Asher is really into dragons. He has been playing dragon for quite some time, but we were recently inspired by this book, Tell Me a Dragon, by Jackie Morris. It is simply beautiful and I fully recommend it. It was published in 2009 by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books.
We have been wanting to make some wooden toy figures for a long time, so making him a dragon for Christmas seemed like just the right thing. We used a scroll saw with a blade that turned out to be too lightweight for the job, and yet, it got the job done.
I drew the dragon on paper and cut it out, then I traced it onto a piece of pine. I wish I had paid more attention to the back side of the board, as the back was flawed and we didn’t notice until our dragon was cut out. (Thank you, Ian, for doing the scary work with the saw.) At this point, we were so pleased with our cutout that there was no turning back.
I used regular old acrylic craft paints, slightly watered down, to make a kind of color wash. The wood absorbed the wetness quickly, but there were a few seconds with each application when the colors would blend nicely like watercolors. I painted this dragon in several sessions because I needed to let it dry in between.
The face was last, and I’ll admit I was really scared I’d mess up on the face! I was hoping to achieve a face that looked both friendly and fierce—kind of a tall order! (I am really pleased with how the tail works like a handle. It feels really sturdy.)
Of course, what do you do with just a dragon? Along the way, we created a knight and gave him a horse to ride. The horse had to be to scale to the knight, who was done first, but couldn’t be as big as the dragon. Tricky!
Ian was really clever with the knight’s paint job, I think. They look marvelous together. The figures were sanded lightly after painting to smooth them, then finished with a beeswax and lavender furniture polish. They smell and feel delightful.
Now, let’s hope Asher plays with them!