Art Inspiration: Dragon’s Head Reconstruction, Stage 3



Several years ago I was asked by the after school teachers to create a dragon head for a Christmas pageant. In the show we were celebrating different celebrations around the world around Christmas time. One of then was a dragon dance from China, which is why they needed a dragon’s head.

In the end it was a great creation and the students and teachers enjoyed it very much. Yet after the performance we did not need the head any more and I was about to through it out. But a teacher asked if she could have it for a lesson on Chinese New Year so I said sure she could have it. Every year after she brought it out for the class and the school to help celebrate Chinese New Year.
But the ravages of time are ever-present and the head began to come into disrepair and in the past year the jaw finally fell off. To be honest I made the head within a month and did not expect it to last a year let alone over 6 or 7. So when a teacher asked if I could fix up the head, I was more than happy to fix it.


Stage 3


I waited about a day to let the second coat of paint dry on the details. After I got an aerosol can of clear varnish to spray-paint the entire head. However I did this in stages as I was going to add something new to the head.
Adding Glitter with the Clear coat

Adding Glitter with the Clear coat

I wanted to give the illusion of scales and make the dragon’s head sparkle; therefore I sprayed the head in sections adding red sparkles or glitter to the freshly painted area. This was to allow the glitter to stick to the head but once I glittered the area I re-sprayed the area with the glitter so that it would stick better onto the head. I did this process over the entire head with the exception of the yellow horns, teeth and eyes. Once the glitter and spraying was done I gave the head a third and final spray with the clear varnish. Basically I used an entire spray can on the clear coat. I wanted it to be glossy but also the varnish would protect the head from hopefully losing any of its colour and fading.
I then had to let it dry for about a week. First off, so that the clear coat stuck properly, but mostly for the smell from the aerosol paint. It took that long for the smell in my garage to dissipate. I did not want to do the final touches in my studio with that smell in the house.
Attaching the cloth beard to the bottom

Attaching the cloth beard to the bottom

Once the smell was gone I then began attaching the cloth to the back of the head and a cloth beard to the bottom. The original cloth was the same but we attached a second cloth that was about 3 meters long for the body of the dragon. Then about every 75cm we attached a hula-hoop to the cloth so the students to hold onto for the dragon dance. There were about 6 students doing the dance, one for the head and the rest for the body. I then attached two smaller cloth pieces on the sides for the ears. I attached the cloth to the head using a hot glue gun. I started attaching the cloth from the centre and then moving outwards.
The final step I decided to give the dragon whiskers coming out from his nose. I intertwined two pipe cleaners using red, white and yellow. I then made four small holes in the nose area, two on either side to place the pipe cleaners in. I then added hot glue to attached the pipe cleaners.
Once done, I had to give it a name. My original idea was to model the dragon from the small dragon character from Disney’s Mulan named Mushu, therefore this dragon will be named Mushu. It seemed a fitting name.

Disney’s Mushu

I took the dragon’s head, Mushu, to the school and everyone loved it. I showed the kindergarten students, the teachers and they all had so many questions. Yet this was for a specific teacher and the grade 2’s in the school. Once they saw the dragon’s head, their eyes lite up. In the process of answering their questions I mentioned that this was for the grade 2’s, the smiles and reaction on their faces were golden. Seeing those smiles made all this work worthwhile.
In the Ontario curriculum they teach the students about celebrations around the world. For this coming Chinese New Year they will have a new dragon, Mushu, to help celebrate the arrival of the New Year. This coming year is the year of the monkey. It seems fitting they have a new dragon’s head to help celebrate the year of the monkey, given to them from a person born on the year of the monkey. Funny how life works out doesn’t it.
Me with Mushu

Me with Mushu

So from this monkey, I hope you enjoy the images of the third and final stage of the Dragon Head Reconstruction.



2 Responses to Art Inspiration: Dragon’s Head Reconstruction, Stage 3

  1. Pingback: Friday Two Cents: Building Many Happy Memories With A Dragon’s Head | Paul Gauchi

  2. Pingback: Friday Two Cents: It Is Within Me | Paul Gauchi

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