Introduction: Leather Wrapped Maleficent Horns

Picture of Leather Wrapped Maleficent Horns

I am getting an early start on my partner's Halloween costume this year (and I've got a thing for horns, these aren't quite impala horns but they draw inspiration)

They ended up not quite symmetrical but you can't have everything, otherwise they turned out pretty nice I think.

The total cost was probably around $40, the majority was spent on a leather jacket from the thrift store. I think it took about 20 hours, who can know?

Something I did not conceive: my ears get unbelievably hot after 10 minutes in that thing... no solutions offered.

The wire work is a bit of a safety hazard, I had trouble seeing which wire was where and if the tips were getting close to my eyes, use safety glasses if you like to see things.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

A variety of things were incorporated in the horns. I broke the pictures down by stage.

Wire skeleton:

  • Wire! (I used 2 different gauges because that is what I had)
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Wire cutters

Cardboard wrapping:

  • Scrap cardboard (non-corrugated)
  • Scissors
  • Packing tape

Epoxy coat:

  • Two part epoxy
  • Mixing container (a cylinder is nice)
  • Disposable Brush
  • Stir-stick
  • Disposable workspace

Leather wrapping:

  • Old leather coat
  • Scissors
  • Knife
  • Glue gun

Step 2: Make Wire Cap

Picture of Make Wire Cap

I started this project about a month ago with a trial horn but had trouble attaching it to something after the fact so I scrapped it. To remedy that problem I started with the cap first this time.

Spool out some wire the circumference of your head, I let it sit just below my hairline, and twist the ends together so you have an oval. Check the fit and remake as necessary. Add some spars (four) across the top, make sure they are the right length by wearing the oval while you measure them. This took a lot of putting on and off my wire cap, but it is pretty light.

Once you have a nice cap, make two circles which will be the base of the horns. Bind them to the sides of the cap with some more wire.

At this point I thought about learning how to solder, but decided that I liked to do thing the slow way instead :)

Step 3: Add Wire Horns to Cap

Picture of Add Wire Horns to Cap

Each horn is made of six long wires with a bunch of circular bindings along the length of the horn. Cut out twelve pieces of wire, maybe 16 inches in length (or whatever you feel like). Hook the ends of the wire and wrap them at uniform intervals to the ring on the side of the cap.

Use a bit of masking tape at the tip of the horn to hold it all together while you go about installing the circular bindings. The tape will stop the wires from whipping around and going in your eyes. Curve the horn to a rough estimation of what you're looking for and then wrap each of the six posts in turn for each circular binding.

Make a second horn. It should be a mirror image of the first. Do your best to get the curvature symmetric, although (regrettably) you are not a machine so you can only be held to human standards.

Step 4: Cover Horns + Cap in Cardboard Strips

Picture of Cover Horns + Cap in Cardboard Strips

My horns were a bit flimsy at this point so I thought I would get some epoxy on them, but to do that I needed some paper on them first.

Cut out some strips of cardboard, maybe 2cm width. Start from the tips of the horns and wrap your way down, use packing tape as necessary. I lined the inside of the cap with cardboard because I was getting small cuts and bruises on my head from the wire cap. You should also do this.

Step 5: Cover in Epoxy

Picture of Cover in Epoxy

Cover in epoxy.

I have no scale so when I mix epoxy I do it by eye basically. I look for the most cylindrical container I am happy ruining and then use a ruler to measure out rough volumes. Most epoxy is 1:1 resin:hardener but the stuff I've got now is 2:1. I measured out 3cm and 4.5cm and marked them with tape on my pickle jar.

Read the instructions on your epoxy bottles, follow them. Mix as best you can. It doesn't need to be perfect, as it's all getting covered up after. Start at the base and cover the whole outside of the thing in epoxy. I didn't do the inside of the cap. I left mine to cure for 24hours.

Step 6: Prep Leather

Picture of Prep Leather

Cut up an old leather coat. Try to only cut at the seams, you want to try and keep the contiguous pieces of leather as large as possible to give yourself the most freedom. I started with one sleeve, and that ended up covering both horns, the cap and back need some extra though.

Cut the leather into long strips, about 2cm wide, use a bit of hot glue to fold over the top so that the edges are hidden when you apply the strip.

