Paper Mache Tiamat Dragon – First assembly

Hi all.   The fun begins when the paper mache pieces are ready for assembly.   I want to emphasize here that, at all stages, everything is subject to change.  That is what I mean when I say that paper mache is “forgiving.”  I am not afraid to completely revamp anything I don’t like.

First, I really want these heads to be stable against the wall (actually it will be a large plaque I made out of walnut wood….more about that later) so I cut pieces of  1 inch pine boards to fit the back of the necks.  I used screws to hold the necks to the boards (and yes, screws into the paper mache works well).  I also drilled holes at an angle in the wood backings.   That allows me to hang the trophies on the wall over a long screw driven into the wall at about the same angle (as what I drilled in the pine backing).  I hope this makes sense.   It sounds a little convoluted.

paper mache Tiamat - attach backing

Then it was time to start putting the heads where I want them relative to each other on the wall.   So I drove screws into the wall and hung the necks.

paper mache Tiamat - attach necks to wall

Below is the bottom row of necks in roughly the positions I wanted.   Now I know some of you have eagle eyes and you will notice the neck on the left, the one with the piece of wood sticking out.  This is the neck of the black dragon, the one with the long, curved steer-like horns.   Because of the torque involved with those long horns  wanted to be sure there was sufficient support to hold them up.  So I added pieces of pine inside the neck (from the pine backing to the place where the horns will be) for additional support.  And yes, you see a few pieces of clothes hanger sticking out of the necks as well.  I buried those inside the necks for extra support.


paper mache Tiamat- first three heads

One by one I started adding the jaws, upper and lower, to the ends of the necks.   This is the  red dragon with jaws attached.    Note that I added the tongue as well.  That is connected to the back of the lower jaw.

paper mache Tiamat- attach jaws

Next, the upper jaw of the black dragon.  I know it doesn’t sound right when I say “upper jaw.”  It’s really the rudimentary upper part of the head.

paper mache Tiamat- more attach jaws

I added the other two necks to the array on the wall, as well as the rest of the jaws.  This is pretty close to the layout I want.   Pretty close.  Again, I will change it up slightly as I move along.  But this gives you a sense about how the heads will look together.

paper mache Tiamat -all jaws attached

Just a different angle.

paper mache Tiamat -more jaws added

Once I established the overall look, it was time to start building each individual head.    I started with the red dragon.   Here is the very beginning of that dragon, with the two long horns installed.

paper mache Tiamat- start sculpting

Next time …more sculpting of each head.  Thanks for stopping by!



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Paper Mache Tiamat Dragon – jaws and horns

Hi again.    More about my commission for the Chromatic Dragon restaurant in Savannah, Georgia.    I mentioned earlier that I intended to take some artistic license with the Tiamat dragon.   But I have a real interest in satisfying the restaurant’s clientele, and of course the people who commissioned me to make this hydra.   So I want it to look very familiar.  That means  I’m not going to totally fly by the seat of my pants.  I want the project to have a familiar “feel”.  I want the look of the project to stay true to the Tiamat in Dungeons and Dragons.    So I looked at a lot of  Tiamat art on the web for guidance.   Some of the renditions I liked, many I didn’t.   It just turns out that the renditions I liked the most are the ones created by The Wizards of the Coast for the official Dungeons and Dragons site.   Below are two of the Tiamat dragon wallpapers you can get (for free) on their official site (  This set of wallpapers is titled “Tyranny of Dragons -Set 3”.    I looked on the site for any mention of the actual artist who painted these wallpapers but I couldn’t find any information.   I would love to know who did the paintings.   They are beautiful works of art.   So beautiful that I’m taking my lead from these wallpapers for my sculptures.    I will try to incorporate many of the features you see in these wallpaper into my trophies.   Where it’s hard to see some of the details in the paintings, I will ad lib.  Of course I can’t insert fire into the throat of the red dragon, but I wish I could.  I’m sure some of you will think it is cheating or somehow copying the art.  Maybe.   I can tell you however that it also adds a layer of difficulty.    I’ll be curious what you all think as this project progresses.

Tiamat dragons 2


 Tiamat dragons

So I left off with a very large pile of pieces ready for paper mache.     I always use cheap white flour and water for my paper mache paste.  It has always worked well.  But the climate in Seattle is very different than it is in Savannah.  It’s much more  humid there in the summer.   I don’t want to take any chances with bugs (I’ve heard this can be a problem).  For this project I decided to use Elmer’s glue instead of flour and water for the paper mache.   I used the glue full strength.  It’s a little stickier, but it works just as well as the flour and water.   This is also a good substitute paste for people who have allergies to gluten or flour.

