With The Hobbit coming out soon, I have had dragons on the brain! First I drew a sketch of what I wanted my dragon to look like to have a very rough idea of how to mold him.
I decided to put a very basic wire structure on the inside of my dragon so that he would hold his shape a little better. I literally just formed a small loops of wire for his head, body, tail, wings, and two front legs. The head, body and tail were one continuous piece of wire, the legs and wings were added separately. In retrospect I should have made wire back legs as well, but oh well!
I began by needle felting the body and head onto the wire structure, then felted the front legs onto the wire structure. Afterwards, I separately shaped the back legs and attached them to the main body. Essentially the process used with needle felting is just adding more and more wool a little at a time by continuously poking it with a felting needle. The wool gets more dense and tighter as you work, thus ultimately your wool roving goes from a shapeless mass to something more mold-able. Depending on the size of your sculpture, this can take hours and hours. I made this dragon over the course of about two days while hanging out with family, and I poked myself in the fingers many times.
For the wings I added detail to a cut piece of flat white felt, then needle-felted that onto the wire structure. This was probably the most time consuming and tedious part of the process.
Finally, I inserted glass eyes and felted the eye lids into shape. I was happy with the final result, and my husband received a handmade gift!