Step 7: Begin Leather Wrapping Horns

Picture of Begin Leather Wrapping Horns

The tip of each horn should get a little cap of leather. Just apply some hot glue and work it on as best you can. Wrapping the horns is straightforward, apply glue to one end of the leather strip, glue it down, wrap a few turns, glue some more, reapply as needed.

Step 8: Continue Wrapping Horns

Picture of Continue Wrapping Horns

When one strip ends and another begins, you need to hide the tail of the first strip. Position the new strip so that it begins by rising to meet the end of the old strip, in this way, the new strip will be able to cover the tail of the old strip immediately, and it's own initial edge after the first wrap.

Keep wrapping.

Step 9: Wrap Cap in Leather

Picture of Wrap Cap in Leather

I started wrapping the cap by laying down strips at the back, this worked nicely until I got midway and had to figure out how to handle the junction between horn and cap.

I ended up just covering it with a strip of leather that had both of its edges folded under.

Step 10: Add Back Part (To Keep It on Your Head)

Picture of Add Back Part (To Keep It on Your Head)

This required a lot of putting on and off the horns to measure the straps that go around back. Find your longest pieces of leather, put the horns on and the use that leather to wrap the horns to your head. Once you've found your size, cut and glue. It sounds simple but may require some trials.

I used two thick strips here. I think a number of thinner ones would look better now that I see the end product.

Step 11: Wear

Picture of Wear

Done. They are not for me, but fit me pretty well. Putting them on takes some care to pull the leather over your ears and get everything comfortable. They stay on quite well. I don't think you could play sports but you can certainly move freely without worrying they'll fall off. They do hit light fixtures and doorways though. Be advised.


gypsyart (author)2015-07-20

I am so impressed with your creativity! Absolutely love your Maleficent Horns. In fact I can not make up my mind if I love these Magnificent Maleficent Horns more than your beautiful Magnolia Flower Mobile. I just could not choose however, I may make these for my daughter for Halloween this year. If I do I will post some pictures to share. Very inspiring!

jenniferaron made it! (author)2014-11-02

Thank you for a great instructable! I adapted it a little to get the price for materials under $30:

Wire step: I used a 16 gauge wire (100 yard spool for $7.99) for the cap, horns, and bottom horn circles, with some 24 gauge wire for the little circles on the horns themselves. If I were to do it over again, I'd probably use 18 instead of 16 gauge for a little more flexibility, but I was happy with the sturdiness of the finished cage. Thankfully my friend had the thinner wire and tools so I didn't have to buy those.

Cardboard step: After I was pleased with the wire, I covered with cardboard strips (from cereal and cracker boxes) affixed with a little packing tape, I didn't have much cardboard so the coverage of my cap was spartan.

Epoxy step: Instead of the epoxy, I used strips of newspaper dipped in a water/ joint compound mixture. The joint compound was $6.99 compared to $19.99 for the epoxy, was less smelly than epoxy, and dried much more quickly (30 minutes instead of 12-24 hours). The downsides to this paper mache method are that I imagine it is less sturdy than epoxy, and it flakes off, which was annoying until I covered everything in faux leather.

"Leather" step: I purchased a half yard of faux leather from a nearby fabric store ($5 for half yard). I cut in long strips and hot glued mostly as instructed. I did the cap strips more loosely/ organically. After trying on, I felt I needed more support to keep the horns on, so I added a U-shaped wire attached to the inside, with the bottom part of the "U" fitted to the base of my head where it meets my neck. I covered with more faux leather to cover this and my ears. Then added a lining to the cap with remaining fabric. The "leather" step took the longest by far. Be careful not to get hot glue on the exterior, especially with the faux leather, it can take off the outer layer of the fabric.

Additional tip: I bought a black wig cap ($1.19 at a beauty store) to keep my hair out of the way, and to conceal my dark blonde hair color should a piece of faux leather get dislodged.

I matched this headpiece with bright green contacts and a long sweeping cape. I received loads of compliments. Success!

