The Mid Atlantic Renaissance Festival is a yearly event held in Crownsville, Maryland. It’s a pretty big deal, but it’s not nearly as large as the Texas Renaissance Festival, so there’s more room for creative expression.
This year, my sister and I decided to make a dragon costume to wear at the festival. It was a lot of work and we learned a ton from the process. We’ll try to document as much of it as possible here.
We decided to make a dragon costume for the Mid Atlantic Renaissance Festival. This is how we did it.
What do you do when your son, who is almost two, announces that he wants to be a dragon for Halloween?
You make him a dragon costume. But not just any dragon costume. It has to be awesome, because everyone else’s kid will have some lame store-bought costume. And it has to be inexpensive, because you’re poor and the economy is still in the tank.
It turns out that nobody makes dragon costumes in sizes 2T or 3T, so you take matters into your own hands. You buy an old pair of jeans on eBay and a bunch of foam rubber from JoAnn Fabrics, and you set up an assembly line in your basement.
In the course of making this costume you discover that:
o You don’t know how to use a sewing machine. Ok, if you’re going to make costumes for your kids every year you’ll need to learn how to use a sewing machine…
I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Mid Atlantic Renaissance Festival in Crownsville, MD. I was very impressed by the entertainment and was particularly taken with the dragons that I saw wandering around. When I got home, I asked my daughter (who is eight) if she would like to make a dragon costume for next year’s festival.
She said “sure,” so I started looking for patterns online. I couldn’t find anything that really suited our purposes (or wallets), so we decided to design our own.
The tail has been completed and we have started work on the body. The head will be completed last since it is the most challenging part of the project.
It was a hot muggy day in August. We were in the middle of our first trip to the Mid Atlantic Renaissance Festival in Crownsville, Maryland. It is one of the smaller festivals we attend, but still fun. As we wandered from booth to booth, we came across a wonderful leather worker’s shop. There was an array of interesting items in his booth, including some dragon masks. This set me to thinking about the dragon costume I had been working on for a couple of years now.
The basic concept was that I would wear a pair of wings and have a tail with a fire-breathing head that I would hold over my own head (using a harness). The tail would be long enough so that it looked like I was carrying it as I walked around. It seemed like a simple enough idea at first, but what I hadn’t realized when I started this project is that there are many parts of this process that are going to take quite some time to develop properly and test.
I had been working on the wings for a while and they were starting to look like they were going to work out pretty well, but the tail itself was taking much longer than expected. My wife Lisa had made some wonderful looking scale patterns out of craft foam,
For the next year, we will be producing a line of dragon costumes scaly enough to satisfy a child and substantial enough for an adult.
The dragon costume is one of the most versatile costumes available. It can be used for many different occasions and events. Halloween, birthday parties, school plays, Renaissance Festivals, conventions, you name it! The dragon has been used to promote various products and services as well. Dragons have been seen in commercials for everything from soft drinks to cars.
We are going to be using this blog to post updates on our progress building the costumes as well as pictures and videos of our customers enjoying their new dragons.
Warning: This is going to be long. In case you don’t have time to read this whole thing, here’s the summary: We made a dragon costume! It’s awesome!
Okay, now for the details.
The jaw is made of a rigid plastic board covered with fiberglass cloth and resin. The teeth are carved out of a 2×4, the tongues are cut from 1/4″ plywood, and the teeth and tongues are held in place by screws. The horns are fashioned from PVC pipe, wood dowels, and more fiberglass. The ears were made from heavy cardboard and covered with fiberglass.
We did not have time to make all three heads before the festival, so we brought only one head for the first weekend, just in case it didn’t work. Fortunately it did work, so we made two more heads for the second weekend!