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Witch-Finder of Lilburn
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2,033 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
In this tutorial we only make the upper half but you will know how to do the lower jaw by the time you are done.

You will need the following materials for this project:

1 juice bottle - I used this one:

Masking tape
Newspaper or old phone book pages
Polymer clay
Crayola Model Magic
Monster Mud (w/ sand)
Paint (your choice of colors)

You will need the following tools:

Dremel, or a knife and very steady cutting hand
Marker or Sharpie
Hot glue gun
Spray bottle (new or clean) of water

This is surprisingly easy.

I was throwing a juice bottle into the recycle bin when I noticed the contour of it and saw a potential dragon skull. Thing 2 will be five soon, the age I give my boys treasure chests and loads of cool stuff, and I figured any Dad could go to Amazon and buy a dragon skull (anywhere from $15 to $300 - take a look, they are inspiring), but I'd already made him several toys and figured I'd do this one too.

Step 1, mark and cut. See the contour of the bottle? There's a dragon skull waiting to be cut from it !!! You could even use what's left over for a lower jaw, but I didn't make one. Maybe next time.

Mark where you want to cut, including nostrils and eye sockets. Draw the shape of the lower jaw also - it should look like the dragon has the neck of the bottle in his mouth. Cut the shape of the upper jaw. I also cut a flap and reattached it as a cheekbone. Cut out the lower jaw also, because the scrap in the middle is what will provide the structure for horns. Cut the neck off of it and you should have two triangles joined by the neck or mouth of the bottle. Separate them. Cut a slit exactly between both nostrils, from the mouth to halfway up the skull. This is so that you can overlap the two sides and glue them, giving the snout a narrowing effect.

Do that now, then glue the triangle pieces for horns, then the cheekbone flaps if you want. I found that in addition to hot glue, I needed to tape this thing up big time to keep things in place. To plump up the horns, wad up newspaper and tape it onto them. Wad up some more and tape it onto the back of the skull to round it out.

Sorry I didn't take pictures of step 1 but at that point I was 50% sure this would not even work. This should help.

Step 2, mud and paint. Most people use monster mud with strips of cloth or material but I usually don't. It's great for coating things to give them bulk and hold a taped-up/glued-up thing like this together. Paint two coats of monster mud with sand onto the entire piece, horns and all. I painted mine green after, to further hold it together and to make the next step easier to show.



Step 3, spikes. Knead your Model Magic and make little spikey cones, them just press them into place where you want them. You can also use it to embellish the surface any way you like. Give it a full day to dry. Handle it carefully now because these spikes will not stay attached very well -- we will glue them in the next step.

Step 4, glue and teeth. Make fangs out of polymer clay, bake them as directed, then glue them to the inside of the skull. When the glue is firm, carefully turn the skull over and start gluing the spikes into place. The smaller ones I removed and glued, but the larger ones I just gave a "perimeter" of hot glue. Once that glue is firm, carefully flip the skull again and now use Model Magic on the inside of the skull, to thicken the walls of it and create sockets for those fangs that are already attached. Give this a full day to dry.



Another shot: http://www.mkdavis.net/images/props/2012/skull2.jpg

Step 5, more mud and paint again. I painted mine with white and was shocked by how badly the piece lacked cohesion, so what you should do at this point is mud it again on the seams and anywhere you want it to look unified. Let that dry and cover the whole thing with antique white spray paint or however you prefer to do it. Let it dry.



Step 6, final. Use a wash (a very wet mixture of paint and water) of black all over the skull, letting it drip down. Then hit it with the spray bottle. Um...I mean spray it with water, using your spray bottle. Please do not hit your hard work. Then use a wash of yellow-brown on the spikes and horns and use the spray bottle on them. Allow to dry. You can seal it if you want but don't ask me which sealer is safe for this because I have very poor luck with that. I used a matte spray sealer from Hobby Lobby and I am not sure it was wise. Tomorrow I will likely apply some MopnGlo and hope that doesn't ruin it.



Yep, Thing 2 is a Stormcloak through and through, boy.
 

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IN MEMORIAM - A Wee Bit Wicked....
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8,670 Posts
:jol: Okay...I am speechless....So..you were throwing the juice bottle away and just "saw" this dragon head in the refuse??? You should apply that incredible brain in solving great world puzzles because you sir are amazing. That is 'SICK' and in a very good way...it is so crazy that you created that wonderful Dragon skull from your wonderful imagination and some trash! I am so impressed...gives a whole new meaning to 'recycle'...No?:D
 

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Super Moderator
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64,110 Posts
Your children are going to see you as the best dad EVER!:)

I really like this piece. The detailing and painting are beautifully done, and I can believe this is what a real dragon's skull looks like.
 

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Witch-Finder of Lilburn
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2,033 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks everybody. I'd love for someone else to try this, especially one of the stronger painters like Dave the Dead and the others. You can do interesting stuff on monster mud with sand in it, and the model magic cracks in nice and unpredictable ways.
 

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Registered
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264 Posts
That is fantastic! I love how you took something as simple as a juice bottle and made such an amazing skull!
 

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Slowly Losing My Mind
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2,820 Posts
How clever and wonderful is that! I love to see creativity out of nothing. Really nice job Rahnefan!
 

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Headless & Haunting
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4,767 Posts
WOW great tutorial and the finished skull looks amazing.
 

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Super Moderator
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64,110 Posts
Now all you have to do is build the skeleton body out of gallon milk jugs:)
 

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Muddled Moderator
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28,214 Posts
Nice job. Just goes to show, anything can be used for making props. :)
 
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