Friday, 13 January 2012

Leopard Ears! (Photo heavy!)

A very long and photo heavy account of how I made my sister's leopard ears for her Christmas present.

I made myself a pair of lion ears for a fancy dress costume a couple of years ago and since they have been much admired and are actually very comfy to wear I thought my sister would like some in her trademark leopard-print style (easily co-ordinated with black leather and gold studded things, as Emma would point out).

An old (very indy) photo of me in my lion ears.
When I originally made my lion ears, they were made with the intention of being worn with big, puffy hair (like a mane!) so were very standy-uppy and wired with pipe cleaners, so they could be bent.  I made Emma's out of cardboard so they could be smaller and rounder without being squashed.

This is how I made them!
What you will need:
  • A plain hair band (alice band)
  • A small piece of cardboard
  • Less than half a metre of faux fur fabric
  • A piece of black felt (sticky-backed is the best invention ever!!)
  • Some PVA glue (probably a lot, expect to get gluey!) or even better, a glue gun!
  • Some scissors and a felt-tip pen (a bright colour is best but go for one not the colour of your faux fur, I started off orange then went for blue)
Okay, lets do this!

Draw your ear shapes on some cardboard.
I used a cereal box so it had a bit of rigidity but was still easy to cut.

Cut them out and bend the rectangular tabs to a right angle.
This is how your going to glue them on so make them fairly wide for stability!

Cut two small V's in the centre of the tabs.
This will help when you bend them in half from the base to get a 3D shape.

Put on your hair band and work out where you want your ears to sit.
Mark it with pen (mine is an orange dot).

Cut a square piece of faux fur fabric a little bit bigger than your ear shape.
Pull off the excess fur from the edges when you cut it to stop yourself inhaling it or accidentally eating it later on.

Fold the faux fur round the edges of the ear, trimming and folding to get about an inch overlap (depeding on the size of your ear, obviously).
Once your happy with the overlap, glue it down and hold it down until it's firmly stuck (should take about a minute).

When your edges are stuck, cut a piece of sticky-backed felt into a semi-circle smaller than your ear and stick it on to make the inside of the ear.

Admire your handy work!

Do it again until you have two ears!

Cut a piece of fur fabric in a long rectangle (remember to pull of the excess fur!).
Measure the length by rolling the hair band along the fabric.
You want it to cover the length and width of the fabric, plus an inch on either end of the length.

Draw a line from the dots on the top of your hair band, all the way round its width, so you can see it underneath. 
Line up your fabric with the 1 inch extra at each end and continue the line from the hair band onto the fabric on either side.
Draw a long centre line along the length of the fabric as well.

Taking you ears, fold them (as shown) and add glue to the tabs.

Keeping the ear bent, press down on the tabs firmly until they are fixed to the hair band over your marked points. Admire your handy work.

Taking your rectangle of fabric, mark on two V shapes that intersect your ear lines and are at the same angle as your (now glued on) ears.
Make sure you're confident in the line's positions before you cut them by holding the fabric up to the ears first.  When your happy, cut the V shapes.

Placing your fabric over your hair band, slot your ears through the holes.
Begin wrapping and glueing the fabric to the band, trimming off the excess fabric as you go. Start in the middle and work towards the ends.

When you get to the ends of your hair band, fold the remaining fabric into a rough triangle, trimming the edges, and glue down onto the hair band.

If your feeling really fancy now (and I wasn't) you can glue a piece of inch-wide ribbon in a matching fabric to the inside of the hair band to cover the seam.  As it happens, you can barely see the seam in real-life on these ears as the fur is so long, though it does show up on the photos. Apologies.


And that's it! Give yourself a pat on the back!

Also, yes, I did just get all the way through a tutorial without forgetting to photograph any individual step!  Hooray!

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