Medusa Crown




About: Engineer by day, maker by night; I make art to relax and focus. I enjoy drawing, painting, embroidery, paper crafts, and sewing among many others, but I'm always up for learning a new skill.

Looking for a DIY costume that won't leave you with large, useless materials to store after October? Follow this simple instructable for an inexpensive Gorgon crown that is small enough to store, but pretty enough you may just want to display it year round!


Step 1: Materials


  1. Crown -- I bought a cheap one from the Garment District in Boston, but you can get them at craft and toy stores for ~$2
  2. Snakes -- I bought these from amazon for $6. You'll want smallish snakes so you can fit as many on the crown as possible. I used ~8 of them, but you can always use more!
  3. Spray paint -- I used gold, which I highly recommend, but you can use whatever you like. Some other good choices would be matte green, silver, or grey/stone colored. This was about $3.


  1. Exacto knife
  2. Cutting surface (not pictured)
  3. Glue gun
  4. Thin wire (not pictured) -- you'll be using this like extremely sturdy string that doesn't require knotting
  5. Thick wire + pliers (optional) -- you can use this to create a poseable "center snake", but you can get a similar effect without it

Step 2: Center Snake

The design for your Gorgon crown is entirely up to you, but I found that it tends to look more crown-like and aesthetically pleasing if there was one snake which was "rearing up" from the center of the headpiece. To do this, we'll add wire to one of the larger (cobra is good!) snakes to force it into the "rearing" shape. If you have a snake that is already in this position, you won't need the wire.

Wiring the snake...

1. Poke the thick wire through the head of the snake (using a small nail helps).

2. Using the exacto knife, cut slits in the "segments" until you get about 1.5 inches down the body of the snake.

3. Poke the thick wire into the last "segment" of the body.

4. Glue that sucker. (It'll keep it in place and protect your head from the sharp wire edges if any poke out.)

Positioning the snake...

Keeping the first few inches of the center snake free, wind the body of the snake through one side of the crown starting from the center, as shown in the images. You may need to cut into the body to fit the snake through the openings in the crown. Use thin wire and hot glue to secure the snake in position. Once the glue has dried, you can bend the front of the snake into the desired posture.

Step 3: Add More Snakes

You have your centerpiece, now add all of the other snakes! You'll want the bending of the mass of snakes to look realistic, so make sure that they aren't bending at too sharp of angles (here are some reference images) but at the same time, you want the resulting mass of snakes to look alive, so make sure to add some enraged, hissing side snakes. Check out images of medusa for inspiration on snake placement.

Securing the snakes...

For this part, rely primarily on strategic cutting and liberal use of the thin wire for securing the snakes. Don't worry about the wire showing; it will be hidden in the next step.

Try it on!

Don't hesitate to try on the crown as you work on it. Doing so will not only help you see which areas need more snakes or difference placement; it'll also help you make sure you don't overload one side. Wear it around. Take some pictures. Does it need more snakes? Does it look threatening enough? Do you want to threaten people shorter or taller than you? If the first, then angle your hissing snakes downward. If the second, angle them up. Or just go for a balance of both!

Step 4: Spray Paint

After adding all of the snakes you want on your crown, and following the directions on the can, spray a light coat of gold paint across the entire crown. Don't forget the back and bottom.

Add more layers until you reach a point where you can just see hints of the original patterns on the snakes. This helps keep the snakes identifiable but also helps the crown look like a unified piece (and hides the wires/glue).

Paint a few of the leftover snakes for accessories!

Step 5: Optional Hair Accessory!

These instructions are for a clip-in snake for the back of your head.
  1. Using one of the extra snakes you spray painted in the previous step, punch holes in each of the "segments" on the underside of the snake.
  2. Thread a long piece of thin wire through the segments of the snake, leaving a few inches of wire free at the tail and head of the snake.
  3. Wrap each free end of the wire to a bobby pin.

Step 6: Finished + Costume Ideas!

Allow your crown to dry (it may take a few days for the smell to wear off) and you're finished!

Some tips to complete the costume...

  • If you have long hair, put it up in braids on either side of your head. Using bobby pins, pin the braids to the top of your head in a tiara-shape.
  • Clip the snake onto the back of your head for a subtle accent.
  • To match the gold of the crown, wear winding gold jewelry and gold makeup!
  • A plain black dress or grecian-style gown keeps the focus on the crown and keeps your costume simple and inexpensive!



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    17 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    This is a great instructable! I may use the snake concept for a sculpture I'm working on.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    This is wonderful! When I saw this I actually thought I was going to open up and find something made with a 3D printer! I love that this is something I could go to a dollar store get materials and make an amazing looking prop. Very very nicely done!

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you! I'm glad to hear that it ended up homogeneous enough to be similar to a 3D printed design!


    4 years ago

    so pretty. I love the look of the snake crown. and wow the jewelry is soo pretty

    Very impressive result - and you are right about the hair braids - they truly add to the overall effect. Nice Instructable!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I really love this! it's great! ... my sister is really afraid of tempted to make her one.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    AWESOME ! ! ! ! This is really good stuff. I really love those ibles where things are not created from scratch but cheap available materials, and make them awestruck.

    2 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks! I'm always disappointed when I click on a really neat looking project only to find that they use tools I'd never have access to.


    4 years ago

    Really cool concept! Much more interesting and classier take on Medusa than the usual fake-snakes-wound-through-the-hair method


    4 years ago

    Epic idea! Good use of plastic snakes!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    wow, super beautiful! this is really amazing, nice job.