In this quick little tutorial, I am going to give you the steps for creating your own fantasy mushroom elf ears. The creative character designs are endless. What will you create first?
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To get started grab yourself a pair of elf ears. I purchased through Amazon. I prefer the style that I have linked below and every time I have ordered I get the same great quality. This set of ears is a softer more flexible rubber material unlike some of the other brands I have bought that are very hard plastic. This softer material to me makes it feel and look more realistic even if you are painting or blending them to match your character creation.
Because the material feels like a very soft rubber material; painting these can sometimes get tricky.
The paint will often lift back off the ears and make the paint look splotchy. The trick is to go slow and apply in layers with plenty of drying time in between. In this How-to, I am going to cover just the mushroom painting process that I used but there are so many application options so watch for another blog post that will cover more techniques.
Let's get started If you have handled your ears or have had them for a while you will want to give them a quick wash to remove any of the excess oils left on the product. I just use dish soap as it is not too harsh on the rubber/silicone. Pat dry and prep your area for painting. Because this painting method requires you to dry and paint in layers you will want to make sure your surface is free from dust and debris.
The best way to create a beautiful Ombre finish with the ears is with an airbrush but if you are like me you don't own one so you will have to produce this effect using several painting techniques.
If you are new to creating an Ombre look I recommend that you start with only one paint color.
Apply a small amount to your brush and start working from where you want to apply the darkest area first. I use dabbing motions and work around the area. This first application is usually where I decide how far down I want my Ombre finish to go. The material can be difficult to paint on and if you start to paint back over an area that is not dry your paint may lift back up, causing it to look blotchy. Just trust in the process and know that you can just wash this back off if you hate it. I recommend pushing through though, let it dry, and then apply a second coat before you abandoned it and start over. Once you have your first layer roughly laid out on the ear it will look a bit rough and not very feathered. Before applying the second coat make sure all the paint is dry. Then go back in using a dry brush method and start feathering and gradually building up the color and giving the Ombre effect.
After letting this sit you will notice some areas that need a touch-up. I will compare both ears together to make sure they are looking even but I try not to overthink this and think of them more like sisters than twins. As long as they are close I am happy with them. I personally only touch up large splotchy areas with paint. If it is a smaller area I will decide if I can cover this with the mushroom "dots" or if I can use a blender brush and some shadow or chalk to blend out even further. Before I add the dots I do like to add the powder, in this case, I used a few shades of eye shadows but you can also use soft pastel chalk to produce a similar effect.
I wanted to use eye shadow because I knew I wanted to add some fleshy tones into the ears for a more realistic look.
I used the NYX Bright Color Palette. Now I know that you are thinking these colors are way too bright to give off that deep red color tone that you see in the finished image. The combination of the deep red paint mixed with the bright red shadow created the more realistic Ombre effect that you are seeing. However, I fully support trying out different palettes or combinations to create something unique to you. Starting with the red I applied a very generous amount to the tips of the ears and then started to blend downwards. I recommend using a soft feathering brush but if you don't have one of those just go slow and apply soft circler motions to create that feathered application.
This is the exact brush that I use for applying the shadow. I typically will use e.l.f. make-up brushes when I am using them in art projects because if I damage them it is not as big of a loss as using my M.A.C. brushes.
I then lightly dabbed my brush into the deeper purple tone and applied it to the outer edges of the ears. This made the ears have a little bit of a darker tone to them and create a little bit of an undertone to break up the color.
Next, I used my Revlon PhotoReady Blurring Powder over the entire ear. I used this almost as a setting powder, but I really wanted to see how my ears were with an even coat of a flesh tone color applied over the ears. This helps knock off any excess shadow that may be left behind. You don't have to use this product or even apply this at all. If you don't have this product just grab a large feather brush and brush it over the ears to dust off any remaining eye shadow or chalk. Just be careful if you have any shadow that is excessive to not smear and create lines on your ears.
Once I dusted over my entire ear I started checking for color fades and making sure I was happy with everything. I felt like the red went too far down on the ear and I didn't want to wash them off and start over so I grabbed some peach-toned shadows and applied them to the inner ear portion blending upward. Grab any color that best matches the base tone of your ears for mine the peach color blended in the best. That is it for applying your Ombre color.
My next step was to apply the dots. There are a lot of methods for this but I was wanting to finish up quickly so I added a little off-white paint to a plate and turned my brush around and used the end to dip in and apply dots all over the ear. I varied my pressure to have larger dots and smaller dots all over the ear. That is it! I was done with my ears and very happy with them.
The next step is optional but if you want your creative paint job to last longer then I recommend a clear spray finish over them. I did not apply this step as I usually go through multiple color combinations throughout the year and I wanted to be able to wash off everything with ease. If you are going to apply a finish I recommend matte clear spray paint. Look for one that is UV resistant to help your paint stay vibrant longer. Just apply in light smooth layers with plenty of drying time between coats. If you create your own ears comment below. I would love to hear about what you are working on!