Step 8: Headpiece: Horns

The ram horns and the longer "blesbok" horns are made with the same basic method.

1) Making the base: The base for the horns is made with aluminum sculpture wire, which is quite strong while being lightweight and easy to form. They were fleshed out with finer aluminum wire and some light-gauge hardware wire I had around.

2) Papier mache: To give a base for the papier mache, I wrapped the wireform base with masking tape. (Ghetto, but it works.) The papier mache is basically the same method you learned in grade school; I used tissue paper, ripped into pieces about 2"x2". I use wallpaper adhesive, which comes cheap in a nice big resealable bucket. Instead of dipping the bits into the adhesive, I prefer to brush some adhesive on my surface, then lay the piece down and brush it down with more adhesive. The blesbok (long) horns had an additional step to make the ridges, for which I used some nylon roping I happened to have.

3) Magic Smooth: Papier mache is great, and for some projects you could stop after the mache stage, but I wanted a hard, relatively smooth, horn-like surface. It was also critical that I didn't increase the weight very much. After a lot of research I chose to use a product called Magic Smooth. It's a two-part epoxy, but it's very thin, with a consistency rather like caramel (on an apple, not the hard candies). When dry, it's very hard and machinable. The very tips of the horns were done with another product called Magic Sculpt, an epoxy clay.

I mixed the Magic Smooth in disposable plastic cups; the only material it really won't stick to is silicone, so you will likely want all your tools to be disposable. I used plastic spoons to get a rough measurement to keep the 1:1 ratio, and also used them to stir it. I applied the coating with wooden popsicle sticks. Unlike a lot of similar products, Magic Smooth can be smoothed with water, and the best way to get it level is with a damp finger (wear gloves, it's highly sticky).

4) Sanding and painting: I did a light coat of sandable primer on my pieces before I began sanding them, because the Magic Smooth is translucent and otherwise it was too difficult to tell which areas needed work. I sanded the pieces with a sanding attachment on a rotary tool, and also by hand. I didn't try to get them "perfect" because animal horns certainly aren't.

