Christmas was coming up and here I was with no job and no money, living on my brother's couch. But when has that ever stopped one of us from coming up with good gifts? Since my father likes warming bags and sci-fi/fantasy novels I decided to make him a memorable one, a fire lizard straight from Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series. Or a little dragon in miniature for those of you unfamiliar with the series. I got some advice from a few of the instructables here, but most of the design is my own. Once the first was finished I made a smaller green for my little sister who just likes stuffed animals.
When your fire lizard is finished you'll be able to send him on a short trip through the microwave and he'll keep your neck or lap warm quite nicely.
Step 1: Materials
You won't need much to make this but you do need to pay attention to what you use. First you'll need roughly 1' x 3' of fabric, make sure it's primarily natural fabric as plastic base may melt when exposed to heat. This will be used for the body, you may want a second type of fabric for other parts of the body. Second you'll want rice, cherry pits, or beans to fill the body. These will retain heat when your fire lizard goes through the microwave. A little cotton or other stuffed animal filling will be used to fill the legs. And finally plastic buttons for his eyes.
Before you make your fire lizard send small samples though your microwave to make sure everything will survive. After all you wouldn't want to finish the little guy and then watch him melt on his first trip.
Step 2: Measurements
In order to keep the final design looking realistic you'll want a consistent model. For some reason fire lizards have always seemed sort of feline to me, so I used a cat as a model for the right proportions. The measurements are in arbitrary units (handspans in fact) so you can convert this to make any size fire lizard.
tail: 6 long, 2 circumference at body
body: 3 long, 3 circumference at belly and shoulder
neck: 2 long, narrows down to 1 circumference
head: at 1/2 from neck 1.5 circumference, snout has 1/4 circumference and is 1 long
Step 3: Cut Out the Shape
Fold over your fabric and mark out the lengths, then at the appropriate length mark out half the circumference above the right length. Now sketch out the right shape using those marks as a guide. This is your chance to make the shape your own.
For my sister's lizard I added spines to the outline. You'll want to make the spines very large, since you're going to be flipping the final shape inside out.
Pin and stitch the body together. Leave the mouth open, you may even want to cut out a beak shape as a cover to add once the body is filled.
Step 4: Fill the Body
Now flip the body inside out, if you added spines to the main body you'll need to flip them first. Now you've got an open sack and a means of closing it. Pour your filling of choice into the opening with a funnel. You don't want to fill the body all the way, it needs room to move around once closed so the finished shape isn't stiff. Fill it about 80% of the way and stitch on your covering on.
Step 5: Wings, Legs, Eyes, and Spines
The total wingspan should be about the same as the total nose to tail length of the body. Cut two roughly wing-like shapes about half the length of your final body length. Fold the wing over and fold it along the body to make a shape like a folded wing, as seen in the second picture. You'll see that once the wing is attached to the body it will easily fold into the right shape. Once it's in the right shape and you can stitch the wing down so it stays in this folded shape.
Now the legs can be cut as simple rectangles and stitched shut on three sides. Stuff these with your stuffed animal filling and then stitch them shut. Attach these to the body by folding them over and stitching them to the body.
The eyes can be easily added, since they're just buttons. Attach them to the head as buttons are meant to be.
Finally if you didn't cut the spines into the basic body you can cut them out of extra fabric. Cut them as large, oblique triangles and then fold over into more equilateral triangles. Stitch these together and then attach to the body.