Introduction: How to Make a GIANT Cardboard Dragon in 7 Easy Steps (with Pictures)

Have you ever dreamed of owning a pet dragon? Well, now's your chance! Whether you're looking for a fun project or just bored around the house, making a cardboard dragon is an EASY and FUN project to do!


  1. Lots of Cardboard!
  2. Scissors and/or Box Cutter
  3. Perforated Drain Pipe (optional)
  4. Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks
  5. Rocks or Clay (for teeth)
  6. Two Marbles or Buttons (for eyes)
  7. Spray paint (any color)

Step 1: Collect Cardboard!

To make anything out of cardboard, the first step is to collect LOTS of boxes. I tend to go to my local grocery store and ask for cardboard boxes. You could also check the recycling centers or simply save up any cardboard boxes you have around the house.

You will also need to form a base, or skeleton, for your dragon. I used a perforated drainage pipe as the base of my dragon though you could use cardboard as well.

Step 2: Model the "Skeleton" of Your Dragon

Here is where you can be really creative! In this step, you will model the base of your dragon—don't worry about how "nice" or good-looking it is, you will cover this with scales!

I used a perforated drain pipe as the "backbone" of my dragon. Since this pipe can bend and stretch, I thought it was perfect for making an Asian Lung Dragon, or draco orientalis.

In this step, you should also model the legs and head of the dragon.

To model the head, you will want to cut out basic shapes. For the snout, cut out two rectangles, bend the top one a bit and glue it down to the other rectangle. For the main part of the head, I used a smaller box and glued it to the snout. Lastly, for the crown part of the head, I took another smaller box and glued it to the rest of the head. To make the bottom jaw, cut out a rectangle and round off the corners, then glue one end of it to the rest of the head.

Next, to model the legs, cut out a rectangle from the cardboard and roll it into a cylinder. Glue the cylinder together with your hot glue gun. Attach each leg to the desired location on the body of the dragon. For the feet, I cut out small rectangles and rolled the cardboard. I glued four rolled "toes" onto a flat piece of cardboard. I then cut that piece of flat cardboard to fit around the cylinder "leg" that is already attached to the body.

For the tail, I simply rolled a piece of card and glued it to form a tip.

Step 3: Cut Scales! Lots of Scales...

This step is probably the most time consuming... but it is a great step to do while watching TV or listening to a podcast. You will want varying size scales, but all scales should be a half circle shape.

For the legs and tail, you will want to cut out smaller scales—roughly 1/2 inch big.

For the body, you will want larger scales—ranging from 1 inch to 2 inches big.

Step 4: GLUE!

Once you have cut out lots of scales, the next step is to glue those scales on!

Taking your hot glue gun, grab a scale and dab some glue on it. Stick the scale onto the dragon. You will want to start laying scales starting from the tip of the tail, then work your way towards the head. Remember to use smaller scales for the tail and legs.

Wrap each scale around the base, or "skeleton", of the dragon. Layer reach row by slightly overlapping the row you have just completed. Step 3 has an image of layered scales.

Step 5: Spray Paint

Once you have fully scaled your dragon, the next step is to choose a color of spray paint.

I chose white paint for my dragon, but you can use any color of spray paint.

Lay down an old tablecloth or sheet and place the cardboard dragon on it. In a well-ventilated room (or go outside), spray the entire dragon with your spray paint.

Let the paint dry. Depending on the brand, it can take anywhere from 20 - 60+ minutes to dry.

Once dry, grab some red or pink acrylic paint and a paint brush. Then paint the inside of the dragon's mouth.

Step 6: Teeth, Tongue, and Eyes

In this step, we will make the teeth, tongue, and eyes for your dragon.

For the teeth, you can either use pointy, canine teeth-shaped rocks or model the teeth out of clay. If you are using rocks, be sure that the rocks are not too heavy, or the they will weigh the dragon's head down.

For my dragon, I actually used a mixture of both clay and rocks. If you are going to model teeth out of clay, you can choose either air-drying clay or oven baked: be sure to use white clay unless you want to paint the clay.

Once you have chosen your rocks or modeled your clay, arrange the teeth how you would like.

If you haven't painted the mouth red or pink yet, feel free to do so now. Once the paint is dry, take your hot glue gun an glue in the teeth. You can paint the teeth white before or after you glue them in.

Next, we will model the tongue. You can use cardboard or wire or paper. For my dragon, I used some jewelry wire and modeled the tongue. Next, I used a red foam sheet and wrapped it around my wire base. I then glued down the foam onto the wire. Once you are satisfied with your dragon's tongue, go ahead and glue it into the back of the mouth.

The last part in this step is to find some buttons or marbles for your dragon's eyes. I used two eye buttons that are made for sewing stuffed animals.

Go ahead a glue the eyes where you would like them.

Step 7: Final Touches

Yay! If you made it to this step, you dragon is almost complete!!

In this step, feel free to add any accessories you would like, such as paint details, different scales, horns, feathers, or claws.

For my dragon, I cut out some backbone scales and glued them onto the dragon. I then painted the backbone scales green. I also glued feathers onto the tail and headpiece. Next, I added some horns, which I made out of hot glue and wire.

Be creative! Add other accessories and comment what you have done to your dragon!

Congratulations! You have made your very own pet dragon!

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