I've always loved the aesthetic of the stained glass windows in Beauty and the Beast, so when a friend asked me to make some custom ears for them, I thought it was a great opportunity. While looking for inspiration, I saw these 3-D printed ears on Pinterest and thought they were just fantastic. I have a laser cutter but no 3-D printer, so I set out to create my own version using clear acrylic. I could't find them for sale anywhere or even who made them, so I'm attaching a few links to some others making similar ears.
Note: I made several versions of these ears and didn't take pictures of all steps with the same set of ears, so the images will switch between the various designs.
Materials and Tools:
vector software (Illustrator, Inckscape, etc.)
access to laser cutter
black alcohol ink
Step 1: Design
Find an image you like and trace it or create something from scratch. I like to draw my designs in Adobe Draw on my iPad and transfer them into Illustrator. Using the Trace Image function you can take any black and white image and turn it into a vector drawing.
Load some clear acrylic into your laser. Make sure to use acrylic with masking paper or apply some masking tape before cutting.
You'll need one of each ear engraved and one of each without the engravings. You'll also need two holes near the bottom edge. I forgot to add the holes and had to drill them after the fact. See step 4.
Engrave the black lines and cut around the edge using a laser cutter.
Step 2: Add Black
Squirt black alcohol ink into the engraved sections before removing masking paper. If some of the black bled out of the designated areas, use a q-tip dipped in alcohol to gently wipe it off.
Step 3: Paint
Mix food coloring into Mod Podge to create paints for each color you need. Use your paintbrush to apply the paint generously so that it sits above the surface a bit.
Step 4: Drill
If you forgot to laser some holes in the bottom edge, tape the plain ears to their respective engraved ears and drill holes.
Step 5: Attach to Headband
Put the plain ears over the painted side of the engraved ears.
Put zip-ties through the holes and around the headband loosely at first. The end should be in the back and facing up as pictured. Slide the ears around to make sure they're symmetrical and the desired width apart. Tighten the zip-ties when you've got them where you want them. Clip off the ends of the zip-ties.
If applied correctly, the zip ties won't be uncomfortable. I can't even tell they're there. They're a bit visible, but far more secure than using hot glue, so it's worth the trade-off in my opinion.
Step 6: Hot Glue
Add a bit of hot glue to the edge of the two ear pieces to keep them from splitting apart. You can add just a bit or go all the way around and add some ribbon to the edge.
Step 7: Enjoy
Hit up your favorite Disney theme park and show off your handiwork!