 Paper mache Tiamat dragons- paper mache

I always start my trophies with the jaws.   After my paper mache dried I cut open each of the head-shaped pieces.

 Paper mache Tiamat dragons- making a jaw shell

I pulled out the wads of paper that were inside (which I throw into a box to be re-mached later) leaving just the paper mache shells.   I use these shells to make the jaws.

Paper mache Tiamat dragons- jaw shells plus teeth

My first big decision had to do with the kinds of jaws I wanted for each dragon head.   I use hot glue to add teeth to the mache shells when making jaws.   As I mentioned before I think of the red dragon as being the most aggressive, the most wild.  So I made a sort of wild, somewhat random tooth pattern in the jaws.

 Paper mache Tiamat dragons- red jaws 2

In contrast,  I made a more evenly spaced tooth pattern for the white head.   Overall, I think of the white dragon as the least wild (in appearance) of the five heads.  I wanted the jaws to reflect that bias.

 Paper mache Tiamat dragons- white jaws

I decided that the green dragon should have longer, sharper teeth than his counterparts.

Paper mache Tiamat dragons-green dragon teeth

I gave the blue dragon a mouth that would befit a crocodile.

Paper mache Tiamat dragons-blue dragon teeth

Finally, I thought the black dragon should look more gaunt, even skull-like.  That is how he’s described in the literature, with deeply sunken eyes.   I’m not sure exactly why I thought this pattern would work but thought fewer teeth,  more clustered, would work well for the black head.

 Paper mache Tiamat dragons- black dragon teeth

I also made similar, but yet distinctively different tongues for each dragon.  More about these later.

Paper mache Tiamat dragons -tongue

I always cloth mache , and paint, all my jaws before assembly.  It is just so much easier to do this before everything is put together.    Trust me.

Paper mache Tiamat dragons- cloth mache jaws2

Here are all the cloth mached jaws (I know, “mached” is not really a word)(and the phrase “cloth mache” is downright silly.  But that’s what dubbed it years ago, and it works.  So there.)

Paper mache Tiamat dragons- jaws

Here are two sets of painted jaws, one before blackwashing, one after.   This is one place where I inserted my own artistic license.   The Tiamat dragon, as a hydra, is very distinctive.  Considering that all of the heads are so different, I was looking for ways to pull them together.  So I decided to paint all of the jaws and tongues the same colors.   I also used the same color Fimo for all of the teeth.   This consistency in the jaws will look good in the end.  You’ll see.

Paper mache Tiamat dragons - painted jaws

Likewise, I made all of the horns out of the same color of Fimo.   This is one of the horns I made for the black dragon.   In the literature about the Tiamat, as well as the art, the black dragon is described as having very prominent,  bull-like horns.    Since it’s such a big part of his personality, the horns had to be special.   I think these horns fit the bill.  I’m very pleased with how they turned out.

Paper mache Tiamat dragons-black horn

Below are the sets of horns for each head.   They are organized into piles below.  In the front row, on the left is the set of horns for the black dragon.  The red dragon’s horns are in the middle in the front, and the set for the green dragon are in front on the right.   In the back on the left are the horns for the white dragon, and on the right are horns for the blue dragon.

Paper mache Tiamat dragons- horns

I’ll leave you here.  Next time I’ll start assembling each head.

Thank you for stopping by!


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Paper Mache Tiamat Dragons

Hello everyone.  Well, my ADHD approach to my paper mache art is very evident lately.  I am still working on my dragon-like dragonfly.   But I’m also working on a commission that has become a bit all consuming.   So my dragonfly has been put on hold for a little while until I finish with this commission.   So, if you want,  I’ll take you on this diversion with me.   First, a little background…

There is a restaurant in Savannah Georgia called “The Chromatic Dragon”.   It is themed around the Dungeons and Dragons card game.   The name of the restaurant refers to a specific character in that card game called the “Tiamat Dragon”.   It is a super cool, five-headed dragon.  Each head has a set of physical characteristics defined by the game.  Each is a different color for example.  The heads are black, white, blue, green, and red.  Each has a different kinds of horns, scales, etc.   I have been asked to make a five-headed trophy of this dragon for the restaurant.   It was too big a challenge to pass up.   I just had to make it.   I’m pretty sure that the patrons of this restaurant will be highly critical of errors in artistic judgement or misinterpretations of the way these dragons are supposed to look.  So my task will be to make these heads consistent with the descriptions in the game, while reserving some of my own artistic license.    I’ll talk about all this as the project moves along.  First, the very basic, basic start.

