Okay, I’ll start by stating the obvious, I LOVE DISNEYWORLD! I would live there if I could! But one thing that really bugs me is their insane souvenir prices! So whenever I’m lucky enough to go to the parks, I like to make my own mickey ears ahead of time. That way I save money and I can customize the ears exactly how I want them.
This tutorial will show you how to make the most basic set of ears. Beyond that it’s up to your own imagination how you want to decorate your ears. But don’t worry if you’re not feeling creative and need some inspiration. At the end of this post, I’ll share some of my favorite pairs of ears that I’ve made over the years.
I've tried to keep this tutorial as simple as possible and to throw in many tips that I've discovered now that I've made about twenty different pairs of Mickey Ears.
Also, I promise that there's very minimal sewing in this tutorial. I know there are "no-sew" tutorials out there, but with just a tiny bit of sewing, your ears will look 100% more professional and they'll last much longer!
So let’s get started!
First, gather the listed tools and materials.
- A headband (I recommend a hard headband that’s around 2 cm wide)
- The fabric of your choice
- ¼” Inch Foam sheet (This is going inside the ears, so it could be any color, but I typically use white so it doesn’t show through, just in case I’m using a thin fabric)
- A hot glue gun
- Template (See below for link)
- Sewing Pins (or safety pins or needles... whatever you have will work!)
- Needle and Thread or Sewing Machine (whichever you’re more comfortable using)
For this tutorial you'll need to print my free DIY Mickey Ear Template. You can get this by signing up for the Daydreaming of Disney Newsletter. It's honestly a win-win, because you not only get the template, but you also get any other tips and tutorials that I post emailed directly to you!
I recommend printing the template on cardstock and then carefully cutting the two ear shapes out using scissors or an x-acto knife. Keep these templates handy, as we'll need both sizes of ear and keep them with your crafting supplies so that you can reuse them and make as many Mickey Ears as you want.
Now, first we’re going to make the foam insides to our ears. They will eventually go in the ears to give them support. If we were to just use the stuffing, it would be really hard to attach the ears to the headband, and they would most likely be droopy and wobbly. (Side Note: Wouldn’t Droopy and Wobbly be hilarious additions to the seven dwarves?)
Using your pencil, take the “Foam” template and trace two copies of it on your sheet of foam and cut them out.
It's important to do this tracing in pencil! I made the mistake of using pen, once during one of my earliest pairs of ears and it was a mess! It wouldn’t dry on the foam, so when I went to cut it out, I got blue ink all over my hands, and then that got all over the fabric… just trust me. Stick to pencil!
Now that you have your foam pieces cut out, set them to the side for the time being. We’re going to move on to making our fabric pockets.
Grab your fabric and make sure that it is ironed properly. Once you make the ears, there’s really no easy way to get any wrinkles out of them. For this example I’m using white fabric since it's easier to see the pencil marks on and since I plan on using this pair to create Olaf themed Mickey Ears!
Take your fabric template and trace it twice on your fabric. Unlike the foam, we need to leave space between these two pieces so that we have excess fabric to hold on to when we sew them. I recommend leaving about 1½ inches between the them.
Also, if you're using printed fabric, flip it over and trace your templates on the back. This will make it easier to see the pencil marks and, as you'll see later, it will make sewing easier too.
And I should reiterate what I said when we were tracing the foam - USE PENCIL! I know its not as easy to see as pen or marker, but it won't show up and stain your final project.
These two pieces that you've traced will become the front of your ears. Cut them out leaving at least a half an inch around the outside of each. As you can see in the photo below, I just cut a square around each of mine, and I gave myself even more than a half an inch.
All of this extra fabric will get trimmed off at the end, so it's okay to be generous with it at this stage. The more fabric you give yourself around the edges, the easier it'll be to sew.
Now place those two pieces that you just cut back onto the fabric. (Again, make sure that there are no creases or wrinkles) And simply cut two identical pieces to the ones that you just cut. These will be the backs to your two ears.
