DIY Elven Crown

Hello and welcome to another installment of our DIY blog series, in which I, Emily, teach you how to make various geeky things. This time, we’ll explore the magical world of D&D and make a crown fit for elven royalty. Because admit it, you’ve always wanted your own crown.

(Very long) Side note about this project: I’m a mega fan of the livestream D&D show, Critical Role. I stay up way past my bedtime to watch a bunch of voice actors play D&D and no matter how late into the night the show goes, I'm always left wanting more. After the most recent episode, I had a dream that I made a replica of the headdress that one of the characters wears. When I woke up, I was determined to make that dream a reality, despite the fact that I have no experience making crowns or any money/resources to create such a thing. But when has that ever stopped me? So what follows is my very wonky interpretation of Keyleth’s headdress. Feel free to make your own version that isn’t inspired by someone else’s D&D character. 

Part 1: Awesome(?) Crown

What you’ll need

  • 16 gauge craft wire
  • Masking tape
  • Acrylic paint in the metallic color of your choice
  • Paintbrushes
  • Pliers (2)
  • Wire cutter (or scissors that you don’t care about ruining)
  • Chain that matches the color of your crown (will be used to keep the crown on your head)
  • Lobster clasp

Step 1: Decide on the shape of your crown. Like I mentioned, I used this image as a jumping off point.

                                           Portrait of Keyleth by the awesome Kit Buss

                                           Portrait of Keyleth by the awesome Kit Buss

Grab your wire and get to shaping! First, cut one long piece of wire to serve as the base, bending it to fit where you want it to rest on your head. I put a V-shape bend in the center of the crown, essentially dividing the crown in half and making it easier to keep the sides even. Bend the ends of the base piece to create a loop on either side where we’ll later attach the chain. Cut and bend any other pieces you’d like and shape them to fit your design.

Step 2: You’re probably wondering, “WTH Emily, now I just have a bunch of pieces of wire and no way to attach them to one another.” Fear not! While some may defer to the time-tested tradition of welding one piece of metal to another piece of metal, my lack of welding gear and general dislike of pain and bodily injury forced me to come up with another solution. That’s right, we’re going to *gasp* tape the wire together. Take your masking tape and tape your wire pieces together. Don’t worry about making it look pretty, just focus about making the attachments as secure as possible. Once you’ve taped your pieces together, carefully try your crown on and bend the wire to make sure it fits you as desired.

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Step 3: So now you have a bunch of pieces of wire taped together. Good work, you’re done!

Just kidding!  That would be terrible. Next, we need to fill out the shape of our crown so it will be sturdier and look less like a bunch of wires taped together. How do we do that? MORE MASKING TAPE :D

Take small pieces of your masking tape and cover the wire structure. Do not cover the loops at the end. You’ll probably need a few layers of tape, depending on how thick you want the crown to be. Once you’ve covered your wire do one final layer of tape, and try your best to hide any seams or bumps on the back of the crown. It won’t be completely smooth, so don’t stress too much. STOP STRESSING OUT!!! THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUN!! (I know that when I’m stressed, the best thing is to have someone yell at me to stop it.)

Step 4: Once again, try on your crown and mold it back into the desired shape. Once satisfied, it’s time to paint. Paint the entire crown. Make sure to get the paint in the folds and cracks in the tape and look at your work in different types of lighting to make sure you didn’t miss any spots. I did 3 layers of paint and waited about 15 minutes between each layer. Pro Tip: Be patient. Don’t try your crown on before the paint dries. Otherwise, you’ll go to teach dance class and realize you have a gold stripe of paint across your forehead. GREAT JOB, EMILY. Now your students think you’re insane.

Step 5: Make the final shape adjustments and touch-ups. Test the crown again. At this point, the crown may stay on your head just fine as is. If so, you don’t need to worry about this last step. Otherwise, take a piece of chain and attach it to the wire loops you made on the ends of your crown base. Do the same thing with a separate piece of chain on the other loop. Now, attach the lobster clasp to one of the chains. Make sure that your chain pieces are long enough to connect behind your head. Measure if you’d like, or just be a slacker like me and eyeball it.

Voila! You’ve made a weird tape crown. You should be proud of yourself! Put your crown on and go frolic in the woods or sit on a throne and pass judgement on your friends and family.

If you don't think your plain crown is zazzy enough, move on to Part 2 of this tutorial. I’ll teach you how to make beautiful flower and antler attachments for your crown! SPOILER ALERT: We’ll use even more wire and masking tape.

Part 2: Flowers and Antlers

What you'll need

  • Small fake flowers and fake leaves (you can use the ones on the stems of the flowers you buy to save money)
  • Fake butterflies (whatever size you'd like)
  • Floral wire
  • More masking tape
  • More Wire
  • Brown acrylic paint
  • White acrylic paint
  • Hot glue gun (or glue of your choice that will bond the flowers to each other)

Step 1: Find an image of antlers that you like and cut a few pieces of your thick wire from earlier. Cut one longer wire piece as the base and several shorter ones to wrap around it and branch off. Try to make both structures as similar as possible so that you don't end up with mismatched antlers. That would just be embarrassing.

Step 2: Wrap the wire structures in tape, using as much as you like to create the thickness and size you want. Make sure you put extra tape on the ends so the wire won't poke through. Check to make sure the antlers look similar and put a last layer of tape on, trying to get the least amount of wrinkles possible.

Step 3: Time to paint the antlers. Coat the antlers in a couple of layers of brown paint and then let dry. While you're waiting, you can skip ahead to step 4 and work on the flowers. When the paint is dry, add another layer and make sure you catch any spots that you missed before. If you'd like, you can put a tiny amount of white paint on a brush and add some white to the tips and base of the antlers.

Step 4: Cut your flowers and leaves off of the stems, but try to leave a piece of stem if possible. Cut your fake butterfly in half. Feel a little terrible about cutting the butterfly, but then remember that it isn't a real butterfly and therefore doesn't experience pain.  Some flowers will pop off of their stems really easily, so secure the stem with a dab of glue.

Step 5: Arrange the flowers and butterflies in two symmetrical designs. When you decide on a configuration you like, hot glue the flowers together. Start from the base and layer up from there. Try not to scream out in pain to loudly when you press the flowers together and get hot glue all over your finger. Crafting is not for the weak! Once you've glued everything together, take a piece of your floral wire and wrap the stems together to reinforce the structure.

Step 6: When the antlers are completely dry and the flower arrangements are done, put your crown back on and hold one set of flowers and and antler up to the side and see where it looks best. Mark that spot lightly with a pencil, then mark the same point on the other side of the crown. Use the floral wire to attach the antlers to the crown. I alternated the wire from one side of the antler to the other creating an "x" shape. It that isn't secure enough for your liking, you can add some good old masking tape and then paint the tape to match your crown.

Step 7: Take your floral arrangements by the stems and use the floral wire to attach the "bouquets" to each antler. If you'd like you can also use some strong glue, but I opted to make the antlers and flowers detachable, hence using the easily-removable floral wire.

YAY YOU DID IT!! I'm so proud of you for sticking it out and making it through this entire post. You are a champion and now you have an adorable crown to prove it.