Introduction: Vicious Paper Mache Dragon Mount

About: Help! I can't stop making things!

Who doesn't want a vicious beast hanging on their wall? Nobody, that's who! Dragons are fierce, fiery, dangerous, and super cool beheaded! (Too weird?) This walkthrough will show you how to create a big dragon from scratch, start to finish. I'll show you how to create teeth, jaws, horns, eyes, snow and mounts. Soon you'll have a great mountain creature in no time.

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*All materials are listed at the beginning of each step.

(Currently being edited)'

Step 1: Sketching/Planning Out Your Creation

A good idea for most projects is to get your ideas onto paper. It helps you visualize what you're creating. For this project, you'll need a profile (side) drawing/picture and a head-on (or facing forward) drawing/picture. This is so you have something to look back on while you're working.

If you're a perfectionist like me (we're not perfectionists, its just everything has to be perfect!) you probably want to make a list of all the steps you'll be doing. Or, just look at this instructable, because, ya'know, it is an instructable.

Step 2: Building Da Beast


  • Scissors


  • Masking tape

The first step for building any kind of paper mache creation is making the base.

First, take sheets of newspaper and roll them into balls.Then tape the shape with masking tape. Repeat this process several times, until you have a few newspaper balls. Then, tape the balls together to create the shape you want. Then tape that shape together so it's sturdy. Do this for the head and neck until you have what you're looking for.

Step 3: Paper Mache Technique, Squidward, Technique!


  • Measuring Cup
  • Whisk
  • Oven
  • Bowl


  • Newspaper
  • Flour
  • Water

Now, for paper mache:

  1. Tear strips so they have ragged edges. Doing this will ensure the piece looks like a single piece, more natural. Make more than you think you need.
  2. For the paper mache mixture, it always depends on your preference. I like a little more water than flour, so it's the consistency of honey.
  3. To start out, use 1 1/2 cup of water, and 1 cup of flour, and stir until completely combined. If too watery, add flour, if too dry, add water. If it has too many lumps, wait 30 minutes and the lumps should disintegrate.

Here's how to apply the strips:

  1. Dip your hands into the mixture (coating the palms)
  2. Slather the paste onto a strip until it's saturated
  3. Fold the piece over and place it on your surface, being sure to press down on it so it sticks.
  4. Repeat

For maximum strength fold it over again. 8 layers is the minimum for a big creature like this. It will take a long time to dry, so you may want to put it in the oven. If you do that, leave it in with the light on, but NO HEAT. The paper mache may catch on fire. When it's dry, move onto the next step.

Step 4: Jaws (Dun Dun Dun...)


  • Serrated knife
  • Sculpty clay roller

  • Parchment paper
  • Baking sheet
  • Oven
  • Paper towel/washcloth
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun


  • Polymer clay (in numerous colors):

  • Aluminum foil
  • Paint
  • Dark Wax:

  • Hot glue
  • Cloth
  • White glue

  • Water

Our poor dragon's gotta eat! He'll need some serious jaws. Let's get our paper mache head and neck from earlier. To create the jaws, we need to cut the head open. (AH!)

For jaws:

  1. Draw a wavy line around the head's diameter.
  2. Using a serrated knife, cut along the line.
  3. Pull the shells apart, and pull the newspaper out.
  4. Pick one shell to be the upper jaw, and one to be the lower jaw.

For the neck:

  1. Cut off the rounded top
  2. Cut off the rounded bottom.
  3. Pull the newspaper out.

Step 5: Teethers



Now for the best part of the dragon: The teeth! These bad boys can rip into anything: armor, horses, castles, so they better be pretty cool. Believe it or not, teeth aren't that hard to make. I used translucent (1.4 ounces) and silver (4 ounces) polymer clay for this dragon's teeth, but you can use any colors you want. If you don't want to warm all that clay up with your hands, use a clay roller.

To create teeth/assemble them:

  • Take a small bit of your mixed clay and roll it into a ball.
  • Place the ball in the palm of your hand.
  • Angle your other hand and press it against one side of the ball
  • Move the angled hand back and forth, elongating the ball
  • Give the ball the sharp point by pinching it.
  • Get a metal baking pan and place parchment paper on it
  • Lay out your teeth and bake according to manufactures directions
  • OR, using aluminum foil, make a tooth shape.
  • Wrap clay around the tooth, covering all foil.
  • Bake that the same way.
  • Rev up a hot-glue gun and glob some where you want the tooth.
  • Stick the tooth on and wait for it to cool.
  • Repeat the gluing and tooth adding.

