Introduction: Duct Tape Dragon Puppet

A little duct tape, cardboard, tape, pingpong balls, and LEDs make a terrific oversized dragon hand puppet. Duct tape has a nice sheen for dragon scales but a little antiquing adds the proper primeval appearance.

Included is a printable pattern for this dragon.


Red, yellow, white, and black duct tape
poster board
masking tape
2 ping pong balls
acrylic black and brown paint

Light up eyes

2 - 1 watt LEDs 
1 - LM317T voltage regulator
1 - 4 ohm 1/2 watt resistor
wire, blank PCB, case, 9V battery, switch, RTV cement

Step 1: Cardboard Mouth

Download and print out the patterns. They are laid out on a 2 inch grid so you can tape them together and cut them out.

Layout, cut and fold the inside mouth from sheet 5.

Step 2: Posterboard Body

Cut out all of the other body parts from the pattern and lay them out on the posterboard.

Bend and tape them together for the face and neck as shown in the pictures above.

The lower jaw of the mouth should have clearance to open and close as a proper hand puppet.

Step 3: Duct Tape Scales

Scales are a bit labor-intensive but the 3d effect is worth the effort. Fold with exposed adhesive, cut with x-acto, and apply.

The yellow neck and under-jaw were just overlapped layered strips.

The face was done in overlapping strips covered in cutout pieces. The painting made these show well.

Cover every visible surface.

Step 4: Painting

The finished dragon, even with handmade scales still was too flat. So some embellishment with acrylic paints made things properly dragon-y.

Step 5: LED Eyes

For extra zing, I added a bright LED in each pingpong ball eye. 1 watt red LEDs from on a heatsink. I also used an LM317 in current limiting mode to keep the LEDs running happily with a wide range of battery voltage. 

A throat lozenge tin with a junkbox switch and  a tiny hand wired PCB to plug in all the wires velcroed next to your hand inside on the mouth.

I drilled and glued the pingpong balls to the LED len with some Permatex 26B. Make sure the seam on the pingpong ball is not visible.

Paint the pupil with a nice dragon eye.

Cardboard and Duct Tape Contest

Runner Up in the
Cardboard and Duct Tape Contest