Easy Hardware Store Horns

posted in: DIY Project

Does Halloween make you horny? Then you are in luck. With this easy DIY project you can make practically any kind of horn. In our video and blog we show you how to make unicorn and devil horns, but once you have wired your foam you can bend it into any shape you want. We have given you the basic instructions below with some additional helpful tips provided in italics. Thank you to Meredith Dudley and Evan Earhardt, long time friends and costume lovers, for sharing their innovative design with us! If you have a great idea for a DIY project email us at costumes@thenolacostumecenter.com. We love hearing your ideas and helping others learn too.

Supplies (Shop local! We love our locally owned hardware stores):

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  • Air Conditioner Weatherseal Foam. You can find this at most hardware stores. It is the stuff you use to block gaps around an A/C window unit. You will want to buy the large size. 2 1/4″ x 2 1/4″.
  • Solid Copper Wire or any wire that is strong enough to pierce the foam and is also malleable enough to bend your finished horn into the shape you want. You can find suitable wire at the hardware store and craft stores.
  • Florist Wire or any thin wire that you can twist around the foam.
  • Mod Podge glue or any water based paste like glue. Be sure it is water based or you risk melting the foam.
  • Headband to attach your horns to. You don’t have to use a headband, but for most horns it is the easiest base to use.
  • Spray Paint/Glitter/Decorating Supplies. More on how to choose the right supplies for your horns later in the post…
  • Scissors, wire cutters, & a paint brush

Step One:

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Cut weatherseal foam to desired length of your horn. 10″ works well for most larger horns like a ram or unicorn horn, but you can go bigger or smaller. Our devil horns are about 7″ long. The longer your foam, the trickier it will be to get the copper wire fed through so keep that in mind. 

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Use wire cutters to cut the copper wire about 3-4″ longer than the foam for your horn. Cut the end of the copper wire at an angle to get a nice sharp edge to pierce your foam. You will use this wire to anchor your horn onto your headband or whatever base you are using for your headpiece so it needs to be long enough to wrap around your base and securely fasten your horn. 

Step Two:

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Gently push the copper wire into the bottom center of the cut foam. Continue to push wire in until it is about 1-2″ from the end of the foam. You may have to wiggle the wire around to get it to move through the foam. Be careful not to push too hard or the wire will bend and/or poke through the side of the foam. If your wire pokes through the foam simply pull it back in and start over. Don’t worry. The foam is very forgiving and you won’t notice the hole you made in the final product. The same goes for if you accidentally push the wire through the end of the foam. 

Step Three:

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Cut a piece of the thin florist wire that is a little more than two times the length of your horn. Secure the florist wire to the end of your horn by wrapping it around the copper wire at the base of the horn. Carefully wrap the florist wire in a spiral around the foam to create a twisting effect. As you move towards the end of the foam, compress the foam with one hand as you wrap the wire around to create a point. Secure the end of the wire by making a simple knot around the horn tip and tucking the end of the wire into the tip of the foam. It may take you several tries to get the perfect spiral and tip, but the foam is very easy to work with so if you mess up just unwrap the wire and start again. Any marks in the foam from the wire will go away as the foam expands. Use one hand to push the foam together as you are wrapping and when you are making the tip. If you want the tip of your horn to have a rounder edge do not cut the end of the foam. If you want the tip to have a sharper edge you can cut the foam at an angle before you start to wrap it as we did with our devil horns. Play around with the florist wire until you get the look you want for your horn. Forgive yourself if it isn’t perfect. Nature isn’t perfect either!

Step Four:

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Bend horn into desired shape then coat the horn in a tick layer of Mod Podge or other water based paste glue. Let dry. The foam is very pourous and soft so the layer of glue helps to make the horn stiffer so it maintains its shape better. The glue also fills in some of the holes of the foam so that it is easier to paint and decorate. If you are in a big hurry you can skip this step and roll with your foam horn as is, but we recommend one or even two layers of glue. Do not try to cover your horn with Paper Mache. The foam will absorb the paste and your paper won’t stick. 

Step Five:

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Once dry you can decorate your horn! Spray paint works great! But remember that even with the coating of glue the foam will still be porous so you won’t ever get a perfectly smooth surface for the paint. Your horn will always have a more speckled look. For this reason we like a natural stone colored spray paint which has a textured appearance similar to the foam. Plus it gives your horn a nice earthy and natural look. For a more magical look you can also give the horn a coat of spray adhesive (or another layer of Mod Podge) and sprinkle with glitter. The glitter will help fill in some of the foam’s pores. 

Step Six:

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Attach your horn or horns to your headband or other base by wrapping the wire at the end around whatever you are using. Decorate your headband or headpiece with whatever materials you want to achieve the horny look you are going for. The possibilities are endless. If you find that your horns are not very secure once attached to your headband or base you can always use some of the florist wire to “sew” the horn further to your base. Use the tip of a pair of scissors or knife to pierce a small hole in the bottom of the horn so that you can feed the florist wire through the finished horn and wrap around your headband. Use your decorations and trims to cover any wires. 

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That’s it! Easy, cheap, and full of possibilities. Watch our video to see all of the steps. Have fun experimenting and feel free to email us with any questions.

Check out our video of all the steps here:

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