This weekend we were supposed to be at the spring Renaissance Festival. Then the ice-pocalypse swept through the southern US, and we were hit….sort of. Enough that it was just a little too chilly and just a little too wet for us to want to go. So we stayed home, and we’re going next weekend instead.
For the fall faire, if you’ve been with me that long, we play our pirate characters because we go with a big group. For spring faire, we have other characters that are a little more “us.” Husband has always been a spell caster, and last year I joined him in that venture, trying to mesh it with my traveling swordsman from years past. This resulted in what we called our “pop art” mages, and they were okay, I guess.
So, because “okay” is not acceptable, I ended up overhauling mine with a more solid vision. This means I made fourish new pieces. This is one of them.
Dragon scales are one of those funny things that can be as complicated or as easy as you want. No one knows what dragon scales look like. Whatever.
I figured out an easy way to make dragon scales a year ago when I made a dragon scale headpiece for my wedding.
Making the scales
Start with these little wooden ice cream spoons. They’re a few dollars for a 100 count at my local store. My one gauntlet used about 50.
You will also need:
two contrasting colors
weathered wood crackle paint
Paint the color that you want to be the “cracks” in your scale as the first coat on both sides. I used a light buttercream color with the intention of putting a green over it, but a dark color under light works well, too.
Paint a thin layer of the weathered wood crackle paint on the side you want to be the top of the scale. It’s super important that you let it dry completely or the effect won’t work properly. Here’s a spoon turned to ever so slightly catch the light to show how that crackle medium dries. It works by creating sections that won’t hold the next layer of paint leaving the base coat peeking through.
Paint the top coat. I used a green mixed with just a little metallic gray. You can’t tell in pictures, but it gives it an extra bit of sparkle.
4. Paint the gloss varnish on top.
I went back and added a latte color on the underside as a personal taste thing because I thought the buttercream was too light but whatever you fancy.
Cut the handle of the spoon off leaving you with a bunch of little round scales.
Making the Gauntlet Base
Now, because this was intended to be a soft, non-articulated, mostly ornamental, magic gauntlet, I was satisfied to use a piece of fabric for the gauntlet base.
Here are some people who have made much more intricate patterns for more intricate gauntlets
Here’s kinda how I made mine.
Keep in mind that when it comes to small items I’m what I like to refer to as an “organic sewer” (i.e. patterns? what are those?). I make very broad, blocky plans, then work on the fly from there to fit the shape I’m looking for.
I plotted it out on newsprint then tried it on. After that I made adjustments as necessary. It was a little bulky around the wrist, so I ended up adjusting the shape at the top so that it cut around my pulse point and did a little trimming around the finger edge. Since I was planning to do a bias edge, I didn’t need to account for a hem allowance. After getting the shape down, I cut my fabric to match it.
The fabric I used is a faux suede with a wool backing. I didn’t want my gauntlet to be too hot, so I ripped the wool parts off but for a stripe down the middle. Then, I added a bias style edge to the part that was going to be the tied up edge.
Then it was time to put in grommets. If you’ve never done so, it’s super cathartic.
After putting in the grommets I did a bias edge on the bottom then an overcast stitch on the remaining raw edges.
Putting it All Together
Layering the scales is what makes the effect work. I knew that I only wanted strip of scales along the top, but the technique can be applied over any surface.
Plan it first. That’s important. When you fasten the scales you have to do it from the bottom up, so there’s not a lot of room for error.
Once it’s planned, start on the bottommost row, and work your way to the top. This particular fabric holds glue really well, so I used hot glue along the top edge of each scale. This gives it motion and flexibility.
Now, here’s tricky part, and that’s figuring out the unfinished edge. This is what I did.
Other things could be a ribbon or gemstones or some kind of floral element maybe?
Anyway, I also finished it off with a velcro band (yeah totally cheating) that goes around the palm part, and now it looks pretty cool with a wizard staff.