Paper Mache “Maleficent”

I was asked by a man who lives in France to make a dragon trophy of “Maleficent”, the dragon from Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty”.   The first photos below are what I was supposed to use as a guide.  He wanted a trophy that was as close a rendition of the cartoon as possible, including the lights.   You would think that the simple lines would make this an easy task.  But it wasn’t easy at all.  It was quite a challenge, which I relished.   I wanted to make the dragon that the cartoon would be based upon.  But I couldn’t improvise very much without straying too far from the original drawings.   And the lights were even a bigger challenge.    Obviously I couldn’t get lights that would blast out of the mouth, eyes, and nose exactly like the cartoon.   And the dragon had to look decent when the lights were turned off.

I ended up using a dillion, well a half a dillion little, green l.e.d. lights.   There is a place to put AA batteries in the back of the trophy when it’s off the wall.   The lights are controlled by 4 small switches behind the ears.    I think they worked very well, don’t you think?

Here she is!

From the side.

Here she is without the lights on.

I’m very proud of these eyes.  I used glass, taxidermy elephant eyes.  I used a grinder to grind off almost all of the paint.  I just fashioned a couple of slits for dragon pupils.  That made them kind of frosted so you can’t see the l.e.d. lights behind them when the lights are off.  And they look fine in contrast with the black and blue colors of the dragon.     When the lights are on you just see the green lights and the pupils.

This is me and the dragon. (I’m the one on the right.)  Just wanted to give you a sense of scale.  This is as big as I could make it and still ship it to France.

NOTE:  I have to amend this post because of the unbelievable interest it has generated.  It seems to have spread far and wide through Facebook and other websites.  I’m just blown away by the response.  Thank you to everyone who has left a post.    I have had a dozen or more serious requests to purchase this dragon or another just like it along with many inquiries about the price.  So I just have to say that this is a unique piece.  Any time I make a commission I guarantee that it will be unique, that I won’t make a duplicate for someone else.  Don’t get me wrong, because of this response, I have several ideas of other strong lined, horned dragons with or without the lighted effects.  They won’t be Maleficent, but they might possibly be better.  Maybe I’ll make a couple and post them to see what you think.   For what it’s worth, I sold this piece for $2000 plus shipping.    These projects are very labor intensive.  I spend a lot of time and effort on each one.  I can only make a few commissions a year because of that.   And I have my own projects to attend to.
PS.  And don’t forget that you can make a dragon trophy too!  I have always been about showing people how to do these techniques.  It’s just a matter of how badly you want something, right?  Watch my videos, follow this blog, and/or buy my books  and give it shot!  Thousands of people have already made their own dragons.
PSS.  If you got here from one of the other blogs that picked up Maleficent, check out some of my other dragons and projects like my Dark Butterfly.    Thanks for stopping by!


37 Responses to Paper Mache “Maleficent”

  1. Merri says:

    I got sent a picture of your maaleficent by my brother on the app Pinterest, it really is stunning, I completely appreciate that your pieces are all one of a kind, but you have now defiantly inspired me to attempt to make my own Malificent… It is amazing.

  2. Renee says:

    Thank you so much for creating this! I have always wanted a mounted unicorn head on my wall, and this is the inspiration I needed to push me over the edge!
    I have a lamp that I promptly broke the glass shade of and have been searching and searching for something amazing to do with it.
    This is amazing, you are amazing.
    Very, very thank you!

  3. Jen says:

    I love watching your videos on youtube. They are as entertaining as they are informative! Keep up the great work!!

  4. What is the name of your YouTube Channel?

  5. I got sent a picture of your maaleficent by my brother on the app Pinterest, it really is stunning, I completely appreciate that your pieces are all one of a kind, but you have now defiantly inspired me to attempt to make my own Malificent… It is amazing

  6. Aaron Lee says:

    i love it. and i want one.

  7. Awesome, l would love to know how to get one.

    • Hello Margaret. Sorry, I made this as a commission and I never make any duplicates. Part of what people pay for is the fact that their piece will be unique. But thank you for your interest.

