This project comes on the heels of our last layered MDF project in which we made a skull. The design of the skull was not our own and was more of a practice piece. That being said, we decided to take our love of dragons and Game of Thrones and feed it into this project.
Unlike the skull design, which we did not own, we can provide you with the 3D model for this project. If you want to make it, you can get the free 3D object file (below) and then download 123D Make which is also linked below. If you’re not sure how to use 123D Make to slice the layers, we suggest you check out the How to Slice Up a T-Rex in 123D Make instructable.
This is a pretty basic design which makes it incredibly easy to assemble.
Make sure you check out the video as it shows a bit more of each step.
Step 1: Making The Slices
Assuming you have already sliced and printed all of your templates, the first step is to get them all cut out. We can’t stress enough how important it is to be organized during this step and every step up until the entire piece if assembled. The parts are numbered for assembly, but this also makes for a great way to organize them.
One thing we have discovered is that cutting some of the paper patterns down saves on material, since you can position them better.
Once they are cut out, we just used some spray adhesive to attach them to a sheet of 1/8″ thick MDF. Then we cut everything down into much more manageable sizes using the band saw.
As far as the work on the scroll saw, that was just preference. For this design, you could easily use the band saw for the whole project. We tend to cut close to the line, but not right on it. We take care of this in the next step.
We run every single piece across the disc sander to get the piece right up to the line. This make for a much more precise round piece then we could probably ever pull off on any saw.
Unlike the skull project, we decided to add a dowel hole into the pattern when we sliced it in 123D Make. This is a 1/8″ hole. You will see in 123D Make that there is an option to set this up. It is very handy. You can read more about it in the T-Rex ible we linked to.
The only other thing to do was make sure everything was organized. We like to group the slices into sets; single digits, 10s, 20s, etc.
Step 3: Assembly
Assembly is pretty straightforward. You assemble it in the order that it is numbered, starting with number one.
For the skull project, we used CA glue to attach everything.
For the dragon egg, we used wood glue. It seemed to work decently, but not as well as the CA glue did. We actually had to clamp it a few times and wait for it to dry.
Step 4: Sanding
At this point the egg is pretty bumpy and looks like something out of Minecraft. To fix this, we just sanded it using a combination of our rotary tool with sanding drums and our random orbital sander. It takes some time, but MDF is an incredibly forgiving material to work with.
Step 5: Carving
To really make it pop and attempting to make it look more realistic, I drew on some scales and a crack in the top of the egg. To bring everything to life we used multiple bits in our rotary tool to carve out all of the details. I can’t really explain how to do this, you just have try some different bits and find what works for you.
What I can say is that we were aiming for the scales to look tapered from the bottom up. We also wanted the scales to look like they were an external shielding over the actual egg itself. Sanding the upper part of the egg down quite a bit and defining the top scales seemed to work out okay.
Step 6: Painting
Before painting the egg, we sealed it with resin. We learned from the last project that if you don’t seal the edges really well, the edges will show through. Three coats for resin seemed to do the trick and only a few small lines are noticeable.
Painting is creator specific I think. I just sat down and made it up as I went. The main thing was making sure there was a dark undercoat on the scales, that way when I painted the actual scales there would be some depth to them. I also added a copper color to the exposed egg because I wasn’t happy with the “eggy” color and the tips of the scales got a little copper color too.
The whole thing was sprayed with a clear coat once it was dry.
Step 7: All Done!
I think some of these layered, stacked or sliced (whatever you want to call them) sculptures seem way more intimidating to make than they actually are. They are a ton of fun to make, especially the shaping and painting steps. We have absolutely fallen in love with the process and plan on making a bunch more sculptures using this technique.
You’ll notice, I also made a little stand for it. Because you gotta show off your work. Right?
We hope this inspired you to try something new or that it was helpful to you in some way. If it was, let us know in the comments below or share your project with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Also, if you would like to help support more DIY projects, like this one, please share this with your friends and family or consider subscribing on YouTube. You can also support us on Patreon.