Introduction: How to Make a Dragon Skull

I have to do a Dragon body paint next month and I wanted a nice interesting Headpiece. having very little money I thought I would make one.

here's how i made mine. It would probably be possible to make this into a mask too.

Step 1: The Design and Materials

I found this excellent illustration by McGibs and thought I would try and turn the two dimensional image into a 3 dimensional object.

I used standard A4 card stock (180 gsm)
A printer and computer
Glass-fibre layup resin
Masking tape
Isopon P38 (Bondo)
Sharp knives and scissors
A Dremel

Step 2: Preparing the Design

I used GIMP to remove all the horns and the face and lower jaw, then printed off 2 resized images onto the card stock.

These were then cut out, and I worked out where I wanted to cut and where I wanted to fold.
The two side were then glued together at the nose and the general shape and dimensions were worked out.

I used more card to fill the gaps, sticking them in with masking tape.

Step 3: Stiffening the Basic Structure

Once the basic card assembly was complete, I coated the inside with a layer of resin. Once cured I turned it over and added another layer of resin to the outside.

This was then set aside for a few hours to go solid.

Step 4: Adding the Texture

Once the resin had cured, I began coating it with P38 (Bondo).
I tried to get the thickness's to vary in line with the original drawing.

Once the P38 (Bondo) had hardened off, I used the Dremel with a rough sanding drum to smooth out the contours whilst keeping a slightly rough 'bone like' texture to it.

Finally i made the smaller horns from P38 (Bondo) and stuck them in place.

Step 5: First Paint Job

Since the original drawing is monochrome I had to decide on some colours. I went for yellow, brown and black.

The paint was applied with brush, sponge and airbrush. I sort of added a little of the patterns of the original drawing too.

Step 6: Making the Horns

I used exactly the same process for the main horns. I isolated them in GIMP, printed one off, flipped the images and printed the other.

Again I decided where to cut and where to fold, stuck the sections with masking tape and twisted and pulled until I had a pleasing shape.

I then coated both sides of each horn with resin and allowed to dry.

Step 7: Test Fit and Texture

After test fitting the horns I again coated them in P38 (Bondo) but only where the scales would go.

these were then sanded back to give them more definition.

Step 8: Final Assembly and Painting

The horns were glued into place using the P38 (Bondo) which ensured the gaps were well filled.

A small amount of sanding and then they were painted to match the skull. Some minor brushwork details for the gold bands and the skull is complete.

Step 9: Supplemental

I needed a way of getting this thing on and off my model.
i mounted the skull on an old baseball cap with the brim cut to fit the jaw.

Couldn't get the flight feathers in time so I've used the old tried and tested pipe lagging foam to make a frill. It needs eyes and some final paint touches, but should be OK

Finished now ....


marshon made it!(author)2010-09-16

For those of our colonial brethrin who are confused about the resin and filler used here. Go onto your respective ebay sites. For the liquid resin try searching for

glassfiber resin - returned about 170 results in the US - it's a liquid

For the paste filler try searching for

auto body filler - returned LOADS of responses - it's a paste or putty

Both are generally polyester resin based and may even use the same hardener. In the UK the hardener is a red paste allowing a visual check on the colur to ensure an even mix.

Isopon and Bondo are brand names.

sweetnienna made it!(author)2010-09-16

Thank you for these informations
Very useful ! ^_^

your project is simply awesome
hope you do some more of them :D

Lou211 made it!(author)2017-06-10

Hey, I sent you a private message yesterday. I am not sure if it was shipped. I would be glad if you can contact me soon.
Best regards

hvargas made it!(author)2011-07-20

how much did this cost to make?

marshon made it!(author)2011-07-20

Oh, I don't think I've ever tried to calculate it.