As always, I started by crumpling newspaper.    Of course I sprinkled a little magic, dragon-dust on the paper before I crumpled.  (It looks just like graham cracker crumbs.)

Paper Mache Tiamat Dragons

At this point it is just about making the paper mache pieces that I will use to sculpt.   I never worry too much about precision at this stage.  It’s about getting a sense of size and composition.  Since everything is “times 5” with this project, I ended up with a large stack of crumpled balls.

Paper Mache Tiamat Dragons

Once I had a few balls crumpled I started putting them together to make the neck of the first trophy.

Paper Mache Tiamat Dragons

I decided that I would start with a row of three heads.   On the left will be the black dragon.  In the middle will be the red, and the white dragon will be on the right.   I like the idea of black and white on either side of the red.   In fact, after reading about these dragons, the red seemed to be the most aggressive.  So I figured that he should take center stage.

Paper Mache Tiamat Dragons

I have a defined size to work within.   I’m trying to stay within a four by four foot space.  And it shouldn’t extend out from the wall more than about two feet.

I added the green and blue dragon heads above the row of three (green on the left).  In its roughest form, here is how I want the heads to be configured.

Paper Mache Tiamat Dragons

I took a lot of this apart before adding the paper mache (for reasons I’ll tell you about later).

Paper Mache Tiamat Dragons

I also crumpled a few more balls.  I will use their paper mache shells for sculpting later.  I will leave you with this pile of pieces ready for the paper mache.

More later.   Thank you as always for your patience!



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Something for Cecil – A Paper Mache Trophy of Killer Dentist, Walter Palmer

Hello all.   I’ve been very busy making art.   I’m still working on my dragon-like dragonfly.  And I’m also working on a five-headed dragon trophy commission for a restaurant in Georgia.  I’m taking photos and shooting video of it all.  I promise I’ll share.  I just haven’t had the time to both work and share.   I know you understand.    Still, despite being  very busy, I just had to find the time to make a special trophy.   In memory of that beautiful lion, Cecil.   Like 95% of the planet, I too am disgusted by the actions of Walter Palmer.   It’s unbelievable that humans can be so cruel.    He tortured Cecil because he hunts with a bow, and he’s a lousy shot.   So Cecil suffered for two days before Palmer finished him off with a gun.   Palmer and his guide said that they were horrified when they found Cecil’s chip (as they were cutting off his head).   But that didn’t stop them from taking the head, skinning him, and leaving the carcass on the side of the road.   This shouldn’t surprise anyone.  He has also killed other lions, giraffe’s, and a white rhino.

There is so little any one person can do to stop this kind of cruelty.   So this is my little protest.    If you want to see the video of this being made, just click on the photo.

PS.   Please don’t leave any comments in support of Walter Palmer.   I don’t care if he’s a great dentist.    Who would want to get a crown from a psychopath?

Paper Mache Killer Dentist

Killer Dentist Walter Palmer

See you soon!

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Paper Mache Dragonfly – body, head, and eyes

Hi all.  Well, once again, this post is late in coming.    As I’ve stated many times ….it’s not my fault.  I have an ADHD problem with my paper mache art.   I start something and then get sidetracked, usually by another piece of art.   I am also working on a commissioned piece.   I’m making a fairly large set of trophies that illustrate the “Tiamat” Dragon in Dungeons and Dragons.   It is a multi-headed dragon that has five distinct heads.   I’m doing this for a restaurant in Savannah Georgia.  More on this later.

Meanwhile, I’m still moving along with my paper mache dragon-like dragonfly.   Here is a quick progress report.

