Introduction: Make a Pair of House Elf Ears

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Our District Cub Camp has different themes each year, and this year it is Harry Potter.

We decided right away that our pack will be Slytherin House (we're always the baddies at camp; we're the Dark Side when the theme is Star Wars), and our activities and leaders' costumes will reflect this.

At Camp, we often have Cubs with special jobs, so it was obvious* that, on a Harry Potter camp, those helpers would actually be house elves, selected from the smallest Cubs at camp. It was also obvious that our house elves had to look like house elves. That job fell to me, and this is what I came up with.

*to us

Step 1: Materials and Tools.

The main parts of this are:

  • A plain "Alice band"
  • Elf-coloured felt - I bought two squares approx 25cm across from our local knitting shop, but only needed one.
  • PVA glue (or whatever suitable adhesive you have available)
  • The template.

Step 2: The Template

I googled for a suitable still of Dobby, imported it into Inkscape, and then drew roughly around the ear in straight lines, which I then bent to match the ear more closely.

I added extra parts for the folds, got rid of the actual photo and re-arranged the drawn lines to make a net I could cut out of a piece of felt.

I only made one template, because the ears are mirror-images - I just need to turn one cut-out piece over.

I've added the template as a PDF and a PNG file to do with as you please.

Step 3: Cutting

Simply cut out the template, draw round it on the felt, then cut the shape out of the felt.

Of course, pencils don't work on felt, but you can scribble over the edge of the paper with chalk or some kind of fibre-tipped pen.  I used an ordinary ball-point pen.

Step 4: Folding and Gluing

See the dotted lines in the template? They mark the folds in the ear.

Slather glue on the back of the narrow curved section, then fold the felt around the Alice band, along the vertical dotted line and the curved dotted line at the same time - this should bring the glued part in contact with the inside of the ear's top edge.

Peg or hold the felt in place until the layers are bonded well enough to stick.  This may take from seconds to tens of minutes, depending on your adhesive.

Don't forget to turn the second ear over before you glue it in place...

Step 5: Attaching to the Band.

Thread the point of the Alice band through the top corner of the ear, the fold over and glue the bit of felt that makes the lumpy bit beside your ear-hole*.

This is the point where you adjust the position of the ears so they look right on your head.

*That lump probably has a proper medical name, but I don't know it.  

Step 6: Reinforcement

Depending on the thickness of your felt and the clagginess of your glue, the ears may be floppier than you like.

I had bought pipe-cleaners, intending to glue them up inside the fokded toos of the ears, but the combination of felt and PVA proved stiff enough for my needs.

If your ears need reinforcing, trim or fold the the pipe cleaners to the right length to hide inside the top of the ears, and then glue them in place.

Fluffy pipe-cleaners can be fixed in with most fabric glues, but if you're using smooth wire, you may need to use hot-glue, or some other slightly more heavy-duty glue.

Step 7: Finished!

That's it, you're done.

Stick them on your little helper, and then set him all the stinkiest, dirtiest jobs you can - just don't accidentally give him any clothing...

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