Picture of Elf ears... in 5 minutes!
Whether it is for a costume you are working on, attending a Renaissance Festival, or participating in interactive gaming, there are times when you just need to wear some pointed ears. Yes, that's right, I'm talking about elf ears.

I stumbled upon another instructable, "How to Apply Elf Ears," a few months ago, and thought I would offer a different approach to applying elf ears: how to apply elf ears realistically but also quickly. I have been wearing elf ears for about 8 years now, and have been painting and applying them professionally for about 6 years. I would classify myself as an elf ear expert.

When I first started wearing ears, I would spend at least an hour before the show painting, gluing, applying liquid latex, blow-drying, and then repainting the ears. And in the end, I would still have visible seams and mismatched colors on my skin and latex. After an hour of work, it still wouldn't look like the movies.

With this instructable, I hope to teach you how to maintain the color of your ears, so that when it is time to glue them on, you can stick them on in under 5 minutes, without sacrificing a realistic look. You will learn a few of the "cheats" that I have discovered to make your elven life a little easier.
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kalessaradan (author) 10 months ago
Hey Brooke,
I was confused by part of your message, but I will try my best. So did you paint the elf ears? You said that you followed the tutorial, but then say, "Should I add make-up to my ear?" Are you referring to your real ears? The point of our tutorial is to not have to put any make-up on your skin.

That is weird that the ears look gray and lifeless. When you paint the ears with RMG make-up, you should get a nice, rich flesh tone on the ears, like in the photos. The only time that I have seen ears have that lifeless look is when the ears are older, and dust and dirt have settled into the latex. Once that happens, it is next to impossible to clean and remove that dirt, and when you paint the ears, it just grinds the dirt into the latex even more!

May I ask where you bought your elf ears? And also, what brand of make-up did you use? Some RMG make-up works better than others.

As for hiding the seam line, you could follow this tutorial on Instructables, http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Apply-Elf-Ears/, for instructions on using flesh latex and make-ups. But we honestly recommend using hair or ear cuffs because of how quick and easy it is. To get a good blending with latex, you might spend an hour or so just on applying the make-up. And after spending all of that time, you can get a nice, smooth transition the first and maybe second time you blend them on. However, latex bonds to latex. So after those first few times, the edge will continue to get thicker and thicker, and thus harder and harder to blend in.

I always say that the first 2 times, you can achieve 90-95% realism. The third about 85%, the fourth about 75%, and lower and lower. However if you instead use the ear cuffs and hair to hide the seam lines, you will achieve a 80-85% realism every single time you wear them.

I hope that helps!


I got pointy ears for halloween, and after i tried this, it still looked unpainted and grayish. Any other tips? Should i add makeup to my ear? How do i get rid of the line? should i use my hair to cover it up? My skin tone is light-fair. Irish. Please help!

wow, this was a great an informational tutorial, I can't wait to use it!

I do have one question though... I was planning on doing a cosplay which will require me to use body paint to make my skin an unnatural colour. Should I paint my ears to be the same colour as the body paint I will be using, or should I paint it close to my natural skin colour, then apply the body paint over it?

I would paint the ears to be close to the color of the body paint. If you paint them flesh toned and then paint color over that, it will just muddy the final color as the make-ups will mix.

Alright, danke for the advice c:

jmeurer12 years ago
perfect for my cosplays i perform! Also any idea where i can get some ear cuffs with a chain to another ear cuff?
kalessaradan (author)  jmeurer12 years ago
You can buy them on our website.
lombax9894 years ago
Awesome! Now I can look like my character in Dragon Age! (Or any other RPG/ MMO I play for that matter. haha)
That's really nicely done, and I love the lady with the piercing in the TOP of the ear.
Azayles5 years ago
You look a Lott like a Pixie!
(Sorry that was terrible)
But no seriously, those look so amazing! I bet they turn heads when you wear them to the store :P (If you don't wear them to the store, you should, just for the reaction!)
FFVIIBOY5 years ago
OMG! Pic 2, Those look so real! Good job! :D
bustedit7 years ago
I'm impressed by the finished look, but do they actually help you hear any better? That was the intention, right?
kalessaradan (author)  bustedit7 years ago
Nope. These are for for costuming uses.
I wonder if elves wear human ears to parties
 This could go the same for aliens, do they wear human costumes to parties?
LOL :0) now I'll be looking more carefully at human ears when i'm at parties. :0)
mage6 years ago
makes me want to go LARPing
IrisLinnae mage6 years ago
same but the last time i tried to go larping in a real larp battle they said i was too young too bad i just had to larp with my brother and he slaughtered me...
can you do on on how to apply horns?
leerose6 years ago
Wow! That looks really good! Thank you very much for sharing :D Those ears look really weird when they're not on a head though... XD
Vixen83876 years ago
I got a pair of elf ears and some cuffs to hides the outter seam, but i want the inside flap to blend in with my skin, how do you reccommend doing this? Just liquid latex and makeup? Thanks!
DioJun6 years ago
Awesome Instructable, and awesome people! I see you pretty much every year at garenfest, helpful as always! =)
I definitely recommend Aradani's ears if you want a nice pair.
Mr. Brownie6 years ago
I'm sorry but what is an ear cuff?
kalessaradan (author)  Mr. Brownie6 years ago
those are the little metal objects in all of the photos. They are like toe rings, shaped like a U, that cuff onto the cartilage of your ear, about halfway up. You'll notice in the photos that some are fancy with chains connected to piercings, and others are just simple cuffs.
... i hope i didn't break the "be nice" comment policy by being utterly fanboy-ish. i didn't mean any harm, i just got a bit too excited...
Where can i find really high-quality elf ears (small). I live in San Francisco.
Sunny1246137 years ago
HMMM, this pretty neat,you know for a Christmas party. (YOU CAN BE AN elf!!!)
Kitkaze7 years ago
When you say "rose blush" do you mean a simple powder blush, cause I for the life of me can't find that color on Aradani in the RMG makeup section. I can however find it in the creme makeup section. But I don't think thats correct for latex prosthetics.

And thank you for you wonderful tutorial! _
kalessaradan (author)  Kitkaze7 years ago
Sorry about that. We use "Rose blush" because it is a pinker tone. But in order to keep the number of make-ups that we carry to a minimum (and keep us from ripping our hair out), we decided that Red would cover more bases than Rose Blush. Red allows you to paint Urukai, demons, devils, AND the blush tones of ears. We just find Rose Blush to be a little nicer since it is a less-saturated tone. However, it you were to purchase the "Light Flesh RMG stack," you would have every color you would need to paint both a light ear and a medium ear according to the instructable. (you can mix the sierra and dark bronze to get something similar to medium highlight).
Thank you oh so much! _ I can't wait to give this a try!
jelizah7 years ago
I cannot say that I have any interest in the actual subject matter, but I wanted to compliment you on what is probably one of the best-written instuctional I have read. I read the whole thing, even though the subject is not in my interest range. The instruction clarity is exceptional, and I actually understood what I would need to do should I ever really want to wear elf ears! lol
MrPhelps7 years ago
An elfe and a hobbit ? What a lovely couple ;)
kalessaradan (author)  MrPhelps7 years ago
I don't know if I should take offense at that comment. I tend to dress up as Link from The Legend of Zelda quite often, so it makes me a little self conscious to be called a hobbit. Oh well, guess I need to eat a little less and exercise a little more. : )
More like Jak from Jak and Daxter. This is great! Dragon*Con is only 21 days away! Thanks for the idea!
kalessaradan (author)  SpinWard7 years ago
You can always visit us at Dragon*Con! My brother Michael will be in the Dealer's room, and I will be in the Art Show selling my artwork. Hope to see you there!
mrmath7 years ago
Am I the only one who sees irony with putting elf ears and realistically in the same sentence? I mean, their elf ears. How realistic can they be? OK, I'm just kidding. I konw what you mean. It just struck me as funny. Kind of like Garth Brooks and Hewey Lewis releasing "Working for a Living." I mean, one of them is retired, and the other hasn't had a hit in years. They can't sing about working for a living!
lol nice insult on Garth and Hewey...

*cough* don't see you making hit albums though lol
That's my point. I haven't seen them making hit albums recently either. Now they are talking about working for a living. They haven't been working!
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