St David's Day at school went well. The kids loved the school eisteddfod and enjoyed wearing their Welsh costumes too. Ffion was happy to wear my old traditional Welsh costume from when I was a kid, but Tomboy Carys was hell bent on being a welsh dragon, so we had to make her costume.Have you ever wanted to make a dragon mask? Sure you have. Yeah, yeah, you can say you haven't, but I know you have. You'd be mad not to want to make one. So, because you DO have a burning desire to make a dragon mask, and because you are obviously a sensible, frugal individual, and not afraid of a big old mess (because if you are afraid of a big old mess I have no idea why you are here), let me bombard you with a few too many photographs showing you how to make a kick-ass dragon mask out of two milk jugs, some tin foil and a newspaper. Has there ever been a more useful blog post in the history of the internet? No. I'm fairly sure that's what you are thinking.
First of all, you will be needing two of the British style 4pint plastic milk jugs that you have cleaned out and dried. They look like the ones below. The reason that I used milk jugs to make the base of this is because they durable, flexible, easy to cut with scissors and get a stapler through, and they are just sat there in the recycling bin, so, Freeeeee!
We have made plenty of stuff from the US Gallon sized milk jugs while we were living in California, like the Storm trooper helmet and the batman masks. I bet you could still find a way to use the US ones to make a similar design, because they have a larger surface area, so you've actually got more plastic to work with on those.
Now you want to get your second milk jug, and cut off the neck again (save this one for later too). Cut off your handle, and cut off the lower half of the jug (again keep that to use later) This is the piece that you're left with.
So, here's what your finished underlying milk jug structure should look like. Lightweight and sturdy.
The beauty of using tin foil to do this part is that you can add volume really quickly and easily and it adds very little weight to the mask, and when the tin foil is compacted on it is very sturdy and easy peasy to papier mache over.
The kids really got stuck into the papier mache part of the project, and my job was really just ripping up the newspaper while they stuck it on. The horns would have been harder for them to do with bits of paper, so we wrapped them in crepe paper from a streamer roll and then pasted them with the flour and glue mixture instead. To make it easy for the kids to get at, we sat the mask on top of a ceramic jug, so the back of it was raised slightly off the table.
Here's a few pictures of the mask with the dry papier mache, before any painting was done.
Our mask at this point was ever so slightly front heavy, so we added a winged cape and dragon tail to the back of it, which weighted it perfectly and also meant that our costume was complete with just the one item.
Extra decorating included painting on some darker red paint and gluing more sequins on, plus hot glue and glitter scales in places. We weren't too neat about it, but the results are pretty good.
The material all came from two 60p bundles that we found outside a fabric remnants place not far from here, so this has to be one of the cheapest costumes we've made.
Here's the back of the mask where the cape is attached.