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Creating dragons has become so much fun! You can make them look however you want because they are based in fantasy so your imagination has no limits.

I wanted to do a full post on the making of this dragon, but this could get quite lengthy, so I decided to do it in parts.

Once again I began with Dan Reeder’s book, Paper Mache Dragons for the basic body. After that, I like to play with different fabrics and techniques for a different style.Paper Mache DragonsMy dragons are only about 15 inches tall so it can be difficult working on the teeth for the mouth. I use Super Sculpey clay for the teeth and claws, but I find that they still break easily because they are so small. I will experiment on the next dragon to see if I can remedy this for minimal breakage.

IMG_1831_CCIMG_1829_CCI don’t add the tongue until I am almost finished with the dragon because I have a tendency to knock it out before I am finished.

Once the body parts are all assembled and posed, I add the jaws for his head.

IMG_1832_CCAs you can see I have already began to put the claws on the toes and started the process of the cloth mâché. Everything is pretty standard “Dan Reeder” so far.

IMG_1833_CCI didn’t do all the toes at the same time because they get in my way and I break them. Later you will see them covered for protection (didn’t matter, I still broke them anyway).

IMG_1834_CCNext, I moved on to creating the shape of the head.

IMG_1835_CCHere I used cotton cording dipped in white glue to shape under the eyes. At this point the eyes are just sitting there to give me an idea how to face them. The beak part of face, cheeks, and nose were created with toilet paper clay.

IMG_1836_CCOnce he was mostly covered with cloth, I set the eyes in and added brows and eyelids to hold them in. Once the cloth mâché is dry, I like to go over it with Spackle to smooth out edges in the cloth. I only do this on heads, feet, and lower legs. On this particular dragon I wanted to try a different texture, so I used tiny balls of air dry clay (Crayola) mashed over the skin. I then took a small paintbrush with water and shaped them.

IMG_1847_CCNext came adding the breast plates and scaling. I bought a cloth sheet at Goodwill, but I recommend it you do this, you find a very fine cloth. This fabric was muslin and I found it didn’t stay the way I put it on. I had to keep smoothing it out until it dried. Percale or a higher thread count fabric works much better.


To make the scales, I wanted to use a thicker fabric than sheets. I also wanted the scales to have a texture to them. In my stash, I had some polyester fabric that I thought might work. I also wanted to change the shape of the scales from the little triangle ones I used for Maleficent.


I painted the back of the fabric with white glue and when it was dry I cut out little scales using a Popsicle stick as a guide. One of the best scissors I have found for crafts has been a nail manicure one. I have used this scissor for many other projects, but it works wonders for cutting small curved edges.

IMG_1855_CC I started with the end of the tail and worked my way up. There must be hundreds of hand cut scales on this dragon. (What did I get myself into?)

IMG_1846_CCAt first, I started gluing them on with white glue, but they wouldn’t stay in place so I had to wrap bag ties around them. Then I found I could only do about two rows at a time. This was just going to take too long. Eventually I got out the glue gun and things moved more rapidly from there. The only problem you will have here (beside burning your fingers) is the strings of glue all over your dragon. If you remove them as you go, it is not so bad. I found later if I took an old dry toothbrush and brushed over the dragon, I could get most of them off.

IMG_1864_CCThe feet were textured the same way as the head with the air dry clay. Scales were added over that and then everything was painted with a white primer.

Now “Leo” is all scaled, primed, and ready for final paint.

IMG_1868_CCNext post I will finish him up with color, wings, horns, and fins! Please come back to see the final results!