Step 6: Cloth Mache


  • Paper towel/washcloth


Dragons aren't just big hunks'a bones! They have gums, ridges, and skin. So we're going to re-create that with cloth and white glue. Sounds crazy, but this cloth-mache dries hard and holds excellent detail. Make sure you have thin fabric (like bed cloth). Thick fabric won't work as well or work at all.

To create the skin:

  • Cover the jaws in cloth, marking the edges with marker.
  • Cut the cloth out.
  • Drench the cloth in glue until saturated. (The more, the better.)
  • Twist, shape and manipulate it so it has as many wrinkles as possible, or just until you like the way it looks.(I did this step backward on accident, but it still looks pretty cool.)
  • Take a small stip of saturated cloth, fold in in half and loop it around a tooth. Make sure the ends of the cloth are on the outside of the jaw.
  • Repeat for all teeth.
  • Wait until dry.
  • Paint jaws your desired color.

Dragon's don't have shiny new teeth, however. So we need to weather this guy to give him a more realistic look. To do this, we need to take some black paint and dilute it with water. (2 parts water 1 part paint.) Dip your brush in the mixture, then paint as normal, but after painting, WIPE IT AWAY with a paper towel. This may seem counterintuitive, but it actually adds contrast. Do this to the jaws and teeth, and to take it a step further use dark wax.

Step 7: Avengers, Assemble!


  • Knife


  • Masking tape
  • Duct tape
  • Newspaper
  • Aluminum foil
  • Thick wire

We're finally starting to bring this guy together!

  1. Get your lower jaw and neck shell
  2. Shove the jaw into the shell (literally, just pick it up and jam it into the neck. Tilt it at an angle, like a lizard's lower jaw would look when opened.)
  3. Tape it heavily so it stays in the position you want.
  4. Get your top jaw and your wire.
  5. Bend the wire into a U shape. (We're using this to connect the top jaw to the neck shell.)
  6. On the top jaw, make knife inserts where you want the wire to go.
  7. On the neck shell, make knife inserts where you want the wire to go.
  8. Stab the wire through the top jaw and loop it through the neck shell.
  9. Take the two leftover ends sticking out of the neck shell and tie them together tightly.
  10. Tape the lower jaw and neck shell heavily.

Step 8: Let's B-B-Bulk UP!


  • Hot glue gun


  • Hot glue
  • Aluminum foil
  • Masking tape
  • Newpaper

He doesn't look like a dragon right now, so we need to beef him up. (He's not big, he's just big boned!)

To give the dragon shape (note, this is how the dragon gets super heavy. If you'd prefer a lighter, slinky dragon, skip this step.)

  • Wad up sheets of newsaper and place them onto the dragon
  • Tape the wads onto the dragon, wrapping around it with tape.
  • Add more, and more, and more until it's the size you want. For a more precise, carved shape, use aluminum foil.

To make nostrils,

  • Crumpe up balls of aluminum foil, about the size of an orange.
  • Stick your thumb into the middle and drag down, so to flatten one side.
  • Hot glue the nostrils onto the snout of the dragon.

Step 9: Eye See You...


  • Printer
  • (Or paint brush and paint if painting)


  • A computer

Dragon eyes are the last thing a Knight sees, so they better be pretty cool.

(You can use the eyes above for your project if you don't feel like drawing them.)

Here is how I painted the eyes digitally:

  1. A light blue circle
  2. Dark blue edges around the circle, blurred
  3. Small squiggly strokes of bright blue
  4. More strokes
  5. The strokes are blurred
  6. Edges are darkened and middle is highlighted
  7. Edges are darkened again, pupil is drawn
  8. A small, blurred white circle on pupil
  9. Darker blue strokes are added and blurred
  10. Contrast and brightness is increased

Use the pictures above if you want a low-down of how to draw dragon eyes digitally, or just handpaint them. (included above) Once you're done, print the eyes on cardstock.

Step 10: All Seeing Eye...


  • Paintbrush
  • Scissors


Use nail polish to add more dimension, depth, and sparkles. Then seal it with a clear coat when it's dry.

After drying completely,

  • Glob a good dallop of E-6000 onto your glass blanks.
  • Push the blanks onto the painted eyes, pushing hard to remove air bubbles.
  • Let the E-6000 cure until the excess around the eyes is hardened. (or 40 minutes.)

