far apart as you want. 

For a further 3D effect, I then put even more paper towels under the top of the headband and tilted the headband down so it was kind of on a hill.  

**Important!  Next I put a popsicle stick at the base of the headband, between the sides, so it would be stretched open as the clay dries. We want the headband to fit on the child's head when it's done! 

Here's a better visual of the fully sculpted headband.  I double checked everything to make sure I was happy with it and then set it aside so the clay could air dry. I think the package said 24-48 hours. If you don't have that long, just wait until it seems to be set up. It dries as a soft foam, so it will never really get fully hard. 


The horns are now solid but still foamy-soft to the touch.  They hold their shape when I pick them up so we're all ready for the next step! 

It's time to get out the black duct tape. I bought this at Joann's.  

To start, I cut off a small square of tape and covered the tips of the horns. Then I cut a long strip of tape (maybe 2 feet?) and cut it into two long strips by splitting it down the middle. I handed one strip to my daughter to hold while I worked with the other. 

Beginning at the top of one horn, I wrapped the tape around the horn, stretching and angling as I went.  As the horn gets wider, the even wrapping begins to leave gaps showing through and that is okay. I wrapped one strip to the base of the horn and then started at the top again with the second strip, that time covering over the gaps that the first strip missed. The photo above is what I covered with two strips.

Then I repeated with more strips on the second horn and continued on down until the entire headband and all the clay were covered.  It's not hard but just be careful to press as you go because the duct tape is really hard to pull up so you don't want to try. If there's a lump, just go over it with another tight layer.

I tried it on my happy model to make sure it still fit okay. You could actually be done at this point if you want to be!  But we had big plans so we kept going. (We will be covering the horns in our stretch fabric and creating a cap.) 

Next we will need to create a stretchy cap that covers all her hair and ears. (Don't worry, I will show you how.)  I'm just showing the pictures now so you understand where we're going with it.  

We need to measure the child's head. 

First, I measured the circumference of her head at the base of the cap all the way around. For her it was 21" around.   (We will divide this in half to get the yellow line below.)

Then, I measured from under one ear on the side of her head, up to the center top of her head.  For her it was 8.5".  (We will add 1" to get the blue line below.) 

Laying my stretchy fabric out on my cutting mat in a double layer, I used the above measurements to cut a rough cap shape.

For the width it needs to be HALF of the circumference I measured (so my yellow line is 11.5" for her).  And for the height/curve, I added 1" to the second measurement and curved a line up from the bottom corner to the center top, so my blue line is 9.5" on a curve. I practiced on a stretchy scrap to make sure it would turn out right.

 Once you have two pieces cut, put them right sides together and pin in place. Sew along the curves shown in red, using a stretch or zigzag stitch, with a 3/8" seam allowance.

Try it on your model!  If there are funny curves, just re-stitch the line to remove any bulk. If it is too large or too small go back and try again. You want the cap to cover her ears and be pretty snug so it will hold the weight and keep her hair up. 

Now we will cut more pieces from our stretchy fabric:  

First, cut a piece that is 6" long x the width of fabric. Set it aside. 

Then, cut 4-5 strips of the stretchy fabric. I cut them 1" x width of fabric. Set aside.

We also need to cut a piece similar to the one you see on the left in the photo above, which will create a widows peak on the front of the cap by gluing it on top.  It does not need to be this same shape other than the peak. I just cut a peak and then some extra fabric to help secure it. See the next photo before cutting if it helps. 

Next I put the cap on my model. I got out the glue gun and very very very very carefully put a teeny tiny dab of hot glue on the cap where the yellow X is, and then set the fabric with the peak on it until it cools. (If you are making this for a younger child you may want to use a mannequin or be absolutely certain they can hold still.) Safety first! Fabric glue could work if you are patient enough.  

Next put a dab of glue where the blue X is and glue the fabric in place there on each side and then at the top where the green X is. Be careful each time! If your piece is larger or smaller, your glue will be in different spots; just make sure it will be secure. 

Next we will cover the horns in fabric just like we did with the tape.  (The lighting may seem funny in this picture -- I wanted it to show the texture.)  Start by gluing a small square to the tip of each horn.  Then take one of the 1"fabric strips and fold it in half lengthwise.  Glue the end in place and then wrap the strip around and down, with the folded edge at the top, overlapping and gluing as you go. I carefully stretched the fabric so none of the tape was showing through. I made one dab of glue for each wrap around that I did. When I got to the end of one strip, I glued the next one in place and continued on.  This step adds bulk to the horns but it also makes them look more textured and realistic like in the movie! 

Continue down the horns and the headband until it is all covered. In the very center of the headband I did glue one unfolded piece, stretched tightly, to even it all out and cover a couple spots that were hard to wrap. When the kiddo isn't looking, I might also go back and add more bulk to the base of the horns so they are wider at the bottom. 

Now the horns are covered in fabric. Are we ready to put it all together?! 

Put the cap on your model. 

Put the horns on your model. 

Take the 6" wide strip of fabric that we set aside earlier and we are going to use it to wrap around her head, covering the headband and securing it all in place. 

To do this, have her stand facing you. Hold the wrap behind her head, down near her neck, with the shiny side out and even lengths on both sides.  Pull the wrap ends to the front, stretching it around the base of her head, over her ears on each side, up around and over her head, and crossing over the headband toward the back on opposite sides, overlapping each other.  On the back side, tuck each wrap end into the back of the cap.

That may have sounded complicated but it's not at all. It is one fluid step on each side. We're basically just crossing the wrap to cover the headband and hold it in place. You can see it a little better in the photo below:


She is super duper happy with her Maleficent horns!  Once I have her dress, high collared cape, staff, and little crow all put together and on her, I might go back and make a second wrap to cover the front of the cap more, and add a little bulk to the bottom of the horns. (I'm a bit of a perfectionist.)  But that's it for our tutorial!  We're done! 

Thanks again to Alex Radu for the tips!

This technique can work for a lot of other types of headpieces as well.  Bunny ears, antennae, deer antlers... you name it.  The trick is in the modeling clay, tape, and fabric. We would love to see what you make, so please share your photos with us! And don't be afraid to put your own personal spin on it as well. 

Let's Create! ~ Kristen 

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