Everyone is looking for fun home-based projects so I’m going to post some of the fun activities I roll out with my own family and the students in my creative writing and art programs.
I’ve already posted Dragon egg building 101, which involved a simple way to craft your own magical creature egg. This second approach is also pretty simple, but is better for older kids.
Dragon Eggs: The Hot Glue Gun approach
Obviously, it’s the hot glue that makes this a poor fit for toddlers! It also requires more patience, since it requires waiting for the hot glue to dry. This is the method that I’ve rolled out at many schools and programs in Canada, Korea, and Thailand—I’ve probably overseen hundreds of these eggs being made!
What you will need:
- Eggs (real, plastic, or cardboard)
- A low-temperature hot glue gun
- Black paint
- Metallic or glitter paint
- Paint brushes
- Mod podge
I’ll repeat here what I said about eggs using the sticker approach. You can use plastic or cardboard ones, which are highly available at this time of year from your local dollar or art craft store.
You can also use real eggs. In this case, you need to poke a hole in both ends, blow out the yolk, rinse the insides with hot water, then bake them at 325 degrees for twenty minutes to “cure” them. Real eggs are obviously more delicate than using the plastic forms, but they will work.
Once you have the eggs prepared, follow these steps . . .
Step 1: Paint the egg black
After a lot of experimentation, I have found this produces the best final result. By painting the eggs a base color of black, you provide a rich base and makes whatever colors you apply over top to be more vivid and vibrant. Because I have often done projects at schools where we needed to build a hundred eggs over a week, I often mass spray-paint a batch in advance, but black acrylic paint works just as well.
Step 2: Apply the hot glue
Once the egg has been given a base color, and the paint has dried, heat up the low-temperature glue gun and start applying it to the egg. You can almost paint it on with the nozzle of the gun, making different patterns and designs. I’ve tried swirls and wavy lines, but, honestly, you can apply it all kinds of random patterns because what you’re really trying to accomplish is make the egg look like it came from anything other than a normal bird!
You can see many of the different styles created by me and my students on this post. If you allow the glue to dry, you can start adding additional layers and build up certain features. I’ve even had students build horns and wings with the hot glue!
Step 3: Paint with metallic paint
Once the black paint is dry, apply your chosen final colors. I find that metallic paints are the best, because they provide the eggs with a magical appearance.
My main recommendation here is to paint lightly or to dry-brush the metallic paint on. This technique works especially well if you have pre-painted the base shell black (though, sometimes, my students apply so much glue, that there is no evidence of the original shell—which is okay, of course!).
You can also dry-brush on different layers or section of colors. If you don’t like the look of something, just paint over it and start again!
Step 4: Paint with mod podge
You can stop after Step 3, but I often like to seal the egg with a layer of mod podge, because it helps protect the paint and makes the egg more durable—which is important if, like my family, you want to plant them around your house or garden for a dragon egg hunt!
If you want your egg to be purely for display, you can always mount it on a base, such as a half-sphere styrofoam ball or, as one of my industrious students did, a cut plastic cup.
If you’re looking for something extra to add to this project, well then there is plenty of storytelling and writing you can do. In my creative writing classes, I often ask my students to write care instructions. You can download the project sheet here.