Continuing our love for dangerous, flying things that breathe fire and are just as magical as unicorns, we’re going to learn how to make some awesome Game of Thrones-inspired, Mother of Dragon eggs – and then use them to make a pretty awesome necklace – or twelve.
The Mother of Dragons has got to be one of the most-epic titles in all of fantasy and science fiction, and Daenerys Targaryen’s character certainly fits the bill perfectly. In the novels (and the TV show, of course) you watch a young, naive, silver-haired girl transform into this powerful, headstrong – yet compassionate – woman who in fact is the ‘mother’ of three dragons. Not biologically, of course… there was this thing with a funeral pyre, a witch, and some dragons eggs. She comes from a long line of dragon warriors and unlike her brother – she cannot be harmed by fire. After several centuries of dragons being nothing more than legends and stories, their return will mark the coming of a new era… but I’m not going to spoil anything for you. Mostly because A) George R.R. Martin hasn’t finished writing the novels yet and B) people who spoil anything GoT related go to the special hell. The special hell, I say.
After reading Jordan’s post earlier today, it’s clear that I’m not the only one who loves dragons. Beautiful and terrifying all at the same time. Most stories with dragons in them have me hooked almost instantaneously and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Heck I had a frellin’ childhood crush on Sean Connery’s voice after watching Dragonheart. But let’s face it – who doesn’t have a crush on that man or his voice. /swoon.
For this, our most momentous themed week (at least so far for this year), I wanted to come up with something that is both crafty, awesome, AND fairly inexpensive so that you – humble Nerdship – could partake and we could all have our own little dragons eggs. So with a little inspiration from the series and some fact checking on color schemes I decided to create a little DIY for you all.
Before we dive head first into poly-clay and jewelry things, let’s talk about dragon eggs for a second. Specifically Game of Thrones mythos Dragon Eggs – and their contained dragons. With very rare exceptions, the dragons of the Game of Thrones universe come in three different color patterns:
- Black with areas of red.
- Green with areas of bronze.
- White with areas of gold.
The dragons eggs seem to keep up with this color scheme, though most have now been destroyed or have turned to stone – like Daenerys’ … or so everyone thought. The eggs themselves appear to be scaled as well – you can be sure not to confuse one with a chicken egg. Not that you would do that, I’m just sayin’ that’s there’s a clear distinction there. (Also, I am stupendously hungry right now and could really go for some eggs…)
Here’s an actual description of the dragon eggs:
Like most reptiles, dragons lay clutches of eggs. Dragon eggs are roughly the size of a human child’s head, and as heavy as stone, so they need to be carried with two hands. The outer shell is covered in scales, with vastly different color patterns between eggs, usually matching the color of the dragon inside. Dragon eggs are notoriously difficult to hatch, though they can maintain the spark of life inside of them for decades if not centuries. The secret key to hatching the eggs seems to involve some form of blood magic: as the House words of the Targaryens hint, it requires “fire and blood”. To hatch them, dragon eggs must be burned in roaring flames, with which another creature is simultaneously being burned alive – a life in exchange for a life. In the wild this might just be a prey animal that the parent dragon kills, but human sacrifice will also work.
Now that we’re armed with knowledge about what these eggs are supposed to look like… let’s make some.
Because who doesn't want to have their very own dragon's egg... that's right - nobody.
- Sculpey or Fimo polymer clay in which ever color of egg that you would like to make. I am a fan of mixing my own colors so I bought enough to do so. You can find these at your local craft store or online.
- Clay working / sculpting tools: Again, you can find these at your local craft store – specifically you will need some wooden / bamboo shaping tools and a non-serrated knife that you don’t really care about any more. I found a sculpting tool set that was $4 or $5 dollars from Michael’s. These things do not need to be expensive since you’re working with fairly soft clay and most of the time you’re going to be using your hands.
- Acrylic Paint: Correlate your colors to the colors of clay you bought – make sure that you have at least a black (either flat or metallic) so that you can do some distressing or shading as well as another color that is fairly pearlescent for some highlighting. The rest is up to you.
- Jewelry Head Pins and Rings/Loops: Be sure to pick a coordinating finish that will match your necklace.
- Clear Acrylic sealer, in aerosol form: This will help keep your dragon’s egg looking shiny while at the same time keeping it protected.
- Jewelry (rounded) needle nose pliers and a pair of standard needle nose pliers: This will help you shape your head pins and all that other fun jewelry related bendy things. (Scientific term, ya’ know.)
- A recycled necklace chain, or a new one: If you want to, you can buy the chain and clasps and make your own necklace, but if you’ve got some outdated necklaces lying around with really cool chains – reuse them. Craft stores have a plethora of choices.
- Beads and other decorations to go on the necklace. This part is really up to you. You can make your necklace as gaudy or as simple as you’d like.
- A ruler.
Other tools necessary:
- An oven, either standard or toaster oven will do – as long as you can bake your clay at 235F.
- IMPORTANT NOTE: Several poly-clay hobbyists and magazines warn that some clays release chemicals while baking that can leach on to your oven and potentially pass on to your food. It’s always best to err on the side of caution but since I’m not a poly-clay enthusiast and will maybe only do one or two batches in my toaster oven – while using non-food prep pans and lots of tin foil – I think I’ll be alright. My mom is big into poly-clay crafts and I remember being fine growing up before all the warnings came out. The option is up to you.
- A well-ventilated area while you are spraying your clear acrylic sealant. This stuff stinks and the fumes can get pretty obnoxious so make sure you’ve at least go some kind of fan or something moving air around – or better yet – go outside.