TraceyLTague made it! (author)2014-10-24

Good stuff!!! Thanks so much for the inspiration! Found a full length leather coat with a fur collar for $40 at a thrift store. I used a 20 gauge wire to make the skeleton ... TOO THIN! If I did it again, I would use a heavier gauge. Also, I had never worked with epoxy/resin before. It needed to sit for a while before applying, I didn't have that kinda patience, it dripped all over the place.

sinansoykut (author)TraceyLTague2014-10-24

Hah, those are awesome! I love the thicker horn base. I had the same problem with wire gauge, I had a little bit of heavy gauge but not enough to do the whole thing. Yours turned out great, what are you going to do with the rest of the leather?

monabalogna (author)2014-10-20

seriously awesome job. you are kind of a studmuffin!

blindsyd (author)2014-10-17

this is truly AMAZING... And soooo helpful!! I've had my eye on a set to buy, but didn't want to spend $100 on just the hat for my costume... Thank you!!!

julie.kurtzrose (author)2014-10-16

Great instructions! Epoxy is drying, leather next! I'm excited to see if my attempt is anywhere close to your amazing accomplishment! Thank you for sharing this!

nina.nikzad (author)2014-10-05

Ughhh.... this is exactly what I was looking for but I wish you had more details on how to make the wire skeleton :( btw it looks amazing !!

nemeon (author)2014-09-03

eline sağlık hacı, çok iyi olmuş. çok şey öğrendim teşekkürler.

Inccubus (author)2014-08-14

You would make the creepiest Maleficent ever. ;)

RuudvandeLooij (author)2014-07-23

At my university they call students of my study, mechanical engineering, bicycle repair men. And actually I often feel myself that way, like many more of my study colleagues. So when I saw the picture of your instructable I though it were inner bicycle tubes and clicked.
To bad it turned out just to be leather. But still, they look great, the overlap gives great texture to the horns. Maybe the people who don't have leather laying around can use inner tubes.

TheLacedAngel_TSMP (author)2014-07-14

These are amazing! I would totally be the one getting caught in a ceiling fan while wearing a pair though :P Maybe to fix the hot ears, add a bit of linen or cotton fabric on the inside right by your ears? Would still be warm, but might feel cooler than leather on skin.

Thanks for taking a look, they could probably stand to be angled back at 60 degrees instead of upright, might help with the height issue.

That's a good idea about cooling the ears down, I'm sure I've got a cotton shirt waiting to be canabalized :)

bcelik1 (author)2014-07-07

Sinan, great one. Always tried doing these but never worked out because my wires are too thin. Sweet beard, btw lol. Gonna try doing it asap. Dostum, konusmak isterim; bu iste iyisin baya :D

CarolakaCC (author)2014-07-06

Omg can you make me one?

rachel (author)2014-07-02

Those look really good. I now want a pair... with blinking LEDs at the tips of the horns! (I am not a traditionalist)

fixfireleo (author)2014-06-26

awesome. i bet, for those who dont have or can afford leather, you could make this out of electrician's tape also. especially just for holloween.

sinansoykut (author)fixfireleo2014-06-27

Hah, that would work great! You could even wrap some corrugated cardboard around the horns to get the nice ridges.

dlebrun (author)2014-06-26

Brilliant use of a leather jacket. I had a leather sofa from the thrift store and when the foundation collapsed I stripped the leather and have been making costume pieces. I see horns in my immediate future.

capsule44 (author)2014-06-26

merci beaucoup pour ce tutorial, thank you very much for the tutorial

sdavis65 (author)2014-06-25

Friggin AWESOME!!!!!

jessyratfink (author)2014-06-25

These are amazing! And I love the warning at the end, ha! I could see these taking down a hanging light fixture, for sure. :P

sinansoykut (author)jessyratfink2014-06-25

Thanks Jesse. I've got a couple mobiles hanging from the ceiling which I'd been wreaking havoc on over the course of the build :)

pizzidave (author)2014-06-25


jmyers1 (author)2014-06-25

This is too cool!

The Rambler (author)2014-06-25

Wow, these are fantastic.

doodlecraft (author)2014-06-24

Magnificent! :)

Darthorso (author)2014-06-24

Great, man! Well done! :D

bricobart (author)2014-06-24

Awesome job! Somehow it did me think about yaks and since these are my favorite pets I loved your build immediately! ;)

These are awesome! I hope you post the rest of the costume too!

Thanks Danger. I was mostly excited about the horns so the rest of the costume will probably take me longer to start, although doing some cheekbone prosthetics would probably be fun.

I bet that would be a cool Instructable too! At any rate, I hope you post pictures of the completed costume :) I'm sure it will be awesome!

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