Hi! I noticed a lot of threads asking where to buy or how to make cat ears/tails, etc. I've seen lots of good advice but didn't check to see how many examples were actual progression shots... But I'm currently working on a cat costume for my niece and decided to document the progress here. Cat ears came first and I'll be working on the tail soon, so expect a tutorial on that in the next week or so.
Anyway, this is just one of many ways to make ears. Feel free to add your own touches, use different materials, whatever when you make your own. Just consider this a picture guide to soft ears! There are additional comments with all photos for more detail.
* Furniture foam, preferably 1/2" thickness
* Pale fabric for inner ear (pink, peach, skin-tone, your choice!)
* Exterior fabric (fur, velvet, velour, any fuzzy kind of fabric works)
* Hot glue gun & glue sticks
* Needle & thread (optional)
* White maribou boa (optional)
* 16-20 guage wire (VERY optional; depends on if you want to pose the ears)
Start with a basic triangle shape and then whittle down the sides. One side is normally longer than the other, so play with it a bit. Snip about 1/3 into the bottom at your center and pinch the foam until it starts to make an angle, pulling the tips in. This forms the inner base point of your ear. Once it's in a position you like, use hot glue to secure it. I use an additional line of glue on the inside of the ear once the first pinch is cool.
Attaching inner ear fabric
Use the hot glue to attach the inner fabric. Start at the inside fold and work outwards. Always start from the center and work outwards! You don't need a lot of glue unless you want to try the creasing method I like to use. Even then, be careful because needles don't go through hot glue well and you want to leave the edges free for later stitching. Once the inside is secure, do the edges and trim off the excess fabric. Pinch the corners with glue and tack then to one side.
This is where all the optional stuff comes in...
I used a pink highlighter to add some shading into my ear creases. Then there's the feather fluff for the center, to give the ear more dimension and texture. Plus fluff is cute!
Then there's the poseability factor. I've used various wires in ears to make them poseable. You just make a shape smaller than the ear and hot glue it onto the backside of the ear (where the fur goes), gluing it down in spots rather than the whole wire so it stays flexible. Stick to floral wires that are 16-20 guage, 20 being the softer wire. Also, the larger the ear, the easier to pose.
Attaching outside fabric/fur
You can either hot-glue or sew the outer fabric on. Hot glue is great when working with fur and much faster. When working with thinner fabrics like velvet or velour, you may choose to hand-sew it to the inner ear fabric. It's your choice. Either way, make sure to tuck under the edges of the outer fabric before attaching it down along the sides.
Voila! You have an ear! Now you just have to make a matching one and do something with it like attach it to a hat, wig, hair band... something. Hope this proves to be helpful!