Using this technique, when you walk around the dragon, its eyes follow you. (Sp00ky!)

Step 11: Horns


  • Scissors
  • Sandpaper


  • Aluminum foil
  • Magic Sculp

Our dragon is already pretty big, but to make him HUGE, we need horns. And lots of them.

We want small, detailed horns on our sculpture. For this, we'll use Magic Sculp. If you've never heard of this amazing sculpting material, you're in for a treat. Magic Sculp is a two-part resin (hardener and resin). It dries in 30-60 minutes, rock solid and smooth. It is as strong as plastic, so you can throw it on the ground and it won't break. It is a bit pricey, but it's totally worth it.

To create our horns:

  • We'll need a golf-ball size of each part.
  • After mixing the MS, create aluminum foil horns (another base.)
  • Cover the foil horns just like the newspaper horns.
  • Roll the horns on sandpaper for texture.
  • Wait for them to dry, then set them aside.

When they are dry (or cured), feel free to sand them if they aren't sharp enough for your liking.

Step 12: Cloth Horns


  • Scissors


  • Newspaper
  • Cloth
  • White glue

Just like step 1, we need a base for our horns. Create the horns the same way, but make them sharp like the teeth. But the next step isn't so close to step 1, so read closely.

  • Take your cloth and measure it to the size of the horn.
  • Cut it out.
  • Drench your cloth in glue, working it in your hands to make sure it's covered all the way.
  • Cover your horn, shaping it to give it wrinkles.
  • Wait 24 hours for the horns to dry completely, making sure no sides are stuck to your work surface.

When dry:

  • Take scissors and separate the cloth layer and newspaper layer.
  • Cut up the side to the top.
  • Peel the newspaper out (be careful if you want to use it again.)
  • Hot glue the cut side so it looks whole again

And you're done! Just do that 30 more times and you'll be done. I used this technique to make the tongue as well

Step 13: Support and Mounting


  • Drill
  • Vice
  • Sandpaper
  • Saw (unless you own a premade mount)
  • Pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Pick punch


  • Plywood
  • Thick wire
  • Drill bits
  • Shelf bracket
  • Construction tie/plate
  • Self-Tapping screws
  • Wood screws
  • Hook

(Bear with me on this one, I know it's a lot.) You can buy a premade mount online, or you can build your own mount using any solid wood or plywood. Make sure that the wood's thickness is at least 3/4 inch or thicker and is free of knots. The quality of the finish on the raw ply is up to the maker, as you may be painting, antiquing and embellishing the mount for your final touches. Choose the shape and the size of the mount based on how much of a "frame" you want around the neck. This sculpture is VERY heavy toward the front and requires extra support to make sure it doesn't pull itself off its own mount. In this case, the mount has been cut in a diamond to accommodate a large shelf bracket.

For smaller, more balanced sculptures, I recommended following the steps in Dan Reeder's: "Paper Mache Dragons: Making Dragons & Trophies using Paper & Cloth Mache." (Purchase it here: He is the true paper mache master! Please note I have no personal connections with Dan Reeder.)

Remember, the hardware required to display your final project needs to be larger and stronger than your average portrait nail or screw. Using a 1/2 inch drill bit, drill a hole in the mount about 3-4 inches from the top, centered. The larger and heavier the sculpture, the larger this hole (and drill bit) need to be. 1/2 inch is probably the largest bit you'll ever need.

