How to Make a 3-D Dragon

Dragons are mythical beasts depicted in many different ways. Some depictions of dragons show them with long snakelike bodies while others have giant wings. Create your own representation of a dragon by building a 3-D model out of clay, and paint or glaze it with your favourite colours. Turn your dragon into a fierce, scaly monster with pointed fangs or create a fairy-tale version of a dragon with small wings and a friendly smile.

Knead a handful of polymer clay between your hands until it becomes soft and warm. Depending on the amount of clay, this should take between two and five minutes.

Roll the handful of clay into a ball between your hands and lay it down on a flat surface. Place the flat of the fingers of one hand on top of the ball and gently move them back and forth. As you roll the ball, it should begin to take an oblong shape. Slowly move your fingers in one direction, either left or right, to keep one end of the shape round while elongating the other end.

Set the oblong shape aside and knead another handful of clay until soft. Divide the clay into four balls -- two the size of an acorn and two slightly larger. Lay each of the balls on a flat surface and roll them under your fingers until they become oblong shapes about the width of your finger. These shapes will be used to form your dragon's legs.

Mold the two larger shapes into the back legs of your dragon. Fold both of the shapes to create an angle and attach one of them to each side of the rounded end of the oblong shape from Step 2. Press the top of the leg into the oblong shape, the body of the dragon, and smooth the clay out to secure it. Flatten the other end of the dragon's legs to form its feet.

Shape the front legs of your dragon in a similar manner, bending them to form an angle and attaching them to the dragon's body. Attach the front legs to either side of the dragon's body at the oblong end about an inch from the tip.

Roll a small ball of clay in your hands and shape it into your dragon's head by pinching it between your fingers to flatten it into a rectangular shape. Pinch one end of the rectangular shape even further to flatten it into your dragon's snout and use a pencil or a small dowel rod to poke eyes into each side of the dragon's head. Attach the head to the oblong end of the dragon's body -- its neck.

Knead a handful of clay and roll it into a ball. Roll the ball on a flat surface under the flat of your fingers, moving your fingers side to side as you roll it to shape the clay evenly. Roll the clay into a long cylindrical shape and pinch one end into a point. Attach the other end of the clay shape to the bottom of the dragon's body to form its tail.

Create spikes down the centre of your dragon's spine by pinching the clay between your thumb and forefinger. As you pinch the clay, gently pull it away from the dragon's body to create a spike shape. You may use this process to add spikes down your dragon's tail as well.

Set your dragon sculpture in a cool place to dry. To keep it from drying out too quickly, cover it loosely with a sheet of plastic or a grocery bag.

Fire your dragon in a kiln or oven according to the instructions included with the clay once it has completely dried. Paint or glaze your dragon sculpture as desired.


Add your own creative details to your dragon sculpture, such as giant wings or a long forked tongue. Use your imagination or look at depictions of dragons for inspiration.

Things You'll Need

  • Polymer clay
  • Pencil or dowel rod
  • Paint or glaze
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About the Author

Katherine Barrington has written on a variety of topics, from arts and crafts to pets, health and do-it-yourself projects. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English with a creative writing concentration from Marietta College.