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How to Paint Elf Ears, the Aradani Way

How Do I Paint Elf Ears?
Do I need to buy painted ears?

These are probably the most common questions we hear from our customers. While we have had a tutorial for years on How to Apply Your Aradani Elf Ears, Mike, Sara, and I decided to share exactly how we paint elf ears.

Purchasing a pair of our pre-painted ears not only is less work for you, but saves you from purchasing supplies that you might only use rarely (RMG make-up, make-up sponges, setting powder (talc), powder puffs, etc.). While RMG make-up is not totally permanent, the make-up on our pre-painted should last for at least 6 months to a year without needing touch-ups (depending on how often you wear the ears).

If you order the Pro Kit option from our website, your ears will already be pre-painted to the color you select, and you will also have a good variety of RMG make-ups based on the color you ordered. So whether you need help painting a pair of unpainted ears from scratch or just need to do some subtle touch-ups to your ears, this tutorial will guide you to Paint Elf Ears, the Aradani Way.


Unpainted Latex

As a natural product, latex can vary in color from an almost white, to a yellow, to even a light pink. We attempt to achieve a uniform color in our products, and so we use the same process every time to color each 5 gallon bucket when it is first opened. But even with this consistent process, this natural variation typically doesn’t lead to a very realistic color match for skin (see photo above).

This tutorial will help explain how we apply RMG make-up to Aradani elf ears to mask the underlying latex color, achieving a more realistic and believable look.

Supplies Needed

If you plan to paint the ears, here is a short list of the supplies you will need.

  • Unpainted pair of Aradani elf ears
  • a few different shades of RMG make-ups
  • Round Make-up sponges*
  • Talc or Baby Powder
  • Powder Puff

This tutorial will only focus on painting the ears. For application, removal, and care, please visit our other tutorial.

*We personally feel the round make-up sponges are better and provide more control than the wedge shaped ones and produce a more natural blending of color.

Painting the Ears

The problem with most painting tutorials is that they want you to apply make-up directly on your skin. That means every time you want to wear your ears, you’ll have to blend them into your skin again! We want to avoid this. Our goal is to get the ears close to your skin tone so you don’t apply any make-up directly to your skin. Any difference in color will be hidden with ear cuffs or hair, as described here.

We recommend RMG (rubber mask grease) paint for painting elf ears. RMG is castor oil based, and is specifically designed for applying on latex prosthetics. We sell this in both a Light Stack and a Dark Stack. The RMG Light Stack contains a good variety of colors that can be used to paint most Fair to Tanned skintones.

There is one rule to keep in mind when painting latex proshetics. Do NOT use mineral oil based make-up. Mineral oil will break down the latex over time, eventually turning the latex soft and gummy. IF you can’t find the ingredient list for your make-up, we recommend not using it, or contact the manufacturer.

Depending on your skin tone, we recommend using 1 or 2 different flesh tones and a blush color to achieve a realistic look. Many times when we see people wearing non-Aradani elf ears or ears they have painted themselves, they don’t use any red make-up along the back curve of the ear.

Because of the thinness of the skin, most human ears have more pink and red along this area then the rest of their ears. Even if you think your ears aren’t that pink, that subtle shading of pink tones along the back of the ear make a significant difference between an ear that requires a double take, or ones that immediately look fake.

The easiest way to visualize painting the ears is to think about the elf ear in three sections,

1) the Body (Blue)
2) the Flap (green)
3) the Back Curve (Red).

Aradani Painted Light:
1) Sunrise Flush
2) Sunrise Flush
3) Auguste or Rose Blush

Different RMGs that work well for Fair skintones are Sierra, Medium Highlight, Graceful Swan, Sunrise Flush, and Medium Honey*.

For instructions on blending multiple colors between the body and flap, see below.

Aradani Painted Medium:
1) Dark Bronze
2) Dark Bronze
3) Auguste or Rose Blush

Different RMGs that work well for Tanned skintones are Medium Honey*, Dark Bronze, Warm Tan, Desert Sand, Ceylon Cinnamon, and Olivia*.

For instructions on blending multiple colors between the body and flap, see below.

Aradani Painted Dark
1) Milk Chocolate
2) Milk Chocolate
3) Milk Chocolate

Different RMGs that work well for Dark skintones are Olivia*, Burnt Umber, Milk Chocolate, Hazelnut, and Ebony.

If using the RMG Dark Stack, use whichever color best matches your skintone to paint the entire ear (Warm Tan, Milk Chocolate or Ebony), then use the other two colors for highlights and shadows.

Darker skin tones tend to have more variation than lighter ones. Some darker tones have subtle reds, others do not. We typically paint a single color over the entire ear, then use a shade lighter or a shade darker to add some variation to the ear to help deepen the shadows or lighten the highlights.

Blending the Colors

If your ears and face are different colors, you may need to blend 2 colors together.

Picking on Paul's ears for example, his ears are darker than the skin in front of his ears (where the flap is attached to his skin). So for his ears, he paints the body with Dark Bronze, and uses Medium Highlight on the flap. 

When blending 2 colors, he first paints the flap of the ear using the lighter color. Second, he paints the body, and blends the darker color down from the body onto the flap to create a smooth transition between the 2 colors (note the green and blue overlap). Pro Tip: We recommend blending from dark to light so that you keep your light make-up sponge from getting dark make-up on it.

Finally, he uses just a small amount of Rose Blush to touch up the back curve, adding a slight red tint to the ears. Pro Tip: If using straight red versus rose blush, be careful not to overdo the red. A small dab of pure red goes a long way!!!

If you want to know what colors to best paint your ears, you can always use our Contact Us form and we can assist you.

Setting the Make-up

RMG make-up is castor oil based, and when first applied will still be wet and shiny. This make-up is also not permanent, so it will rub off over time and the more the ears are handled. But if set properly, it should last on the ears for many months, even years, depending on how often you use them.

Once the ears are fully painted, it is time to set them with powder. You can purchase setting powder, but honestly baby powder is what we use, and is much easier to find locally. Applying talc will absorb most of the oils in the make-up, and make it much harder to smudge or rub off the make-up from the ears.

  1. Dab your powder puff in the powder.
  2. Pat the powder all over the ear, it will now have a chalky look to it.
  3. Continue patting to remove any remaining powder with the puff.

It is better to pat the ears than wipe, as wiping will have more of a chance of smudging or removing the make-up then setting it.

The painting process is the same for any type of elf ear you buy, no matter how long or short. When you are not wearing your ears, make sure to store them in a small plastic baggie. This helps prevent the make-up from rubbing off the ears.

Once you are ready to wear your ears, don’t forget to visit, How to Apply Your Aradani Elf Ears.


The Aradani Crew

Video Painting Tutorial

If you prefer a video tutorial to a text tutorial, Sara's got you covered, just click the video below!