  1. You will be using a shelf bracket to connect the sculpture to the mount. Find one that extends farthest into the neck (from the back) without extending into the mouth.
  2. A flat construction strong tie/plate will act as main support. Make sure this one is wide enough to fit inside the neck. Using a vice, gently bend the plate to fit the curve of the inside top of the neck.
  3. Using any self -tapping metal screws, attach the strong tie to one end of the bracket. You will need a powerful drill for this, and the vice to hold it. Mind the exposed screw tips on the underside...they are SHARP.Drill two more holes in the bracket to provide more wire attachments.
  4. Using wire cutters or tin snips, cut wire hangers into 4-6 straight 10-12 inch pieces.
  5. Time to attach the support! Place the support unit back into the neck. Hold the back of the shelf bracket to test the strength. It will hold, but wobble a little side to side. Using a pick punch, or a large, long nail, punch holes (from the outside, in) into the paper mache layers, roughly lining up with the holes in the bracket arm and the strong tie. You may want to mark the holes to make relocating them for threading easier.
  6. Bend one piece of wire into a long "U". Locate the first set of punch holes on the outside. Thread the wire down into the neck, line the wire up with the bracket holes and thread into the holes. You may need to feel for them as they come through, be careful, they could be sharp. Do the same with the next set of holes and the holes in the strong tie. Note, the strong tie has so many holes in it that lining up the wire with a specific set of holes is unnecessary, so just locate any holes and thread 2- more "U" wires through those points. Mind the exposed screws when threading through the strong tie/plate.
  7. Turn the head over. Using a gloved hand or needlenosed pliers, twist those wires to tighten the support onto/into the headpiece. A couple of turns will do. Turn back upright to test the strength. The wobble should be gone if it is tight enough. You will see slight indentations on the outside as you tighten these (...will look like really big staples) These will be covered up later. Turn back over and poke the left-over wire ends into the wall layers. These will also serve to stabilize the head.
  8. To attach the head and support unit to the mount, you just have to pretend like you are installing a shelf! The screws will be inserted from the front to the back. Use wood screws that will sink completely into, but not go through your plywood mount. Not only will you attach the one easily reached outside screw (at the diamond point), but you will be reaching into the mouth (mind the sharps from the strong tie plate!!!!) to attach the remaining two screws.
  9. Now that the head and mount are one, test on a heavy screw or hook attached to a scrap of plywood. Make sure it is secure, as you will be using this like an easel for the remainder of your project.

Step 14: Wood Abuse (The Horror!)


  • Hammer
  • Chains
  • Scratchy thing
  • Sandpaper

Your next steps will be to decorate the mount to match your color-scheme or sculpture theme. I thought a beat up, gritty mount would suit this big guy. I created this effect by scraping the paint with sandpaper, a hammer, and basically anything that could beat it up.

Step 15: Cloth Mache and Assembly


  • Scissors
  • Safety pins
  • Hot glue gun


  • Hot glue
  • Cloth
  • White glue

This beast needs some flesh! Right now he's nothing but newspaper. Let's change that! We'll be using the same cloth mache techniques we used from the Horn step.

For the mouth inside:

  1. Cut a trapezoid shape in cloth
  2. Repeat
  3. Cut a square in cloth
  4. Drench the shapes in glue until saturated
  5. Place the trapezoids on each side of the jaws crease (where it ends), and place the square in the back of the mouth and hold with safety pins
  6. Manipulate them until you like the way they look
  7. Wait for them to dry.

For the scaly lips:

  1. Take your cloth and wrap it around the top jaw. Mark where the jaw ends on both sides.
  2. Be sure you can fold the cloth in half, cut the cloth out and repeat for the lower jaw.
  3. Drench the strips in glue until saturated and fold them in half.
  4. Place the lips onto the jaw, holding them in place with safety pins.
  5. Manipulate them until you like the way they look.
  6. Wait for them to dry.

Step 16: Part Assembly!


  • Scissors
  • Safety pins
  • Hot glue gun


  • Hot glue
  • Cloth
  • White glue

I wanted to give him some raised scale textures. Here's how I achieved that:

For the skin:

  1. Just cut random shapes
  2. Drench in glue
  3. Cover the newspaper
  4. Cut small triangles, drench in glue and apply like scales.
  5. Wait to for it to dry.

Assembly requires a lot of hot-glue. And patience. But mostly hot glue.

  1. Gather all your horns.
  2. Mark where you want them to go with a marker.
  3. Cut them down to size (at an angle for a more natural effect.)
  4. Glue the marker area
  5. Gently place the horn, then apply pressure.
  6. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Note that asymmetrical things look more interesting than perfectly symmetrical things, so be sure your dragon isn't matchy-matchy on both sides.)

For the eye ridges, simply crumple aluminum foil into two snakes (the top bigger than bottom) and glue them on. Then crumple foil for the back of the eyes, glue that onto the eye itself, and glue that in-between the foil snakes. Then cover with cloth. To give the skin texture, move your hot glue gun over it hastily, gently pressing the trigger. This should form dots, grooves, waves and more. They will be far more detailed once painted.

Step 17: Magic Sculpt Details


  • Sharp object for sculpting
  • Hot glue gun


  • Magic Sculp
  • Hot glue

Our trusty friend Magic Sculp is back!