Two sheets of A4 card - pennies
Half a cup of resin - Less than a pound
Glue - Less than a pound
Bondo / P38 filler - less than 5 pounds
Lagging - 1 pound
Paint - pennies

Materials = 8 pounds

Electric? - 2 pounds

My labour - 6 hours @ £35.00 per hour = £210.00

Total cost to make = £220.00

talexsey made it!(author)2016-10-12

why should we buy it for 20$ if we can do it for ourselves for 200$? :-D

The+cloud+1808 made it!(author)2016-02-29


Bochiechio made it!(author)2015-07-14

Nice work! I especially like the paint job you gave it, really makes it pop. I've been eyeing the same illustration as a prop, except I'm going to make mine out of clay with a silicone mold and cast it with flexible urethane foam.

sg13NHarri made it!(author)2015-06-23

I was just wondering. How did you get the template so it would fit an actual head (I'm currently about to attempt both the top and bottom jaw).

nikitakristinaporter made it!(author)2015-01-08

I only just stumbled across this and all I can say is WOW!!!!and I love the fact that you are in the UK sometimes tutorials are a pain when it comes to the materials list! Thanks for such a fantastic tutorial! (kind of glad I bought the hubby a dremel for xmas ;) )

KatieLawter made it!(author)2013-09-21

That is noiiiiiiiice.

Ark_Angel made it!(author)2013-08-02

hey man this is pretty cool and i want to try to make this, is there some kind of stencil or something you have to make the right shape

aliceilot made it!(author)2013-06-11

what about the jaw or might i ask for a stencil download or something i think this is really cool look to it

graciepickle made it!(author)2012-09-17


Wolfess made it!(author)2012-05-27

Would using sheets of colored card stock prove any sort of problem for this? I know it's going to be painted, but I'm looking at the materials I've got now and just wanted to be sure before I jump into this.

Your panting job is phenomenal, by the way.

poofrabbit made it!(author)2012-04-21

Wow I found this looking at a recently posted instructable and this came up in a related search and I'm so glad it did! This is FANTASTIC! I'm brainstorming now how I can create my own before Halloween. Well done!!

Defy13 made it!(author)2011-01-11

I can get the resin no problem as for the bondo... there is bondo "light" bodyfiller for $10 or "gold" for 17... Will there be any difference in the quality?
Also will an x-acto knife (box cutter) be fine?

marshon made it!(author)2011-01-12

As to the Bondo, I have no idea of the differences since I don't use Bondo here in the UK. You'll have to try them and see, but I doubt that there would be much in it if it's marketed as car body filler it should work.

An X-Acto scalpel should do fine, and I'd keep a box cutter handy as well. It will all depend on your skill with a knife, however so make sure that they are SHARP, it's actually less dangerous.

doomsdayltd made it!(author)2011-07-06

hell, u can use sugru works just as good :D

Defy13 made it!(author)2011-01-12

Thanks for the reply. Just wondering but how long did it take you to finish and what would you suggest I use to wear it? Mount it on a hat like you or a headband or?

kryzantema made it!(author)2011-07-05

Hi! I've been eyeballing this for a while now, since I've had giant ideas about making a similar headdress. Excited to stumble onto your work-- the bondo and resin over paper idea is pretty clever.

A few questions, though: my original scheme was to have an animal skull over top, with feathers and fake dreadlocks sewn in the back, which means it'd probably wind up getting fairly heavy back there. How do you have the baseball cap adhered to the skull, and (at an estimate) would it hold up to more weight? And stay on? My biggest frustration thus far is just getting a substantial enough base going, as I've never done a project like this before. Hrmm. I also had a few strange ideas involving the headband from a welding hood, making a plaster mold with a skull (potentially nightmarish) and filling with "great stuff" foam, rigging wire from a coathanger and chicken wire.... blah blah. Sigh.

marshon made it!(author)2011-07-05

A baseball cap can hold a fair amount of weight. Try using hot melt glue to stick stuff to it. I made a Giger inspired headdress usihg this method. Alternatively check out my Armour Mask 'ible. It shows you how to make a simple dome of card for the head support. Pretty similar to a welding mask frame.