- Soften and blend your clay together (if you’re mixing colors) so that it is to your liking and is malleable enough to work with easily. Some poly-clay can be a mother to work with initially because they’re rock hard. If that’s the case (and you’re making multiple eggs) – place the package of clay between your butt and the chair you’re sitting in for about 20 minutes. This sounds weird but it will help warm the clay up while you’re working on the others – think of it as multitasking. Keep in mind how big you want your eggs to be – if you’re going to make them for the necklaces you won’t need more than 1.5” or 2” cubic inches of clay for the base shape and the scales.
- Pinch off the amount you’re going to use for the basic shape of your egg. Normally going with half of your clay that you’ve prepared with give you a good size with plenty of clay left over for scales. Roll it in your hands until you have a defined egg shape.
- Time to make the scales. This is by far the most time-consuming and tedious part of the whole DIY. I suggest watching an episode of Game of Thrones while you do this. To make the scales, take a small amount of clay – about the size of a thumb tack head or 1/2 a pea – roll it into a ball, squish it between your fingers and then shape one of the sides into a point.
- Blend your scale on the egg shape. First only press the non-pointy side of your scale into the egg, then continue applying scales until you have made a full ring around the egg. START FROM THE BOTTOM AND MOVE TO THE TOP. Once your row is complete you can then take your clay blending tool (I favor the one that’s shaped like a slightly pointy spoon) and blend the non-pointy end of your scale into the other clay. If you want you can push the backend of the shaper into the pointy side so that it gives more of a scale like appearance. It’s up to you, I’m a texture junky and even though my version isn’t exactly like the Game of Thrones eggs… I like it.
- Continue building layers until you’ve reach the top fifth of your egg. Be sure that your layers are of centered from the previous layer. Almost like filling in the gap in a family portrait. Also, be careful not to squish your bottom layers with your fingers as you’re working.
- When you’ve finished the scales portion – you’re going to pinch off the top of the egg, slightly twist it, and smooth with your blending tool.
- You will then take your jewelry head pin – flat side down – and carefully/gently push it into your egg. This will be your anchor to help mount this onto your necklace. Gently twist the clay at the top around the pin to help lock it in place and then smooth accordingly. This part is a bit tricky so that you don’t squish your dragon scales into one another so just take your time and don’t be all stabbity with the head pin.
- Preheat your oven to 235F and take a baking sheet and line it with aluminum foil and then with parchment paper. You will bake your eggs for 15 minutes per .25” thickness of clay. I baked mine for 45 minutes and they seemed to come out just perfect. If you underbake poly-clay it will be malleable and break, if you over bake your clay it will become brittle and crack/shatter. Also, you’re going to have to flatten out the bottom of your egg a little bit so that it stays upright in the oven while it’s baking. Note: the color of your clay will darken a little after baking so don’t freak out. Remove from the oven once your time has elapsed and let it cool. Don’t mess with it for at least 20-30 minutes so that it can cool and harden back up.
- Once your eggs have cooled, let the painting commence. We’re going to use a dry brush technique for these eggs so that look textured and not just covered in gooey amounts of paint. First we’re going to use a base color – one that is similar to the main color of your egg. I used a creamy, metallic gold color. I held the egg by the pin, barely dipped the brush into the paint, dabbed a little of it off on to a clean area on the board that was holding the paint, and lightly brushed from the top towards the bottom. Then I took a dark black, did the same thing with dabbing most of the paint off, turned the egg upside-down and started lightly painting from the bottom to the top. This creates the illusion of shadows as well as making it look a little more aged and distressed. I finished off with a tiny amount of metallic off-white to help highlight some of the raised areas and then let the egg dry completely. It’s always best to use different paint brushes in between colors. I found that the fan brush was perfect for the darker colors because it wasn’t as densely packed and it gave a great texture and effect to the egg. Bonus: I broke the rules and used some liquid gold leaf to add a little more ‘pop’ to the eggs. Liquid leaf is a pain to work with so I don’t recommend it unless you’ve worked with it before.
I was painting multiple eggs… so I used a mix of a lot of colors.
- Once all your paint is completely dry, take your egg, a piece of cardboard, a piece of parchment paper and your clear acrylic sealant out to a well ventilated area and coat your egg completely with the sealant. Let it dry for an hour or so. Try your hardest to not breathe these fumes… they’re gross and will definitely give you a headache if you’re not careful.
- Time to carefully bend your headpin into a loop so you can attach it to your necklace. Be gentle and don’t go all “Hodor in a Thunderstorm” on it. Roll it into a loop. If you overwork the headpin it will break and then you’ll be plumb out of luck.
- Then take a jewelry loop and attach that to your necklace and style as you see fit.
Voila’ – You’re done, Mother of Dragons!
The best part about these necklaces is that you can customize them to however you see fit. I’ve made several which will be posted up on our Etsy page either by tomorrow for your purchasing pleasure. *Wink wink nod nod* Personally I feel that each egg comes with a different personality, so I made necklaces to match.
All told I’ve made about 18 different necklaces in two main styles: Valyrian and Dothraki. Within each main style are variances but I figured for the post I would explain them to you a bit.
- The Valyrian style is of the same vein as the necklace pictured above. A rounded dragons egg, metal chains, and embellishments.
- The Dothraki style is much more organic with leather, stone and cording (pictured below).
All of the necklaces will be up on our Etsy page by tomorrow evening, so if you’d rather save yourself the effort – you can always ‘take’ one off of our hands. All proceeds from our Etsy store help to maintain / upkeep our humble little blog so every little bit helps.
And now for the giveaway, yes – you heard me – A GIVEAWAY!
We decided to post it on another page just so people don’t get lost or confuzzled.