2x thick black foam (about 1cm thick)
2x sparkly silver foam
2x sparkly turquoise foam
2x sparkly blue foam
1x sparkly red foam
Binder rings (around 40) or thick gauge wire
Fishing wire, needle, thimble
Approximate cost: $25
Step 1: Download and Cut Out Patterns
Download PNGs or Photoshop file (useful if you want to customize the design). Print the base pattern (PNG with gray lines) and the decorative pattern (PNG with multicolored lines). You will need two copies of the decorative pattern as the pieces on the dragon face overlap. Cut out all pattern pieces.
Step 2: Create Head Base
Cut out base pieces from thick gray foam. You will need two mirror images of the right and left side, the bottom of the jaw, and the upper and lower lips. Stitch all pieces together at right angles with fishing wire using a whip stitch, as shown in the photo (I forgot to take a photo of this step so the photo shows the bottom of the jaw on the completed headdress, revealing the base beneath the decorative pieces).
Step 3: Create Decorative Scale Pieces
Trace and cut out all scale pieces. You will need two mirror images of each piece for the left and right sides. Stitch pieces together with a whip stitch as shown in photo; hold pieces with back sides together as you stitch and then pull flat to give the shape to each segment.
Step 4: Assemble Decorative Scales on Head Base
Using masking tape, arrange and attach the scales to the foam base of the head. Stitch pieces around mouth using a straight stitch, as shown in photo. You may also want to add a couple stitches attaching each scale to the roof of the mouth.
Step 5: Hot Glue Eyes and Teeth
If you want to add scaly eyebrows, cut out the pattern (2x, mirror images) and hot glue the scales to the eyebrow bases, as shown. Hot glue scaly eyebrows above eyes.
Cut out the red eye, teeth, and red lip skin. Arrange them on the inside of the foam head using masking tape and then secure them with hot glue.
Step 6: Cut Out Tail Pieces
Trace and cut out scales and spine flares. For 11 tail sections as shown, I used 63 total scales (20-22 of each color).
Sew triangular portions of spine flares together, back to back, using fishing wire and a whip stitch. Flatten rectangular base portions; these will be used to attach the spine flare to the neck piece.
Cut black foam strips the same width as the spine flare as a base and arrange scales on strips, using masking tape to hold in place. I used thin foam for the base, but would recommend using a sturdier foam so the pieces hold their shape better (I may eventually reinforce mine with more foam).
Step 7: Assemble Tail Pieces
Stitch all scales onto the foam base using fishing wire and a straight stitch. Attach red spine flares to the base by stitching straight down the long side of the spine's rectangular base. Stitch base into a loop, and cut out the black foam pieces that are showing in between the scales (optional). Repeat for all tail pieces.
Stitch red pointed "tail club" (last piece of tail) together in a triangular shape, as shown, using a whip stitch.
Step 8: Assemble Tail From Pieces
Using binder clips (recommended) or heavy gauge wire, attach tail pieces together as shown. Attach pieces together with 2 clips at spine, and additional clips at 2 other points at the perimeter of the ring for stability.
Step 9: Optional: Add Lights
Attach battery powered Christmas lights to the roof of the mouth to make your dragon's eyes and teeth glow! My lights are not very bright so I am planning to upgrade them in the future. In addition, I may add angel hair gauge EL wire outlining the dragon in the future.
Step 10: Enjoy Headdress!
Wear your headdress at Carnaval, Halloween, or Burning Man (if you are going to Burning Man, either make the headdress with non-sparkly foam, or seal the sparkles with clear lacquer so you don't drop sparkles in the desert)!