Making Light Up Deer Antlers Tutorial Using LED Foam

Tutorial by: Puppichu Cosplay

This tutorial was designed to create my Snow Fawn Poppy character from League of Legends, but the same principles can be applied for many different antlers or horns. 

Remember to always use proper safety equipment such as safety glasses, respirators, gloves, ear protection, ventilation, and cutting mats while following this tutorial. Also remember to ask for supervision if you are a younger reader. Cosplay can be a fun hobby, but make sure you are safe first!


Print this pattern on a 8.5” x 11” sheet of paper

PDF – Poppy Ear and Antler Pattern Sheet


Antler Materials

¼” thick LED foam (from CosplaySupplies. Get it here)
Contact cement
Rotary tool with drum sander
Heat gun
Hot glue gun & glue sticks
Acrylic paint (brown/white) and paint brushes
Popsicle stick (spreading contact cement)
Marker or pen

Electronics (optional):

4 LED lights (5mm, 3.0-3.4V, 20mA)
Electronic wire
4 Resistors (110-150 ohm)
9v attachment and battery
Heat shrink
Solder and solder iron

Trace the patterns on your ¼” LED foam with your pen. If you need your pattern to stay put you can also push some pins through the pattern into the foam. Then cut your antler patterns out with a pair of scissors or an exacto knife. You will need four pieces of “large” and  four pieces of “small” antler patterns. Don’t forget to flip your pattern and cut this all again for one left and one right antler.

Next step is to laminate the four pieces of foam together to make a larger/thicker antler chunk. Apply a thin layer of contact cement on two opposite sides. Follow the drying time directions for your contact cement, but typically the drying is done when the contact cement becomes “dull” and not sticky to the touch. Once this occurs, stick the two pieces together. Repeat this step again with the foam pieces you just glued to get all four pieces glued together. Do this for each of the antlers and for both the left and right sides.

Grab your rotary tool with a sanding barrel and remove the sharp edges. You want to try and sculpt it into a more round/tube like shape. Remember the tips of the antlers would be thinner and rounder, while the base would closer to a rounded box shape. After sanding, use your heat gun to put a small bend into both the “large” and “small” antlers. This will make them look a bit more dynamic and not as flat/2D looking.

Apply more contact cement to the bottom of each of the “large” and “small” antler points. You want to glue a “small” antler to the front of a “large” antler. Once the glue has dried stick them together. Again, be careful you glue one left and one right direction.


Electrical components (optional):

In this tutorial I will not be going over the basic theory behind Ohm’s law. If you want to learn this information yourself I suggest you check out Kamui Cosplay’s books on LED lights or head over to the Adafruit webpage. You can use whatever different lighting and resistor combinations you can find available to you, this is just what I used for my set up.

Here is a diagram of my circuit and how they are wired in the antlers:


First prepare your antlers for installing the LEDs. Use an exacto knife to cut open the top of each of the antler points

Use your rotary tool to sand out a pocket for your led to rest in. This will also make the walls of the LED foam thinner to make your LEDs shine even brighter through the foam. Be careful not to sand all the way through! You don’t want a hole in your antlers.

After soldering your circuit together (connect it to test that it works!), install it into the antlers by cutting a small channel halfway through the foam and stuffing in the wires. Give your circuit an extra test to make sure all wire are still connected and working!

Now that your LEDs are working, seal up the channels and top of the antlers with some hot glue. Make sure you are using a low setting on your hot glue gun and try not to apply the tip of the glue gun directly onto the foam. This is to ensure the foam does not shrink/melt from high heat application.

With you antlers constructed and LEDs installed, it’s time to paint! I used an acrylic brown paint for the base of the antler, but be careful not to apply it to the tips of the antlers where you want your light to shine through. I used a very watered down white acrylic paint over the tips of the antlers to make sure the light won’t be obscured.

TIP: paint your antlers with the lights turned on to make sure you don’t cover up too much light with your paint.

Now your antlers are complete! The only step left is attaching them to wear on your head. My antlers were later attached to another piece of L200 foam inside my hood; however, if you need a simpler system a plastic headband is a great option. Hot glue the base of your antlers and stick them to the top of your headband. To make sure your antlers are extra secure, use a needle and thread to hand stitch them in place to the headband.

Enjoy your new pair of antlers!


Want to know how Puppichu made her adorable Fawn ears out of L200 foam? We will be posting that tutorial in the next few days so keep an eye out on our blog!

Interested in more League of Legends themed tutorials? Check out Vickybunnyangel‘s guide to creating Star Guardian Soraka Wings Using Varaform.