T-Hawke made it!(author)2011-06-23

Simply Awesome. I admire your dedication to work this all out with cardstock. I was wondering if you could do something like this with ShapeLock ? More expensive I am sure for the quantity needed but may give a stronger foundation .

Sorry just thinking out loud. Great Job! Love the Paint Job. Bet when the feathers are on, it will even look better.

If you haven't heard of ShapeLock, I included a link below.

Search for ShapeLock.

Also: - look at the "Uses" section.

marshon made it!(author)2011-06-24

Thanks for the link, and no Shapelock wouldn't work for this method. The resin actually SOAKS into the cardboard and the body filler goes off rock hard so it can be sanded to shape later.

Just as an example, 500 gms at $25 bucks is way more expensive than using auto resin / filler. Being in the UK I don't use any brand name products in my work so I couldn't say if the Shapelock would bind correctly to the resin anyway.

Don%2Ct+try+this+at+home made it!(author)2010-12-21

This is awesome can you tell me the length with and hight of this im gonna try to make it out of wood then metal and i need to know how big of a block of wood to get.

TekoMuto made it!(author)2010-11-29

beautiful :3

D00M99 made it!(author)2010-11-14

Where did the very front hole come from?

marshon made it!(author)2010-11-14

Er? From the original image, I just drilled it through.

D00M99 made it!(author)2010-11-15

I see.

D00M99 made it!(author)2010-11-14

Could you elaborate on where you folded and stuff?

marshon made it!(author)2010-11-14

I cut and folded using the lines between the scales. Trial and error method.

D00M99 made it!(author)2010-11-14

What's that piece that goes across the bottom of the skull? What's it for?

marshon made it!(author)2010-11-14

It's a piece of tape to hold the shape until the resin has set. Then I removed it.

minininja24 made it!(author)2010-11-11

sick! that is sooooo cool!

sarcosis_machina made it!(author)2010-11-04

wonderful project. I just have a few questions relating to this instructable.

1. what were the size ratios that you used when you resized the image in the GIMP editing program? further, how did you calculate the measurements for the skull pattern?

2. in place of card stock like you mentioned, would white posterboard work? if poasterboard wouldn't work, what'd be a better material to use?

marshon made it!(author)2010-11-07

1. Trial and error, I set the size to print on A4 at the biggest that would all fit on the page. I did measure my own head and then related it to the face on the original drawing.

2. Nope posterboard would be too thick to get the bending and shaping right. I used thin card so that I could get it into shape easily. Once the resin goes on it becomes very strong and stable ready for the other operations.

Jon316 made it!(author)2010-10-15

For very little things you use to make fantastic art awesome

marshon made it!(author)2010-10-15

Thank you.

chrisalis made it!(author)2010-09-21

That is just way cool. And just in time for Halloween (if you're into that) Great instructable.

marshon made it!(author)2010-10-15


neckrochylde9 made it!(author)2010-10-05

super cool!

marshon made it!(author)2010-10-15

Thank you.

Jon316 made it!(author)2010-10-15

Are you planing to make the lower jaw to

marshon made it!(author)2010-10-15

No, have a look through the other comments on this 'ible and the reasons are given.

FrozenIce made it!(author)2010-10-13

what is GIMP is it like phoam board???

marshon made it!(author)2010-10-13

No it's an image manipulation program similar to photoshop

michaelgohjs made it!(author)2010-10-09

huhu i am the 16000th viewer

Kaiven made it!(author)2010-10-06

So awesome. Inspires me to use some of my sheet metal.

marshon made it!(author)2010-10-06

A metal Dragon Skull? wow! That really would be cool.

Kaiven made it!(author)2010-10-07

Hmm... maybe not... because my mom hates dragons.
But a cow skull... that would look awesome and would be a great addition to my CCK metal armor :D

About This Instructable




Bio: Untidy, disorganised and a bit silly. I am a photographer, artist, body artist, sculptor, prosthetic maker, model engineer, and general idiot who likes making stuff ... More »
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