Denizens of far-off dimensions often have an otherworldly flair to them, and no flair is more unique than a pair of horns. Whether you’re a prince of the underworld or an enchantress from the Feywild, horns are a striking feature that instantly establishes a mystical aura around a cosplay character.

If you’re drawn to these fantastic characters and want to put your own touch on your cosplay costume, here’s a quick tutorial on how to make cosplay horns.

How to Make Cosplay Horns

girl in dress with horns
Source: Timor Aanstoot via Flickr
Whether faun or demon, cosplay horns are striking additions to your character.

Step 1: Choose Your Style

Horns come in all shapes and styles—short nubs that stick out from the forehead, long  curves that sprout from the temples, one narwhal-like cone jutting straight out of the top of the head. Finding references online will help immensely with your cosplay plan.

Whatever style you choose, use the horns as an opportunity to express something about your character. Large black horns can indicate someone who’s made a pact with the devil. Elegant deer horns can show how graceful and dextrous a character can be. 

Letting your imagination run free will provide you with the most fun. There are all kinds of cosplay ideas to choose from, so get creative with it.

Step 2: Gather Materials

foam
EVA foam is the perfect building block for your cosplay horns.

This horn build relies on some cosplay staples and simple materials you have in your home.

EVA Foam

EVA foam is a perfect cosplay building material. It’s easy to find, it’s easy to use, and it can be molded and formed into pretty much any shape. The foam comes in a lot of different thicknesses; for this build you’ll want 5mm sheets.

Contact Cement

This wonder glue is such a necessary tool for cosplay costumes. The way it works is by spreading it onto the surfaces you want to connect and letting it dry. After about 15 minutes, you press the pieces together—or “contact” them— and they form an instant bond.

Hobby Knife and Sandpaper

You always want to have a hobby knife on hand. In a pinch, scissors can work, but the straight edge of the hobby knife provides much cleaner cuts. The knife also is great for adding details to the horns. Sandpaper can similarly add details and clean up rough edges.

Aluminum Foil, Duct Tape, and Paper Towels

These two household items will create the “bones” of your horns. Building them up in layers and forming them into the shape you need is a lot easier than cutting the EVA foam without a plan.

Wood Glue 

Wood glue acts as a primer for the EVA foam. Because it is rubber and porous, the foam doesn’t hold paint extremely well, and you can see the holes in it. Wood glue counteracts that, providing a smoother finish.

Markers and Paints

You need markers that will show up on your EVA foam—silver and black work best. Acrylic paints are available in all craft and hobby stores, along with an extensive collection of brushes.

Make Your Own Cosplay!

Learn to Make EVA Foam Armor for Cosplay

Step 3: Build Up the Horns

Roll the aluminum foil into the general shape of your horns. To build up thickness, you can alternate between layers of paper towel and aluminum foil.

Once you have the shape and thickness you want, wrap the entire horn in duct tape. Using a black marker, draw along the length of the horn, creating some “seams,” and then cut them with the hobby knife. What you’re left with are three to four patterns for your horn made out of duct tape.

Trace the tape patterns onto the EVA foam and cut them out with the hobby knife. You can now put together the basic horn shapes using the contact cement.

A tip for working with EVA foam: It’s easier to mold and manipulate when it’s hot, so heating it up with a blow dryer helps to set the horn’s final shape.

Step 4: Add Details

foam gauntlet
Skillshare instructor Emiline primes her EVA foam bracer with several coats before painting.

There are two levels of details you can add to your horns: texture and color.

Using your hobby knife, you can make cuts into your horns to represent creases, battle scars, and other details. Alternatively, you can cut out small pieces of EVA foam and attach them as bumps and ridges. The sandpaper also helps here—smoothing out the glued seams of the foam will provide a more organic look to the horns.

Before painting, do three to six coats of primer with the wood glue, allowing it to dry between each coat. When it comes to painting, there’s no right or wrong way to do it. There are a few techniques that can really amplify the look of your horns.

Washing is when you apply paint diluted with water to an entire piece to accent the carved details. If you dilute black acrylic paint and put several coats on the horns after the color is added, your grooves and ridges will stand out.

Dry brushing provides a similar benefit. Put some black paint on your brush, then wipe off most of it with a paper towel. The remaining paint on the brush can be added to corners and other details to provide more dimension to the horns.

Step 5: Put it All Together

The easiest way to wear the horns is to attach them to a simple black headband. 

Trace the bottom of the horns onto a piece of paper. Use that tracing as a template on the EVA foam to create a bottom cap to the horns, which you can attach with contact cement. Then, glue the horns’ bottoms to the headband.

Time to Lock Horns!

Add an evocative costume and some well-placed makeup, and your cosplay horns are going to attract all the eyes at the next convention.

And now that you have these skills, they don’t have to be reserved just for cosplay—Halloween never too far off, and if you want to have a bit of fun and terrify your nephew or neighbor, here’s your chance!

Get Started on Your Cosplay Journey!

DIY Beatrix Crown and Horns + Makeup

Written By

Luke Field

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