grow your own horns

me n' my hornsme n' my horns, part 2me n' my horns again

Welcome to Sparky's latest venture into do-it-yourself Gothic fashion...horns. Okay, if you really wanna grow horns, you'd better get thyself to Three Mile Island and stick your head under the nice hot water that runs off the plutonium rods. But if you just want to look like you grew horns, you've come to the right place. Whether it's for Halloween spookin', dressing up for the local renaissance festival, or just a juvenile attempt to freak the waitresses at Denny's (Can't guarantee this will work -- they must see a lot weirder stuff while dishin' out those "Moon Over My Hammy" platters), these horns will do the trick.

What You'll Need:

Material Notes: I prefer Sculpey clay, so that's what the instructions below demonstrate. Use whatever brand you're comfortable with, and follow the baking instructions on the package. Colored Fimo or Sculpey is nice if you want to avoid the "painting" step, but I prefer the look of paint and the different textures/faux finishes used on plain white Sculpey. As for cord, leather thong or shoelace-type cord seems to work best. Satin may look pretty, but it slides around too much on your head, which may lead to embarrassing horn "sag and flop" (shudder).

You Like 'Em Plain or Twisted?

What kind of horns do you want to make? You don't have to stick with the typical devil horns (see my twisty horns in the pic at top). Turn on the Nature Channel or Animal Planet, pick up a National Geographic and have a look at all the different types of horned animals. Some horns twist, some curve outwards, some twist downwards. Keep in mind that the more elaborate the horn, the more clay you're going to have to use. Hence more weight on your'll be more difficult to keep them in the proper position.

Don't forget to take into account your hair texture. If you have very thin or flat, smooth hair, you might want to consider short "goat" horns -- it'll be easier to hide their narrower base under your hair. For those with curly or thick hair, anything goes -- go for tall or twisted horns. My hair's straight, but pretty thick, so I made both types and they work fine. If you're bald, well, the cord is just gonna have to it into your design!

purple striped hornspurple striped horns

Makin' Horns

I started by rolling out a fat cylinder of clay and dividing it into two equal pieces, about the size of the horns I wanted. (Tip: I generally use a piece of aluminum foil, dull side up, as my work surface -- that way I can just pick the whole thing up and plop it onto a cookie sheet to bake without any fuss.) Make sure the bases are big enough to allow for the holes and string...the holes should be about a quarter of an inch at least, makes it easier to string 'em. If you'd like, you can make the bottoms of the horns slightly concave to better match your head. I didn't bother, and they work fine (hmm, maybe I have a flat head?) but if you have thin hair it might help hide the bases further. The toughest part is making both reasonably similar (though they don't have to be perfect -- real animal horns aren't identical). You may end up smushing one up in frustration and start again a few times. Once you're happy with them, you'll need to make the holes. Run the pencil or dowel through the bases of the horns...make sure the holes run side to side as in the picture below. This is important --if you are looking at the front of the horns the way they would be sitting on your head, and you can see holes, you've done it wrong! (Can you tell I made this error on my first set?)

hole placement diagram

Pull the pencil/dowel out carefully -- it'll stick in there, so be careful. Check to make sure the holes go all the way through. Do not put the pencil or dowel in the oven -- it may catch on fire or otherwise cause damage to your horns. If you want to avoid this step entirely, and are handy with a small power drill, you may leave the holes out and drill them in later once your horns are baked. (Tip: If you're going to drill, take the horns out of the oven a few minutes before they are fully baked -- the clay will be softer and less likely to chip when you drill.) Otherwise, follow the clay directions and bake those horns! For more info on using polyclay, visit rec.crafts.polymer-clay, or search Yahoo! for some of the numerous polyclay user resources on the web.

silver glitter hornssilver glitter horns

What Color Are Your Horns?

Once your horns have thoroughly cooled, you can paint them. (If you need to drill holes, do it now, before you paint 'em) There's always the traditional black or red, but why not purple? Stripes? I made some purple-and-black striped ones (see pic above) to match some purple-and-black striped stockings. Faux finishes work well too -- crackle finish or antiquing (brush watered-down black paint over light grey twisted horns: the black will settle in the cracks and twists). For the glittery horns seen above, you can coat the horns with strong craft glue and roll them in glitter, then seal with a couple coats of clear polyurethane spray finish. Test the spray first on some loose glitter - some brands of glitter may melt or dull when sprayed with polyurethane.

Stringing 'Em Along...

When your horns are dry, make sure the holes are clear and go all the way through. Push the cord through one horn, then tie a small knot. This will keep the individual horns from sliding about on the cord. Decide how far apart you like the horns to be (hold 'em on and look in the mirror). Thread the cord through the other horn, and tie a knot before and after the hole as you did the first. See the diagram below for a better idea of what I'm talking about...

knot diagram

Tie One (Or Two) On...

Put on your horns! Set them on your head where you'd like 'em to be, hold up the back of your hair, and then tie the cord beneath your hair in back (kind of like how you'd tie a long scarf or bow on your head). Make sure they're tight! You'll probably want to go back and fluff up your hair a bit around the bases of the horns, in order the hide them. You want them to look perfectly natural, of course-- just like you grew 'em yourself. ("Only her hairdresser knows for sure!")

If you have any comments, questions, or have any pictures of your own DIY horns to share on this page, let me know!

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