Make Dragon Scales with DIY Air Dry Clay

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If you’re sculpting a dragon, lizard, snake or fish, here’s a faster way to sculpt the scales.

This isn’t nearly as precise as sculpting every single scale individually with small sculpting tools, but it is faster. And at a distance you see really nice shadow lines around all the scales, too.

But it’s still going to take some time. This is how I added all of the details on my new Dragon, made from this pattern.

Link to the recipe for Silky Smooth Air Dry Clay.

If you’re wondering if you could use a store-bought air dry clay for dragon scales instead, I really don’t know. The only way to find out is to try it. You might want to do a small experiment first, to make sure the scales don’t come loose from the base of the sculpture when they dry.

My dragon’s first layer was the brown paper that comes in some boxes from amazon.com. It’s just slightly stiffer than newspaper, which would work just as well. I use the brown paper because it looks better in a video. This time I used the cooked flour and water paste to stick the paper to the pattern. The air dry clay works well over dried paper mache clay, too.

How do you sculpt scales?

There are many different ways to sculpt almost everything, so I know there are many ways to make scales that I haven’t thought of yet.

If you have an easier way to sculpt scales, please let us know in the comments below. We’d also love to see your ideas for making scales without air dry clay, because some of the ingredients for that recipe are hard to find in some areas.

And if you’d like to see the pattern for the dragon I used for this demonstration, click here. And see my newest dragon mask pattern here.

13 thoughts on “Make Dragon Scales with DIY Air Dry Clay”

  1. Your dragon is huge and beautiful, my creatures are smaller, but also made of paper, for scales I use grains of rice

    • You didn’t miss it. The teeth come with the pattern. It’s a long strip with sharp triangles cut along one edge. They’re too small to cover with paper mache or clay, so they’re just painted cardboard, but they seem to be working. One could make more traditional teeth with epoxy clay or polymer clay, but I decided to use some I borrowed from the shark toothed dragon dinosaur.

  2. Hi Jonni, loving how your dragon is looking!
    Dan, at GourmetPapermache.com uses ‘cloth- mache’ little folded triangles of old cotton bedsheets to make the scales and I thought that could also maybe work with little folded paper strip & paste triangles?
    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and processes. It really helps.


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