Now you can really start to see the ears coming together, right? Take each pair of fabric pieces that you have and pin them together so that they don't move around while you're sewing them.
If you're using patterned fabric, or any fabric that has two different sides, take the side with the pattern or the side of the fabric that you want to see on your ears and make sure that its on the inside of these pinned pairs. Think of them as sandwiches - the back of the fabric is the bread, and the printed side is the good stuff in the middle.
In a few steps, you'll see that after we finish sewing, we'll turn our fabric inside out, revealing the patterned side.
Now comes the most intimidating part - sewing! But don't be nervous! You only have to sew two lines! Grab your sewing machine or needle and thread and slowly sew along the large curve of each ear.
DON'T SEW THE BOTTOM CURVE!!! We need to make a pocket to put our stuffing in, so if you sew the bottom shut, you'll just get a flat ear.
Tips for sewing:
I have used both a needle and thread and a sewing machine to make these ears before, and they both yield the same results, so don't worry if you're not comfortable using a sewing machine. You can still have a great set of ears! I even have a pair where my sewing machine jammed up halfway through, so one ear is machine sewn and the other is hand sewn, and you honestly can't tell the difference!
Try to sew directly on top of the line that you traced. This will ensure that the ear is big enough for the foam piece to fit inside, and the closer that you can get your line to a smooth curve, the less pointy edges your final ears will have.
Also, I typically use white thread, since that's what's usually loaded into my sewing machine, but since we're going to turn these inside out, you won't be able to see the thread in the end, so it doesn't matter which color you use.
Well, now that the hard part's done, let's get these ears ready to stuff! First, we need to trim off all the extra fabric and thread. Trim the fabric so that there's about an eighth of an inch around the long curve and a half an inch around the short curve. (See the photo below for reference)
Once you have your fabric trimmed, flip your pockets inside out. Work with them to get them as round as possible before we move onto stuffing them. I like to run my thumb along the inside seam to get it completely smoothed out.
Now comes the fun part - stuffing! We need to start by adding our foam pieces first to give the ears some stability. The best way to fit the foam pieces into the fabric pockets is to roll them up like cannolis. Then simply shove them into the pocket and unroll them once they're inside. See the photo and video below for this process.
Once you have a foam piece in each pocket, you can start filling the rest of the ear with your stuffing. It's up to you how full you want to make them. Just remember to put stuffing on each side of the foam, or else one side of your ear will look flat.
Now we just have to glue the ears closed. To do this, take your hot glue gun and run a line of glue along the bottom of the foam inside the ear. Take one of the flaps of fabric and fold it over this line of glue. Do the same thing with the other flap, and you're done!
You might have to trim the fabric down a bit to clean it up, but it doesn't matter if you're somewhat messy with this seem, since it will be against the headband in the end.
Lastly, take your hot glue gun and glue the ears to the headband. To ensure that the ears are in the right spot, put the headband on and hold the ears where you want them to go. Then have a friend mark the headband where each ear starts and stops.
Or, if you already have a pair that you like, whether they're hand made or from the parks, you can use them as a reference to place the ears on the headband.
I've found that it's easier when glueing the ears, to run the glue along the headband and then put the ear onto it, rather than putting the glue directly onto the ear and then putting the ear onto the headband.
I made this pair into a set of Olaf inspired Mickey Ears using an orange bow and pieces cut from black and brown felt, but the possibilities are endless! Have fun getting creative with your ears!
I hope that this tutorial was helpful. I debated doing a video of me making a pair of Mickey Ears, but personally I like working through DIY's that explain how to create something through a series of pictures, rather than having to pause a video constantly.
Check out my tutorials on how to cover a headband to match your Mickey Ears and how to make a basic fabric bow to decorate your Mickey Ears.
Let me know in the comments below or contact me directly if you guys have any further questions. And feel free to post or send photos of the ears that you've created! I love seeing all of your fantastic creations!
Also, if you love Mickey Ears, be sure to follow my DIY Mickey Ears board on Pinterest.
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