Thar Be Dragons

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.

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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.

Christmas Projects: Wood Dragon in Progress

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.

Christmas Projects: Wood Dragon in Progress

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.

Christmas Projects: Wood Dragon in Progress

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.)

Christmas Projects: Horse, Dragon, and Knight

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!

11 Responses to “Thar Be Dragons”

  • The Tan Family - Syrendell
    December 28, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Oh my goodness…these are wonderful! You could sell these. What special gifts. 🙂


  • Alyss
    December 28, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    They look amazing!! Good work!


  • jackie
    December 29, 2010 at 1:48 am

    So glad that the dragon has been inspiring. The dragon who eats only sweet perfumed flowers was inspired by a Rennaisance painting of George and the Dragon by Uccelo. As a child i had always wondered why teh knight was attacking the princesses beautiful dragon, not knowing the story behind the picture, but making up my own. It looked to me as i she was taking the dragon for a walk on a golden lead, not being held captive by him.
    There are lots of stories tied up in the book waiting to be found, so I hope it continues to inspire, and I love teh wooden dragon.


  • heidi
    December 30, 2010 at 4:48 am

    I love it! What a great idea.
    I’m sure Asher will play with them!


  • Sara
    December 30, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    Thank you, Heidi. I hope you’re right!


  • Sara
    December 30, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    Jackie, I am amazed and honored that you found my little post. Thank you for your comment! I love hearing what inspired your paintings and I must say we love love love your book. I love the way you asked readers what their dragons were like, for it inspired me to ask my 3-year-old. That’s how I knew to make him a blue dragon. Your paintings are marvelous! I’m going looking for more of your books!


  • Sara
    December 30, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    Thanks, Alyss! I’m ridiculously proud of them.


  • rae
    December 30, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    simply stunning!!! you two are so talented. i have been wanting to start making some wooden figures and you are so inspiring!


  • Sara
    December 30, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Thanks, Jennifer! I hope they get played with, but even if they don’t I know what our nature table will look like around Michaelmas next year. I’m eager to make more people and animals. 🙂


  • Sara
    January 6, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Thank you, Rae! I hope I can keep up this momentum and make a few more things before Asher’s birthday at the end of this month. I’m kind of amazed that my 8-year-old says he wants a dragon of his own. I think I’ll ask him to design it.  

    Good luck with your own aspirations!


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  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I’m Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

    © 2003–2018 Please do not use my photographs or text without my permission.

    “Love doesn’t just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.” —Ursula K. LeGuinn

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