  8. mal says:

    Would it be possible to get instructions on how to go about making this dragon it is great

  9. Flex Lewis says:

    Hello Rene
    Absolutely amazing!!! I really need to talk to you about doing a commission piece.
    Do you have a contact?

    Best wishes
    very interested in speaking to you on the business front

    (Welsh Dragon)

    ps I’ve provided my website and email for you.

  10. John Pfeiffer says:

    My wife is the granddaughter of Disney animator Eric Cleworth – this is an amazing piece – he is the one who created the dragon for Sleeping Beauty and I would love to surprise her with something like this some day. Thanks for sharing – absolutely love it! I’m sure if Eric were still with us today, he would be equally impressed.

    • Thank you for the nice note John! Of course the reason this piece was so popular is because of the original. Maleficent was part of my childhood. I really appreciate the compliment!

  11. Claudia says:

    Hey Dan… I just clicked on the video of your Deluxe Cat enclosure and this is where it took me.. I am so surprised cuz I have seen ur work on Pintrest and loved it. Do you sell your work? or plans? I would love to have a Catio like yours. and ofcourse.. the Maleficent dragon. Great work!!

    • Hello Claudia. I do sell my work, mostly on commission. I am a year out at this point however so far as taking any new orders. Glad you like the catio. That was a very fun project to make. Give it a try.

  12. Doug says:

    Hey Dan. Excellent work!! Does your book cover the led lighting at all? Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Doug. I’m sorry to say but I didn’t write about lighting in my book. It’s not a big enough part of my art. But it is fairly easy. Those lights are just one big loop. You just need some wire that is about the same gauge (small) and a soldering gun. Insert extra lengths where you need it to move the lights further away from the battery pack. I also added micro switches into the loop so that I could put them behind the ears (instead of having the switches at the battery pack. I just put those switches in the “on” position). By adding extra wire to the loop you can put clusters of lights anywhere you want.
      Good luck

  13. Kelsey thomas says:

    Could I buy one from you? How much would it cost?

    • Hello Kelsey. I am sorry but I never make the same project twice. It assures that anyone who gets a piece of my art that it is unique. Also, I have pretty long waiting list of people wanting art. It will be a couple of years before I can take any more orders. Sorry. But you might consider making your own dragon. It is much more satisfying. Just a thought. Thanks for your interest.

  14. Mary Ciaramitaro says:

    Dan this is AMAZING!!! I actually own your book and love it!!! I am currently building a life size dragon head and trying to emulate the lady dragon from Shrek. I am having an enchanted themed graduation party in 13 days and am having a heck of a time getting the shape right. I have literally put 40- 50 hours of time trying to get the aperture right. Also I need like 9 inch diameter glass eyes. I may make them. Do you have any suggestions? Mine is going to smoke out the nose too! I am freaking out so if you have any suggestions I would love to hear from you! Maybe you could come visit me and enjoy our beautiful summer here in Michigan!!! I’m Italian and I will feed you good! I also make awesome mango margaritas!!!

    • Hello Mary. Sounds like you are in the thick of a fun project! I don’t have a lot of great advice I’m afraid. I have never used eyes that big. I have no idea where you would get glass eyes that size. The largest eyes you can get from taxidermy companies is about 35mm. 9 inches in diameter is huge. Perhaps a cheap magnifying glass? Good luck with the project. I’m sure it is very challenging!

  15. Pingback: Disney Halloween Decorations – Babes of Wonderland

  16. Zara Long says:

    All your stuff is incredible! Truly inspiring, keep up the great work 🙂

  17. abbyrwebb says:

    Do you sell these or make custom orders?

    • Do you mean the Maleficent project? Or do you mean dragons generally. I’m sorry to say but I made Maleficent as a commission. And I never make the same project twice. I promise my clients that they will get a unique piece of sculpture. Over the years I’m sure I could have sold that piece many times over. But I do think it’s a good policy. People like to know they are getting something no one else has.

  18. Maria says:

    So pretty things you do!! I love this!) Can I buy this or not? Just ask))

  19. Linzi says:

    Is the maleficent tutorial in the books?

    • Hello Linzi. I don’t cover any specific project. I show the techniques I use to make all the various trophies and full dragons. The process is the same for all of them. It’s the detail that sets them apart.

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