Introduction: Upcycled Dragon - Halloween, Cosplay or GoT Prop

About: I'm a writer-teacher-consultant who's having fun with creativity and crafting.

Thought it'd be fun to craft a small dragon - no home is complete without one. He's made primarily from painted aluminum foil with an empty 2-liter plastic water bottle as the torso, a bit of craft foam, and scrapbook paper.

Step 1: Sculpting the Head and Body

I used an empty 2-liter water bottle as the torso; it had a cool texture that somehow suggested "dragon belly." I crumpled sheets of aluminum foil and sculpted it around the torso.

I built the head/neck separately from the body, and dropped the long neck into the neck of the bottle. I secured the "necks" together with a bit of pipecleaner. I also affixed the aluminum to the torso with some cellophane packing tape, which takes paint pretty well.

At first, he looked more like a dinosaur; I kept adding foil to the body to increase the bulk, and worked at compressing the foil until the head squared out a bit.

I formed the eye sockets by pressing a pencil into the foil at the right spots, and cut into the mouth with scissors to create the more ideal head/mouth shape shown in the second photo here.

Step 2: Detailing


I first spray-painted the entire creature with a coat of matte black. I then oversprayed the torso with a metallic copper color, as seen here. Ultimately I didn't like the visible tape lines (near the neck/shoulder), so I did a cross-hatch design that suggested scales. I used a matte black puffy paint for that; you can see the detail in the 1st photo.

For the rest of the body, I sponged basic acrylic craft paints in black, soft metallic gold, light gray, white, lime green and dark green randomly all over until there was a nice depth and variety of color. This took several coats and is entirely to personal taste.

When painting was done, I wanted more iridescence, so I randomly added touches of nail polish. These were in a metallic gold, micro-glitter green, iridescent green, and a micro-glitter black.

In spots where the foil wasn't adhering, I spot-glued with E6000 and then touched up with paint.


For the eyes, I rolled small bits of fimo clay in yellow and pushed them into the indents, then colored the pupils with sharpie and black acrylic paint.


I cut spikes from light gray craft foam. The material was very porous, so I did a "base coat" with black sharpie marker first, then a matte nail polish in a dark gray color. That sealed the foam so I could paint subsequent coats with the same nail polishes I used on the body.

Once the spikes were dry, I affixed them with E6000 and touched up with paint where needed. In the mouth, I cut scraps of the gray craft foam, uncolored, into needle-sharp teeth, and glued them in. The inside of the mouth is colored with the same nail polishes, plus a bit of red to suggest a tongue.

He's toothless here, but you can see the finished effect on the first image of this Instructable.

Step 3: Giving Your Dragon Wings to Fly

Wings made all the difference in transforming him from a dinosaur-looking thing into a bona fide dragon.

I used a thick, golden, leathery-textured scrapbook paper from the craft store. I wanted something durable that could be folded/shaped without crinkling or tearing. I highlighted the paper's texture by dry-brushing black acrylic craft paint all over.

I sketched out the wing shapes and cut them out. I folded each wing gently in various directions until I found the best shapes/bends, then creased the paper more definitively. I traced veins over the wings with puffy paint, to give added dimension. That was followed by more black paint dry-brushing (VERY dry brushing), and a bit of Rub-and-Buff in a bronze color.

I affixed the wings with E6000. It was awkward to clamp the wings on without crushing the alumnium foil body, so I wrapped pipecleaners around to secure the wings until they were dry, as shown here.

That's it. Hope you enjoy, and make a dragon for your own home soon.

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