Instructions for a papier mache dragon head

Updated February 21, 2017

When you are putting together a theatrical performance, you can make your show look more exciting by using colourful and interesting set props. Although professional set props can be very costly, you can save money by making set props yourself using a few basic arts and crafts materials. For example, you can construct a large dragon head using papier mache and used newspapers. This enables you to make the performance as colourful and exquisite as you had envisioned without breaking your budget.

Inflate an extra-large balloon and a large balloon. Knot both ends, and tape the two balloons together at the knotted ends using masking tape. The extra-large balloon will be the skull of the dragon, and the large balloon will be the snout.

Cut down the length of two kitchen roll tubes, and bend each tube into a cone. Tape the cones onto either side of the extra-large balloon using masking tape. These will be the ears of the dragon.

Tape a craft foam half sphere onto either side of the extra-large balloon using masking tape. These will become the dragon's eyes.

Tape six craft foam cones along the extra-large and large balloons using masking tape. Arrange the cones so that they fall in a line in-between the eyes and are spaced about 8 cm (3 inches) apart. These will be the spikes on the dragon's head.

Pour 950 ml (4 cups) of papier mache pulp and 120 ml (1/2 cup) of cornstarch into a saucepan. Pour in 950 ml (4 cups) of water, and heat the mixture over medium-high heat until it bubbles. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer it for 5 minutes. Allow the papier mache mixture to cool for 30 minutes. Papier mache pulp can be purchased at any craft store, and turns into papier mache paste when combined with water.

Cut newspaper into small strips using scissors, each measuring 5 cm (2 inches) wide and 15 cm (6 inches) long. Dip each strip into the papier mache mixture, and lay it over the balloon form. Cover the entire balloon form with six layers of the papier mache strips. This will connect together the two balloons and will cover the ears, eyes and spikes. Allow the papier mache dragon head to dry for 6 hours.

Paint the dragon head using colourful acrylic paint to suit your preference. Allow the paint to dry for 30 minutes.

Paint the papier mache dragon head using clear acrylic glaze. Allow the glaze to dry for 30 minutes before using the dragon head as a set prop.

Things You'll Need

  • Extra large balloon
  • Large balloon
  • 2 kitchen roll tubes
  • Scissors
  • Masking tape
  • 2 craft foam half spheres, 10 cm (4 inch)
  • 6 craft foam cones, 15 cm (6 inch)
  • Saucepan
  • Papier mache pulp
  • Cornstarch
  • Newspaper
  • Acrylic paint, coloured
  • Paintbrush
  • Acrylic glaze, clear
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