Friday, February 2, 2018

DIY Tamatoa Mickey Ears

My family LOVES Moana.  I knew that we weren't likely to see a lot of Moana things at Disney World yet because the movie was so new, but I thought it would be fun to make my own pair of Tamatoa Mickey Ears. Both Lucky and Keith LOVE the song Shiny and the little after the credits scene. 

I made a lot of ears for our Disney World trip, and I can't remember where this set fell in the order.  I do know that this was one that I did a lot of improvisation for although you can find some of my inspiration on my Disney World Ideas Pinterest Board


  • Headband
  • Thick craft felt in black and navy
  • Gold Sequin Fabric (Optional - for the back of the ears)
  • Metallic Gold and Gold Glitter Puffy Paint
  • freezer paper
  • gold sequins in various sizes
  • Blue sparkly fabric
  • "crystal gel" sparkle puffy paint
  • two purple/black sequins for the eyes
  • Hot glue gun
  • polyfill stuffing
  • Sewing Machine (optional, you could use glue instead)
I wanted to do an experiment about creating embellishments for a Tamatoa ears.  I didn't want to spend a lot of money buying different gold color embellishments, so I tried using some $1 puffy paint on the waxy side of freezer paper.  If these peel off, then I can use them to add some dimension to a Tamatoa shell.

It worked great!  I could crinkle the various shapes to add dimension to my ears.  Next I needed to create the base of the ears because I knew that I wouldn't be able to sew it together after I started adding on the piles of puffy paint.  

With the tabbed template I created in my first set of Mickey Ears, I cut out four pieces from the thicker craft felt.  I cut 3 black pieces and 1 navy piece.  

I knew that the sparkly gold fabric I picked out needed a foundation for it to stand up on the ears.  I pinned the extra sparkly fabric to two of the felt pieces.  Since the mesh was somewhat see through I didn't want to use glue to adhere it.  My plan was to stitch just around the outside and hope for the best.  I did wonder if I needed to add tissue paper over the sequins, but it just worked!  The sewing machine needle went through the fabric with no issues. 

I decided to wait to trim the fabric until I had sewn the front of the ears to the backs, although I did cut the fabric to separate the two pieces. 

For Tamatoa's face, I cut out one triangle and two circles and pinned them to the piece of navy felt.  (I used some scrap fabric that came from my Elsa ears, but it looks like I haven't written up that post yet.)  If you don't have sparkly fabric in your stash you could use a lighter blue felt and add some glitter to it after the fact. 

Once again, I stitched down the embellishment pieces versus using glue.  I like the definition that the stitches give to the shapes.  However, I don't think you would be sacrificing much if you decided to use a fabric glue instead.  

Before stitching down the whites of the eyes, I used a tiny dot of glue to glue them down. I didn't trust my ability to pin them correctly, but I did sew them down with my machine to keep them in place.  

I think that the wrong side of this ear section looked really cool!  

Now that the ear fronts were ready to go, I stitched them to the back pieces and then trimmed off the excess gold fabric. 

Now it was finally time to start embellishing the shiny shell ear.  I covered the black felt with globs of gold and glitter gold puffy paint and added sequins and some of the shapes I created earlier.  My goal was to create a lot of texture and shapes to look like a pile of treasure. 

I did the ear in a couple of stages.  In part I wanted to see how things dried so I knew how to modify my technique.  It worked AMAZINGLY well.  I also did some similar mini embellishments on some freezer paper (not shown) to incorporate onto the bottom of the second ear. 

This ear really does look like a pile of treasure, right? 

For the face ear, I needed to make some Antennae but I also wanted to show a bit of the shell so it would look like Tamatoa was just started to peek his head out. 

I used the crystal gel puffy paint for the Antennae and to attach the darker sequins to the whites of the eyes. 

Doesn't it look like he is squinting? 

I used a fabric pencil to draw out the lines of the shell. I started by adding some of the pre-fabricated shapes to give this mini shell some dimension and then added sequins and glitter. 

Finally I just needed to wait for things to dry so I could finish up the ears.  

How is that for some custom, DIY Tamatoa ears?  Now I'm just missing the headband!  

I lightly stuffed the ear pockets with the polyfill stuffing and then used hot glue to secure them to the ears.  I first glued the center to the top of the headband, and then glued the back tab to the bottom of the headband.  Finally, I glued the front tab around the back and trimmed off any overhangs.  These ears look positively shiny, right?  

I couldn't wait to bring these with me to Disney World!  

Lucky thought the ears were pretty awesome, but REALLY didn't want us to meet Tamatoa at the parks.  He thought that Tamatoa would like these ears too much and try to steal them.  

I was surprised that there was almost NOTHING Moana while we were there.  I started collecting pins on my trip and didn't see a single Moana themed pin.  

I will say that these ears were popular with the staff when I wore them to the Animal Kingdom.  I'll share some photos from the trip in a future post where I show off all of the Disney Ears we wore at the parks.