My wings are finished and waiting.   They turned out well.   So on to the body…

I want a segmented body.   I started with a medium sized paper mache ball.    I added more paper mache balls (that got smaller as I worked my way down the body)…

paper mache dragonfly- start body

… until I got to the tail.   Here is a look at the body with all the balls in place.

paper mache dragonfly- body- done

I added a couple more segments for a neck.

paper mache dragonfly- add neck

Then I made a head in the usual way.  I made teeth out of Fimo.   I cut open another paper mache ball and hot glued the teeth around the shells to make jaws.

paper mache dragonfly-head

I also made a small, dragon-like tongue.

paper mache dragonfly-tongue

I added cloth mache to the jaws and painted them blue.  Then I hot glued the tongue into the lower jaw.

paper mache dragonfly- head added

Now I must talk a bit about the eyes.  I wanted big, bulbous eyes for this project.  That would make it more insect like.   But it is also a dragon, so I wanted something that looked enough like a dragon as well.   So I used two taxidermy, elephant eyes.  I used my Dremel grinder to grind away almost all of the paint inside the eye.   I left only what I wanted as slits for the lens.

paper mache dragonfly- eyes grinding

This is how they looked.

paper mache dragonfly- eyes- first lens

Of course, as soon as I saw these lenses I realized that they were just too thin.  So I used black paint to widen the lenses.  Sorry about the next few photos.  They are pretty blurry.  But you’ll get the idea.

paper mache dragonfly- new lens

I painted some yellow stripes emanating outward from the lenses.  While still wet, I added some orange paint.

paper mache dragonfly- eyes orange added

Likewise, while the yellow and orange paint was still wet, I added a layer of red over the entire eye.   Because it was all wet, it blended together.

paper mache dragonfly- eyes with red paint

Here are the finished eyes.   I like them.  I think when they are on the project, they will look both dragon-like and insect-like.  We’ll see.

paper mache dragonfly -eyes finished

Thanks for stopping by.  More later.


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Paper Mache Dragonfly – More about the wings

Just a quick update with my dragon-like dragon fly project.    I finished the structure of all of my wings.   Here is one pair.  The other pair is the same.  I like the look.

paper mache dragonfly- final structure2

I started playing with different coverings.   To do this I made smaller mock-up structures just for experimenting.   First I tried the two varieties of sheer cloth I mentioned earlier.  One was purple-ish.   The other was very shiny.   They actually don’t look too bad in this photo.  But in person I really didn’t like the look of either.  The purple was too dark, and the shiny cloth looked too industrial.

paper mache dragonfly- practice purple and shiny

I also played with dryer sheets (on the left of this mock-up wing) and regular tissue paper.   Hated both.

paper mache dragonfly- practice tissue and dryer sheet

So I went to a fancy pants paper store close to where I live.   I found this tissue paper that has little strands of cloth in it.   I really like it.   It’s light.  It shows off the structure of the wings.   And it is just more organic.

paper mache dragonfly- cool paper

I need to trim the wings and add a layer on the back side.   But here is what it looks like on a wing.

paper mache dragonfly- best tissue paper

Yes, I’ve done some work on the body and head too!   I’ll post about those parts very soon.

Meanwhile, just reminding everyone that the drawing for my two dragons is coming soon, on June 15.  If you haven’t entered to win, please do.  It’s to support a great cause.  I want these two dragons to go home with nice people, people that care.  Like all of you!   You are the best.   If you have family or friends who don’t know about this drawing, please share either of these two videos.  and

They can enter at the Dragon Master Foundation site,  here .   Again, these people are the best.  ALL of the proceeds go to the cause.  No one gets paid on this foundation.  I choose them because they are the best, the most caring of all the organizations.  Truly.  Thank you to all who have supported!

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A chance at TWO paper mache dragons!

Hello all.    We are at the half mark to the Dragon Master Foundation drawing for my dragon.  Thank you so much to everyone who has entered!   To show my appreciation, and to show my dedication to this cause, I’ve decided to double your chances of winning a dragon!  I’m throwing my “Great Paper Mache Dragon Trophy” into the drawing.    Yes, the same one whose video went viral in December.   He is going to a home of a person who cares about kids with brain cancer.   I’ve reintroduced the video with a new plea.  You can watch it if you want (click on the photo below).   More importantly, if you haven’t entered the drawing, please do.   You can enter here,    The first name drawn will have the choice of either of the two dragons.    The second name drawn will win the other dragon.   The drawings will take place on June 15.     Please share.   And thank you again for all of your support!

By the way, the Dragon Foundation has a fun “What Color Dragon Are You?” quiz.  If you are interested, you can find that here,

paper mache dragon giveaway thumbnail

Click this to watch video. Thank you!

And I must also once again apologize to my friends outside the US who can’t participate in the contest.   The foundation would love your support, but contest regulations and shipping costs just won’t allow it.  Sorry.