We'll use him to create eye detail:

  1. Roll a two snakes of MS out, making sure one is bigger.
  2. Place the smaller snake under the eye.
  3. Place the bigger snake over the eye
  4. Sculpt wrinkles with any kind of pointy tool.

And smaller horns, the same way we sculpted teeth. Glue these on with hot glue.

Step 18: Glitterati Scales


  • Paintbrush
  • Bowl


  • Glitter
  • Paint

Finally, some painting! There are three painting steps in this tutorial. The first is dark painting. This is to prevent any white from peeking through and to give it a nice painting base. We are adding a few more scales, but you'll be surprised by how easy they are to make. All you need is glitter and paint.

  1. Take 2 parts glitter and one part paint. Be sure the paint is thick.
  2. Mix it together with a brush. It should be thick enough to scoop out.
  3. Rub the glitter onto blank, boring skin. Use a bright color of paint so it stands out.

Step 19: Dark (Knight) Painting


  • Paintbrush


With most great paintings, we need an undercoat. This is just a simple black coat of paint. When we add our detail colors, they'll really pop, and we won't see any white surfaces.

  1. Cover the eyes in glue (so they won't be painted)
  2. Tape the mouth with newspaper and tape.
  3. grab a spray can of a dark color. (I used black.)
  4. Spray white areas, making sure to get into cracks and crevices.
  5. Wait for it to dry.

Our dragon is looking quite evil now, oh no! (Unless that's what you're going for, oh yes!)

Step 20: Detail Painting


  • Paintbrush
  • Bowl


  • Paint
  • Metallic paint

  • Paper towel
  • Water

The second part of this tutorial's painting will make your dragon a dragon. I wanted dark, icy colors for this one, so I used blue, light blue, pearl and black. The technique we're using for this step is called dry-brushing. I think you can guess what it is. Simply dip a brush in paint, get most of the paint off, and drag it over raised surfaces.

I started with the light blue, then used metallic blue, then pearl, then black, cleaning my brushes with every new color. Then I used a fine brush to add small dots for scales.

But all those bright colors don't look super realistic, so we're going to weather what we just did. This is the same method as the teeth. Paint with diluted black paint, then quickly wipe away with a paper towel. This leaves a nice contrast.

Step 21: The Weather Outside Is Frightful...


  • Paintbrush
  • Bowl


This is literally the same step as with the teeth earlier, just on dragon skin.

"To do this, we need to take some black paint and dilute it with water. (2 parts water 1 part paint.) Dip your brush in the mixture, then paint as normal, but after painting, WIPE IT AWAY with a paper towel. This may seem counterintuitive, but it actually adds contrast. ... to take it a step further use dark wax"

Weathering always wraps wraps a creature up and and make it look so much cooler.

Step 22: Let It Snow!


  • Paintbrush
  • Plate


  • Baking soda
  • White glue
  • White paint

(This is an extra step. If you don't want to have a snowy dragon, move to the last step.)

I wanted this dragon to be in the cold, dreary mountains. He waits outside and snaps up unwary travelers. So he needs some snow! I use the same snow one would use for miniatures, so it has a great texture, just like snow. If you want a dirty dragon, use brown paint instead of white paint.

Snow recipe:

  1. Equal amounts of white glue, baking SODA (not powder, it will turn it yellow) and white paint.
  2. Pour the white paint
  3. Pour the glue
  4. Pour the baking soda
  5. Stir until smooth.
  6. Add fine glitter for sparkling, realistic snow.

To apply the snow, glob it onto a cheap brush and hastily move it across your surface. Apply it to the top of horns, nostrils, eye ridges and whatever you think needs snow. It's quite fun. I ended up putting some on the tongue and gums. (Guess it's super cold in those mountains.)

Step 23: Reveal the Eyes!

This is it. The moment we've all been waiting for. Use a knife to scratch off the glue spray paint and glitter. Scraping that layer of goo off and seeing your masterpiece stare up at you is awesomely incredible. This is your dragon baby, you raised it from scratch, watched it pillage it's first village and go to Knight Eating college. You should be very proud.

I hope this tutorial helped you create the dragon of your dreams. Maybe it's Alduin, Smaug, or Charizard. Maybe it's bright and sparkly, or dull and bloody. Either way, know that your creation is awesome and incredibly you. :)

Halloween Contest 2017

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Halloween Contest 2017