After sanding the pieces were painted matte black, oversprayed gold, and then highlighted by hand with more gold and some red, then sealed.
<p>This is amazing! What gauges of wire did you use for the horns?</p>
This method of making horns could be good for homestuck cosplay too :3
Hi, This is awesome, How did you find working with that skull cap? Was it sturdy enough for the weight of the headpiece? was it easy to cut and glue and paint?
It looks so amazing.
My good! 8D You're awesome, specially for taking your time to explain your process to others ;w; So nice of you!
this will be how i make my unicorn horn and helmet base (pre-mane), thanks so much : ) <br><br>
You've made a really incredible costume with a wonderful level of detail and, best of all for the Instructables community, documented it incredibly thoroughly. Thank you so much! Personally I've learned much from your work and documentation.<br><br>In addition to all that though, I especially love your horns. They came out so well! You say you bought a 1lb kit - did you use the whole pound?
Thanks! Really glad to hear from people that it's been useful. :) <br><br>I assume you mean the Magic Smooth... I did use the whole 1lb +the start of a second one, but I was using it on the armor as well for a while (not so great for that). If it was just the horns, I probably would've been fine with a 1/2lb kit. Because the stuff's so gloppy, you do lose more of it to mixing and applying than you do with a clay, where you can more easily use every scrap.
Yes the Magic Smooth, sorry.<br>Excellent. Thank you!
Wow, this is just amazing workmanship.<br> ^_^
epic anime figures collection in the background! sorry, just had to say that :3
I know right! I'm loving that Totoro!
i'm tired just after reading the instructions for this project. you are a very brave and dedicated soul to take this on with such high standards.
Amazing job. I love all of the extra touches that you added to make this a truly awesome cosplay.
it would be very helpful if you showed each piece separete ffrom every thing else!
Your costume is PHENOMENAL. Thank you so much for going to the trouble of putting up this instructable! I have some pretty big cosplay dreams myself, and the information you've put up is going to be really helpful!
This is AWESOME. demonic things are cool =]<br/>
I'm sorry... but when I look at your picture, the first thing that comes to mind is: NA... nanana... na... na... na... ... na... Katamari...Damacy!!!! bad thing is, I don't know why... Just thought I'd comment though.
you missed a na...
I have no idea why it makes you think of that. But Katamari association can't really be a bad thing, so hey.
did you at least win? this is amazing btw, not sure if you said how long it took you to make and how much all together it cost you, but I would love to know for future reasons.:) Made my own Yazoo coat and it looks so much like the real one I'm to scared to show it off... I already had 4 people try to steal it. meanies...:)
is that from a game? if it is, which one?
SaGa Frontier. It's a bit old and obscure! lol.
lol looks like FF
omigodd pretty tightt your freakin innovative!
This as such an awesome cosplay. I just wanted to add that instead of attempting to find a matching thread to finish the end of cording a product called "fray check" is amazing and dries clear, also slightly singing most fabrics with a lighter - very carefully - will stop them from ever unravelling.
Fray Check is also great for sure. I normally use Fray Block, because it makes things a bit less crunchy (but for some stuff Fray Check is better). But since I didn't mention it in the article, I didn't use it on the cording because it tends to not work well at ALL on braided stuff! It just unspirals. Sometimes I smush a quick-drying glue called Fabric-Tac into the ends, which works for some things - but even though it's slow the thread is a nice finished look.
I know some have said this isn't an "instructional" but I think it was! This is brilliant. I have a hard time picturing how to create small parts of costumes. Thanks for the Wonderflex instructions, especially. And those horns are amazing. :D I am working on a project soon, I will try to post my photos.
Wow! My nerd muscles are tingling. That is beautiful. You did very well. Thanks for sharing!
Wow. I guess if your going to be a giant nerd, be the best-dressed giant nerd in the place. ...and I mean no disrespect.
Wow! that's awesome, and thanks so much for sharing the how-to!
Omg this is so awsome its amazing what you can do win you set you mind to it that is really nice.
wow. that's the only word to describe it. wow...
Nice, I'm making my first costume for the "Anime Expo" next August and am starting it soon, Thanks a million for the help.
impresive very very impressive this is really nice. you know though its only for show why not make a costume that you could wear that could protect you in lets say i guess maybe a bb gun fight.
Wow, what a mind-boggling amount of work! Fantastic costume!
Absolutely brilliant. I was going to sew/form an Orlouge costume for AnimeEXPO last year, but due to time constraints, I had to give it up. I was surprised and pleased when I saw your costume. This year for AnimeEXPO, myself and four friends are going to be four of the mystics: Asellus, Ildon (myself), Time Lord, and Dr. Nusakan based upon Tomomi Kobayashi's work. You are an inspiration.
Haha... Lord of Mystra, Mystic Lord costume, sounds right up my alley, but seriously awesome.
Yeah, cosplayers often get a bad name, but stuff like that is awesome. (On a convention related note, no more fat girls in baby tees, when I'm at a con I want to see booth babes not babes the size of booths)
I'm gonna add a wow! How long did this take you to make? What was it, two years, you said? :)
I was in "R&D" for longer but I was working on it for about four months.
*curses relentlessly* Was this just for Hallowe'en??? If it was you went BEYOND extreme! Very, very, very nicely done!!!
For a cosplayer, every day is Halloween :) So no, it wasn't just a Halloween costume. But thank you!
Yay, it's up! When I first saw this, I was so inspired that I committed myself to a friend to do some kind of super-complicated costume with her for next year's Comicon... I hope I can get even anywhere close to this level.
Fantastic :D I did the masquerade there for the first time this year and it was really a great experience (intense: but that was from my end, the people were awesome). I'll probably be in the masquerade again for 2008, so I hope I see you there!
I must say that is a beautifully done piece! Not really an "instruction" set as it appears to be more of a "look what I did!", so I wouldn't think this to be great for people with no clue on costume making. However for someone with sewing abilities and the skills to make a costume, this is an EXCELLENT source for how to learn how to make complex headdresses and "armor" pieces for costumes. I've attempted to make costumes before (with mixed success) and I learned a lot from your instructable about different materials that I wasn't even aware of. Great job on this one!
If a beginning costumer tried to make this, I would feel compelled to pay for their psychiatric care, lol. But yes, I hope that it is of use to people! If nothing else, it's proof "it can be done", I suppose! Thanks :)
Wow.. There are so many useful techniques outlined in this article, I could get information from this for OTHER costumes, even!

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More by houseofdarkly:Sew felt Adventure Time Finn & Jake ornaments Make your own Giant Decorative Bow - easily! Mystic Lord costume: horns, armor, silk painting + more (oh my) 
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