Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lightweight Horn Tutorial

When making horns for a costume, sometimes they're limited in the size department because of weight complications. Making hollow horns isn't exactly my forte, but I have found something that's almost as good (:


- Crayola Model Magic
- Elastic cord
- Acrylic paint
- Painter's tape
- Tin foil
- Long toothpick

Total Cost Estimate: $20
(based off what I had to buy)
Currently selling for: $20

Project Duration Estimate:
2 days

All of these materials can be purchased at your local arts and crafts store.


This tutorial teaches how to make lightweight horns. These horns are a bit delicate, but they will not break if you're careful with them. They sit firmly on the head and have no major complications, but if they collide with an object hard enough, they will crack.

All the materials used in this tutorial are safe!

Always make sure you read through the entire process before beginning to avoid mistakes and to get a general idea of how the project will progress.
Now, let's get started:

Step 1: Shaping the foil
Cut out two large sheets of foil. The length of the sheet should be proportional to how much foil you want in each horn, in other words, how big you want them to be. This is not final, as you can simply add more foil later on, but you want your first guess to be as accurate as possible, since adding more foil is a pain. Make sure both sheets are equal before you begin. Once you get the sheets, take each one and shape it into a straight triangle shape. Make sure the horns have the same thickness in the same areas (if you want horns with a thick base, make sure the base of BOTH horns looks thick and that they're both pretty equal). Next, depending on your design, shape the horns into curves, bends, or other things you would like to add. Do the shape as best you can to both horns, but don't worry if they're not completely even. Just so long as you have the basic shapes, you'll be fine.
If you're going for a more complicated design that has a strong curl or something along those lines, don't do one horn completely and then start the other. Instead, work on them both at the same time, making minor adjustments to each one. This way, the horns will be more similar.

Step 2: Adding the model magic
Once your horns are in a shape you like, open your package of clay and immediately use a knife to cut it into 2 equal sections. This way, you will use the same amount of clay for both horns. Carefully begin covering the horn shape with clay. You don't want to press too hard or else the foil will poke through yet you don't want to press too lightly or the clay won't stick to the foil. A gentle press should do the trick. Make sure to get generous amounts of clay over every inch of the horn. The horns I made had just enough clay to cover them, so if you plan on making something larger, you may need another package. If this occurs, use all of the clay on one horn and buy another package later on. The model magic is air-dry and cannot be changed once it dries.

Step 3: Adding features
Once all your clay is packed onto the horn nice and even, you can begin shaping the horn. To do this, wet your finger, a knife, or a toothpick and use it to make the shapes and features you desire. Remember that you only have a thin layer to work with, so don't make your indentations too deep. For my horns, I managed to make a decently deep line that ran up the horn. If you start to hit foil and it shows a bit, don't worry, once you paint the horns it will disguise any foil that may have managed to poke through.

Step 4: Stringing the horns
Before you actually string your horns, we're going to prepare them. This step isn't necessarily stringing them, it's just poking a hole through so that you can later. For this step you're going to need a shish-ka-bob toothpick or other type of long, yet skinny object. Before you puncture the horns, draw a circle on a piece of paper that's roughly the size of the top of your head. Pretend this circle is your head from an above view. Label one side of the circle "front" and the opposite side "back" and then draw a straight line that crosses the circle exactly in the middle of these two points. These will indicate the front and back of your head. Place the horns on the circle in the angle that you would like them to sit on your head relative to the circle you drew and on top of the line that crosses the middle. Once you have positioned them how you would like them to look, puncture each horn with the toothpick using the line as your guide. It may take a couple tries, since the foil may interfere. Once you get it through, wiggle the stick a bit to open the hole a bit larger. This will be where you string your horns.
Once you're done and are satisfied with the holes, cover up any mistake holes you may have created and let the horns dry overnight. This clay does take a while to dry completely.

Step 5: Painting your horns

Painting the horns is self-explanatory. Just choose some colors and get at it. I personally prefer acrylic paints, but as far as I know, many types of paint can be used on this project. I would recommend the acrylics because they are fast drying, and this project requires several layers of paint. Since the horns are a bit delicate, the paint can be used as a type of "shell" to offer a bit more protection. It's not much, but it does help.

Step 6: Stringing the Horns
Once your horns are dryed up completely, you can feed the elastic cord through them. If you don't have elastic cord, you can tie a strand of string to the long toothpick you used to create the hole and feel it through. Use a hot-glue gun to seal the string in place.

And there you have it
A nice lightweight pair of horns! They may not be the strongest, but they'll do the job. And for a cheap price as well (:

If you're interested in seeing more about my Draenei costume, click here!

For more information on purchasing jewelery and other props in my tutorials, requesting a custom item, or an idea for a new tutorial, feel free to email me at Kanti-Kane@hotmail.com (:


  1. Dude, awesome tutorial!

    If you wanted them to not feel so super delicate, you can always apply a couple layers of gesso (http://www.aisling.net/journaling/gesso.htm) before painting with the acrylic once the MM is dry. It helps smooth out and stiffen up your surface. I'm knee-deep in my own pair of ridiculous-huge horns, and this stuff is AWESOME.

  2. Thank you so much!
    I appreciate the advice :')
    I'll probably consider it heavily when I make my next pair of horns xD