View Full Version : Help with Ears/Tails?

08-26-2009, 02:19 PM
I'm planning on doing something of a pokemon gijinka (a modified version of one of the eevolutions, not sure which one yet...) and as such I'll likely be needing ears of some sort (unless I go with vaporeon, but that's another story alltogether).
At any rate, I'm not a huge fan of the stuffed/plush ear look (I'm not sure why, it just rubs me the wrong way) so I'm looking for alternative ideas. I attempted to make a set of cat ears a while back, out of floral foam, coated liberally in gesso, and painted. They looked pretty good, imo, but they unfortunately did not last the con weekend and are currently sitting on my desk in splinters...
I'm looking for something a little more durable, I suppose, especially since the eevolutions all have rather large, slim ears which would most certainly die a horrible horrible death were I to try the floral foam route again.
I've attempted, in the past, to make ears out of craft foam, but I've never managed to get a shape I was happy with. Has anyone else had any more luck? I'm trying for something fairly realistic as I am modifying the outfit and I still want it to be recignizable/look nice so some way of sanding down the corners, if craft foam is the consensus, would be awesome.
Any other ideas are also more than welcome ^^
The same goes for tails. I'm, again, not a huge fan of the stuffed/plush variety as I've had huge issues with lumpy stuffing jobs (I can't seem to get it smooth no matter what I do) in the past. Any way of making them look like they're not filled with marbles? Or an entirely different way of making them? That would be awesome.
And last but not least, some way of affixing the tail. I fail completely at this, as anyone will tell you. How do you make your tails stick without clearly defined pins or having them hang oddly?
Any and all help will be hugely appreciated. Thanks in advance! ^^

08-26-2009, 09:14 PM
All the Eevee ears in this photo (http://www.cosplay.com/photo/2182644/) were made with a thick foam (not quite the same as the thick craft foam sheets, but those would work the same) covered in felt. They make for nice ears that are light, thin, and sturdy.

As for tails, if you don't want a stuffed tail, what are you looking for? Anything 3-dimensional will likely have to be stuffed. The way to stuff things to make them not lumpy is top fluff the stuffing before putting it inside the tail. You could also use a sheet of quilting stuffing (it comes in a sheet) and use that around the outer layer of stuffing to smooth out any lumps. The fabric you make the tail out of makes a big difference too. My Eevee tail is made of fake fur, so it hides any stuffing lumps. A tail made from felt or thin fabric will show more lumps unless you take care to not make any lumps in the first place. ^_~
My tail is held on with a belt under the dress, with a slit cut in the back of the dress to allow the tail to poke out. It meant the tail could be supported by my hips, instead of supported by the fabric of the dress.

08-27-2009, 01:48 PM
Wow, thank you! That's super helpful ^^ (especially how to affix the tail. I'd never thought of a belt, and a slit in the dress. Awesome ^^)
Do you remember what type of thick foam you used? Because your ears look absolutely fantastic!

08-28-2009, 08:53 AM
Foam, foam, foam. I like using craft foam for ears. I sew wire around the edges to hold the shape, though the wire can rip through the foam so if you cover that with a layer of masking tape or something it will make it a lot sturdier. I cover my ears with fabric. And depending on if they are curved enough to support themself when resting against my head I attach them to a headband or bobby pins or something. And you can also use circles of foam(like the kind used for chair cushions) strung up on wire(used that for my Red XIII and Killer Croc tails), or batting, or other things to stuff tails. Though an eevee tail should be furry so stuffing lumps shouldn't be so much of an issue. My Horo tail is pretty similar and I started that by wrapping my wire in a base of fleece I had lying around, then I made my fur parts, slipped those one, and stuffed the remaining bit with stuffing. I also attached that one to a belt and had loops of wire coming out the end and attached to my belt to give it a nice base. Here's some of my different ears and tails I've made:
Horo, ears are craft foam base attached to clips and stuffed belt attached tail:
Zubat, craft foam base ears attached to bobby pins:
Fran, craft foam base ears attached to headband:
Red XIII, foam circle tail strung on wire and attached to shorts:

08-28-2009, 09:04 AM
I don't know if this helps at all, but I also didn't much like the stuffed tail look, so for my Draenei tail, I took one of those articulated wooden snake toys, lopped off the head, painted it and nailed/glued it to a belt. It moves pretty realistically, and I could bend it out of the way when I went to sit down. You could probably cover it in a stretchy fabric so that you can't see the slits in the wood that let it bend.

One thing to note is that it is quite a bit heavier than a stuffed tail, so you need to make sure that the belt is sufficiently tight/stiff enough to counteract the weight so that the tail doesn't drag your dress down (my first draenei dress suffered from this :p)