Here's how to create a generic 'quick and dirty' set of ears that compare well with the fancy dress shop ones at a fraction of the cost.

Traditionally the ears would be sculpted in clay, a mould made and the ears cast using foamed liquid latex. This can be long winded, technically challenging and expensive due to the sculpting skills, additives and baking required. Also once the mould is made it can only produce that design of ear.

Here's my take on a slightly different approach, using two kinds of armature. One type will allow you to make any design of ear you like, but requires more work at the fabricating stage. The other requires more work on the armature but can then produce lots of sets of ears reasonably quickly.

All these ears rely on the slip latex or skin latex process. This requires no additives or baking at all.

The two images here show the small ears fitted but without make up added, and a pair of the long custom ears as part of a Dark Elf body painting.

Before you begin please be aware that these ears are made of natural latex. Some people are allergic to latex either in it's liquid or cured state. Most people over the age of 18 would be aware of any allergies, but to be sure do a very simple test on the back of the hand.

Using a small amount of liquid latex and a small sponge dab a thin layer about an inch or 25mm in diameter onto the back of your models hand. Allow a few minutes for this to cure (it will go transparent). Apply a second thin layer and allow that to cure as well. If after this time there has been no reaction then it is very unlikely that there will be problems. Gently roll an edge with your finger to lift it and peel off the test patch.

Some people with very sensitive skin (those who have difficulty finding suitable make-up for example) may show a very slight reddening and mild itching of the area. This is normally not an allergic reaction, but a reaction to the very small percentage of ammonia present in all liquid latex (usually less than 0.5%) used to prevent the latex from curing in the bottle. The ammonia will evaporate as the latex cures.

Step 1: The Basic Armature

In order to build our ears we need an armature to use as a base. The very simplest form of armature we can use is a sort of 'ear shaped' blank of wood, plastic, plaster - almost any reasonably non-porous material should do the trick. Alternatively you could use FIMO, DAS or one of the other modelling clays that dry or bake rock hard. Milliput or another two part epoxy putty is also a good choice.
Or you can make a very basic sculpt from Plasticine and make a mould from that then cast in plaster or resin.
To get a basic shape you can put a piece of tracing paper over someone's ear and simply draw the outline in felt tip pen. Try to find someone who has average sized ears when you do this.

Since these false ears fit only to the top and back part of the outer ear, we are only really interested in the Helix and Lobe. The rest of the ear does not need any sort of moulding or shaping for a generic ear.

In order to make both types of ears in this 'ible you are going to need two pairs of armatures. Two left and two right ears.
If you want ears for a specific person, and want them to fit exactly you can cast their real ears. Do a search of the net for making an alginate casting of an ear, which is beyond the scope of this particular 'ible.

Finally, if like me you are lucky enough to find a department store with a broken shop dummy they will give you, some of the fibreglass ones have reasonable ears that can be moulded with liquid latex and then cast in plaster or resin.

You need to have a nice rounded edge to the helix and lobe, so use sandpaper or a Dremel / Rotary tool if yours aren't smooth enough. Also sand the backs if required. You need the armatures to be between 1/4" (6mm) and 3/8" (8mm) thick. This is about the thickness of an average persons helix and lobe.
<p>Great instructable mate...good job!</p>
these are AWESOME! where would i get the latex? <br>
Liquid latex is available on the net, from most good art suppliers or hobby craft shops.
live long and prosper
I think I'm in the spooky part of Instructables, coz there's people with funny ears and bite marks on their necks. <br> <br>I wondered why the lights were dim in this room!!

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Bio: Untidy, disorganised and a bit silly. I am a photographer, artist, body artist, sculptor, prosthetic maker, model engineer, and general idiot who likes making stuff ... More »
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