Introduction: 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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.

Leatherworking Contest

Runner Up in the
Leatherworking Contest

Glue Contest

Participated in the
Glue Contest