For my 30th birthday I wanted to have one of those Halloween parties I always had as a kid. Lately I’ve had an internship at Gothenburgs opera house at their costume department. We’ve been working on Andrew Loyd Webbers classic “Phantom of the opera”, and in the “masqurade”-scene there is a beautiful dragon costume one of the dancers wore. So I thought…I NEED to be a dragon at my party! The typical “dress up”-dragon.
I started out with the head. Papier maché is an easy technique to use if you want something big and voluminous to be sturdy and light! I crumpled pages of newspaper and used masking tape to hold my shape together. Then I machéyed away with a flour and water mixture and strips of newspaper.
When dry, I cut the form in two halves and took out the taped, crumpled newspaper pages.
For the teeth I used Fimo clay! Just shape and bake!
I glued them in place with a glue gun to both halves.
For better stability and the feeling of gums I used “cloth maché”. Old cotton sheets and white glue.
I chose a greyish color for the gums since this was going to be an “ice dragon”.
My first idea of how this creation was going to attach to the head didn’t work out since the teeth came to be to heavy, but to my delight the top halve fitted my head perfect so I sewed on a wide elastic band to it…
…so it could sit in the nape of the neck.
Now it’s time to shape the face of the dragon. For this I didn’t use any maché technique, I just shaped some piece of newpaper and taped it down with masking tape.
Eyes of painted wooden marble.
Glued on some steel wire for holding up the fen-like things dragons sometimes have behind their ears.
When I was satisfied with the shape I went on with cloth maché again to get more details in the skin.
Time for paint! I started out painting the whole thing black.
…except the gums and teeth.
The rest of the colors I use I will dry-brush on to the skin. Don’t know if that is the correct term in english but this is how you do it…
…use a dense hog hair brush and put a small amount of paint on it. Brush the most of it of to a coffee-filter so theres no wet paint left on the brush. Then buff the paint that is left on the brush on to your object. This is a brilliant way to give life and depth to your 3D-project.
Here I’ve added some light blue and just started with white.
There, now I’m satisfied.
For the black painted wooden marble-eyes to get a decent iris I glued on a big color-shifting sequin that I drew pupils on to.
What could be better than sequins for scales? Using hot glue.
A quick sketch for the rest of the costume.
I started out with making a catsuit in the 90’s comeback material: crushed velvet!
There it is!
The dragon would want a belly!
You would like to use a lighter material with a lot of stretch so it won’t affect the elasticity in the suit when it’s sewed on.
For the scales I cut small pieces out of several different fabrics and glued them on with textile glue, or a glue gun would work just as fine. I also attached big sequins here and there.
Time was ticking so I had to plan where to put my scales, cause I sure didn’t have the time to cover the whole suit.
To finish the head (cause I wasn’t quite content) I made some extra big scales out of steel wire, some left overs from the scales for the suit and hot glue.
I also wanted to give it kind of like a horse mane so out of more steel wire I made something to fasten the “mane” to.
Long pieces of fabric I cut in thin strips.
And glued it to the back of the head with A LOT of hot glue.
I didn’t work as much with the lower jaw (that’s why the uneven edges), I just cut an enough big hole for my neck to fit in, parted the back and put a rivet and a press stud on so I could close it.
Some crushed velvet inside (same for the head).
The dragon wants a tail. I cut out a good triangle-shape in the crushed velvet and sewed on strips of rigilene (polyester boning) like a skeleton. Sadly I forgot taking a picture when all the strips where sewed on.
You can see through the fabric that I sewed on several rigilene strips across the first one.
Need to be able to use the zipper so I sewed it directly on to the suit to one side and used press buttons on the other.
To keep the shape in place at the root of the tail I attached more rigilene in a star formation.
Here’s how it looks inside.
And here’s the party pics! Wished I had better ones but this will have to do for now. Next time the dragon will get wings and a pair of awesome feet!
Over and out!