Paper Mache Ice Dragon – Jaws and Tongue

About jaws.

Well, I’ve been working hard on this project.   I’m sure some of you are already saying, “when is he going to get to the interesting part?”   And my answer would be, “never.”   This isn’t quite true, but it must be clear by now that most of the work on a project like this is building the parts.   I make one horn I like, then I make a dillion more.   I make a few teeth I like, then I make a half dillion slightly different sizes of them, just in case I change my mind about what I want to use.    And I have to stop often to gab a few chocolate chips.    (Julie keeps a bag in the freezer for when she decides to make cookies.   Of course I found them and every so often I sneak a handful.)   (A few days later I realize there are only a few chips left in the bag and must seriptitiously get to the  store and buy a replacement bag.)(I finally got caught because I bought the wrong brand.)   

Anyway, it’s time to make some jaws.   Perhaps the most recognizable feature of the steps I have put together for making dragons concerns the jaws.   Not only are the teeth and tongue, and the mouth generally, very important to the look of a dragon, the jaws constitute the basic armature of the piece.   

First I cut open the paper mache piece I made earlier.   Then I pull out the wad of paper leaving two half shells, ie.  the upper and lower jaws.

cut paper mache shell open up jaws shell

shells of jaws

I use hot glue to attach the teeth until I can “cloth mache” them in place.  More about that later.   Keeping in the spirit of the Viserion drawing, I lined the insides of the jaws with teeth, then added a few on the outside as well giving the jaws a really full look.  

put on teeth with hot glue

Between the clear teeth and the large number of them I think these jaws are rather dramatic.   I like them!  

cool jaws

I need a nice tongue.    I always make my tongues the same way.  I twist a sheet of paper, in this case phone book paper, around two pieces of wire clothes hanger.    I twist so that it tapers to a point.  Then I wrap with masking tape.  Once I have the two parts, I put a length of masking tape along the back.  Just the back.  I want to leave a crease on the top.  I will accentuate that when I add the cloth.

pieces of tongue 

tape on tongue

The wire in the tongue makes it easy to bend into interesting shapes.  I wanted a little curl at the end of this one.   

bend tongue

As most of you know, after sculpting with paper mache, I add a “skin” of cloth (old bed sheets) dipped in white glue.  Many years ago, with the publication of my first book, I dubbed this process “cloth mache” for lack of a better term.   This note that this term is used all the time now.   Adding this skin to a paper mache project makes it very strong, and it allows for great detail.  

cloth and jaws

I tear the old bed sheet into long strips and then cut them into shorter pieces.   I use these small strips to anchor the teeth.  I fold them and then wrap each tooth.   The fold in the cloth is a great facsimile for gums. 

wrap teeth with cloth more teeth wrapping

Once all the teeth are wrapped, a put a large piece of glue soaked cloth in the middle of the jaw.  Because the cloth is bigger than the jaw, wrinkles naturally form as you lay it.   Again, this method of anchoring teeth and creating the palate with cloth is characteristic of my dragon making methods.   It works very well.  

add cloth to jaws cloth palate  

I also wrap the tongue with the cloth mache.   As I mentioned, I accentuate the crease in the tongue by pushing the cloth in the gap between the two parts.   

cloth mache tongue

Initial Painting

I decided to keep with the dark, but very cold, color scheme in the Viserion drawing as well.   So I first painted the jaws purple.  Then I “blackwashed” them.  That is, I painted on watered down black paint, then wiped it off before it dried.   In the furniture world this would be called “antiquing.”  But since I was projects with lots of different colors, it makes more sense to me to call this process blackwashing.   So I do.

paint jaws blackwash jaws

blackwashing jaws

I painted the tongue a dark pink and blackwashed it as well. 

paint tongue blackwash tongue 

I will stop here.  There is a bit more to do with these jaws and tongue, too much for tonight.  I’ll finish them off next post.  

Thanks for stopping by!

About danmonsterman

I've been a paper mache artist for many years. Visit my website for instructional videos, galleries, and everything else paper mache. Or visit my WebPress blog,
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13 Responses to Paper Mache Ice Dragon – Jaws and Tongue

  1. Bridget says:

    Everything you do is so magical. This came today in my email and it made me think of you, even though I know you have a good stash of awesome eyeballs.

  2. Sue Pearson says:

    Wow those teeth are stunning, sooo different! can’t wait to see what they look like done1

  3. Lori says:

    Great work!
    We were in northern B.C. in the spring and Stopped at a dinosaur museum in tumbler ridge. Guess what was in there? A crazy dinosaur critter made using your cloth mâché technique! It scared all the little kids. I made sure to tell the lady working in there that this was YOUR method. It was obvious that is where the idea came from. She said “oh, this was made a long time ago.” Uhuh.
    I should have taken a picture, so you could see it!

    You really do inspire people everywhere!
    Take care.
    P.S. …your chocolate chip story was funny. I can relate when it comes to chocolate. I’m currently sneaking all the good chocolate bars, before the trick or treaters get them.

    • Thank you Lori. That’s a funny story! I hope it didn’t bother them too much. My wife and I had a similar experience in Vancouver, British Columbia. We were visiting for a couple days and went into a pizza place that had all kinds of “Screamers” hanging around. I could recognize them a mile away. When I mentioned it he pulled out a mangled copy of my first book, “The Simple Screamer” and we had a good laugh. He also gave us a free lunch. I’d love to know if the place is still there.

      You are funny with the chocolate. I’m having the same issue tonight. I was sworn not to touch the “good candy” until the evening is over. Problem is in defining “good”. Some people somewhere might not like Twix bar! Bad candy! I had to get rid of a few!

      • Lori says:

        The paper mâché dinosaur at the museum was pretty cute. I don’t know what is with those silly Canadian kids being scared of it. (I’m allowed to say that, I’m Canadian 🙂

        Free lunch! That’s great.
        What was the name of the pizza place? My brother works in Vancouver and I can ask him if he knows about it.

        That book is from 1984 isn’t it? That’s a few years back!

        Yeah, sure, nobody likes twix bars, haha.

      • Sorry, it was so long ago. I have no idea what the name of the restaurant was. Yes, The Simple Screamer was first published in 1984. It was in print for about 25 years and sold around the world. Who’d of thought.

  4. Jeremy Scott says:

    Thank you so much for this. I am trying to make a fell beast from Lord of the Rings for a cosplay next year, so your videos have just blown up my minds eye on what I want to do. I just hope I have the talent to do it

  5. Lesley Armstrong says:

    Fantastic Dan, and as usual, love your humour. I have your first books, one of them you signed for me, I think it is the Dragon one, but I also have another one that came after it. Great books with heaps of humour and great pix. Thanks for keeping us up to speed with your wonderful work. I am a fan forever. Lesley from Australia.

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