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Paper Mache Dragonfly- wings

Just a short little post about the wings.   I intended to make one wing, with the cloth added before making the others, just to see if it will work the way I want.   Of course I didn’t stick to my plan.  I decided to make the top pair of wings.     I painted the structure black after I finished.   I’m pretty happy with the main structure of these wings.   They aren’t as detailed as real dragonfly wings.   I knew that would be impossible.   But they are analogous to the wings of a dragonfly.  That’s all I was shooting for.   I’m happy with them, happy enough at least to continue the project.

paper mache dragonfly wing structure finished

Next, I have to cover them with cloth.  I bought two different kinds of cloth to experiment with.   First is this purple-ish colored, sheer  kind.    I have no idea how purple it will be with only one or two layers.   We’ll see.

paper mache dragonfly cloth3

Then I have this iridescent, clear-ish cloth.   Again, very cool in many layers.

paper mache dragonfly- cloth1

Here is a close-up of this cloth.  Very cool.    Still, I’ll have to play around with both to see how each looks over my wing structure.  I’ll let you know.

paper mache dragonfly - cloth close up

I’m working on the lower pair of wings now.   Eddie saw the camera and wanted to say “hi”.

paper mache dragonfly- Eddie

This is as far as I’ve gotten on this pair.    I am happy with the bamboo.   I think it gives the organic look I wanted.

paper mache dragonfly- lower wing structure

More later.  Thanks for stopping by!



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Win this Paper Mache Dragon! And support a great cause!

Hello everyone.  It is time.   It’s been a long wait, but I’m finally able to announce this opportunity to support a great cause, and to possibly win one of my dragons.   I made this dragon for the Dragon Master Foundation because it is a wonderful organization.   The people involved in this group are totally dedicated to the fight against cancer.  All the proceeds from this campaign will support cancer research.   The expense ratio for this foundation is less than 1%!  There is no paid staff.  This is the right group to work with.

So watch the video to see the Dragon Master Foundation dragon.   (Click the photo below) Then follow this link for details.  Buying more chances to win will also get you some great perks!  I have one of the T-shirts with the dragon on it.  I love it!

PLEASE share this link with your friends and family.  I very much want this campaign to succeed.  As I head into my Medicare years, I can’t tell you I can’t tell you how many people I know who have been affected by this disease.  This is my small contribution to the fight for the cure.  Thank you for your help!

Paper mache dragon- white profile

Click to watch the video




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Paper Mache Dragonfly

Hello everyone.  Yes, it’s been a while since I posted something.  All I can say is that life sometimes gets in the way of art.  I’m sure most of you can attest to that fact.

I’ve decided to make a dragon-like dragonfly.    This idea came after getting a really cool gift from one of my daughters at Christmas.  She is a senior in the architecture program at the University of Washington.   She has access to some laser cutters in her program and she used one to cut these dragonfly wings out of wood and paper.    I was just blown away by the precision of those lasers!

paper mache Dragonfly wing

The cuts produced the most delicate structures!

paper mache Dragonfly- wing close up

The key to this project will be making wings that are analogous to wings like the ones above, but with much less detail.

I found some sticks at a craft store made from bamboo.   There are fairly flexible.  And I like the organic nature of the little branches.   So I decided to use them for the outside of my wings.

paper mache Dragonfly- bamboo

I was able to put together some pairs of sticks, ones that had matching little branches (below).  Using pairs of sticks like this I can make sure that opposite wings are somewhat consistent in structure.

paper mache Dragonfly- bamboo pairs

Using masking tape I made the basic shapes of the wings.

paper mache Dragonfly- basic wing structure

I wanted some of the interior veins to be bigger than others.  So first I used pieces of wire clothes hangers wrapped with masking tape.

paper mache Dragonfly- inside wing structure

I put those inside the top wings first.

paper mache Dragonfly- wing structure

Right now I’m adding smaller gauge wire to finish the vein-like structures inside the wings.    To tell you the truth I’m not sure this will work yet.  I’m not sure if it will look the way I want.  Obviously I can’t create anything as detailed as the paper structures.     Here is a close-up of what I’m doing.

paper mache Dragonfly- wing structure

This is a far as I’ve gotten.   Once I have the internal structures complete I will paint everything black.  Then I’ll add a layer of some really cool cloth I bought for this project.    It could be really cool.  Then again, these might end up in the garbage can.   Can’t tell yet.paper mache Dragonfly- wing structure

I’ll make another post as soon as I have all the veining finished.  Thanks for stopping by!

P.S.  In case you’ve been wondering about the dragon raffle, that has been pushed into May (cancer awareness month).  I’ll let you know as soon as the foundation is ready to launch.

Make art!







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