Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Right so I built a Dragon Library, what did you do this weekend?

Honestly, what could possibly be more targeted at me.  Dragons and books are among my top three favourite things (Sasha always takes the number one spot :)

ETA: As you can imagine, this turned into a novel length post.  TLDR: I made a thing.  Scroll for pics.


So there exists a miniature dragon library?  Designed to fit on my bookshelf?  Take my $$$!!!  😂   But because it's me and A - I don't actually have any $$$ and B - I never got over the toddler phase of wanting to "do it myself" I did not, in-fact, just buy a new toy.

Instead, I bought the kit to make the new toy.

So on the plus side, the kit arrived super-fast -- like weeks ahead of the expected delivery date.  Win (down side - I was supposed to write a paper this weekend.  Oops).  Opened it and it appeared to be of excellent quality materials.  Double win!

Now - I knew before ordering that said kit would have zero instructions re painting.  I reached out to the seller to see if he had any pics or examples or suggestions re paint, and while he responded immediately, it was to acknowledge his own lack of painting skill.   Lol so fair game.  As I also have zero painting skill, I was slightly concerned, but I figured Google could give me the 101.  

However, the other instructions were also not as idiot-proofed as I might've liked.   Keep in mind, in my entire life, I have built a grand total of ZERO models.   And while I'm pretty self-sufficient when I have to be, I'm not in any stretch of the imagination, handy.  More of a duct tape and binder twine kinda gal.  It'll stay together, but it might not be the "correct" way of doing it ;-P   So yeah, instructions would be necessary.

They *did* say if you're going to paint, do that first.  I too had already come to that conclusion, so off I went to Michael's to find paint.  Also brushes, sponges, and whatever else I might need 😂   Now it turns out that as with most hobbies, there is a wide variety of price range for these supplies.   Given that it's my first attempt, I went with cheap.   And you know what - for me it worked.  I found a little package that had a few sponges (including one that looked like a plunger?!?!) and a few brushes.  Perfect.   Also a $2 plastic painter's tray.  OBVIOUSLY I need one of those.   Lol my inner voice was being completely sarcastic and mocking me as I gleefully bought that (clearly I'm a painter now!) and honestly, it turned out to be my single best purchase of the trip.   Classic eh?   And while I definitely understand why anyone who did this more than once wouldn't want the cheapest option, the only thing I had to buy a second set of was equally cheap plunger sponges cause I destroyed the first one.


So this is a library, which means there are a LOT of books.  I decided to colour rather than paint these (thanks to seller advice!) and set about to work...  And then I decided they didn't look enough like books and needed to be decorated.  Now keep in mind, I knew the whole time that when this was complete nobody would EVER see them again.   This is the part that still astounds me.  I willingly put hours into these little books knowing full well I could've painted all but a couple all one colour and been done in seconds.   It was this week's meditation.   And when it came time to give them titles I had a blast -- some are just scribbles, but most are things that have importance to me.  My immediate family members each have their own books, as do the pets, and some of my closest friends.  GRS got a wide book, while my favourite horses over the years are one set of books and my favourite schoolies are another.  Some favourite fantasy books and movies are there, as is the one I wrote.  Some phrases I use a lot or that mean something to me got books (even one or two in Spanish).   One series is places I've visited that are top of my list, another is just random things that matter to me.   So yeah - who needs a therapist?  😂 

Tilt your head left cause it's late and Blogger doesn't have rotate abilities
and I can't be bothered to fix and re-upload ;-P  Maybe in the morning.

Now, I wanted my library to be stone.  Of course I have no idea how to accomplish this.  Googling gave me all kinds of non-relevant answers and a few suggestions that involved shades of grey and a sponge.  Fortunately, thanks to my earlier shopping adventure, I had these supplies.  Unfortunately I had no idea what to do with them.  Fortunately, the way the pieces were stamped in the wood left lots of scrap.  Woohoo - trial and error for the win.   I tried flat dark with sponged light and got a mess.   Then flat light with sponged dark and got a different mess.    I covered both of those with medium.  Cause, why not?  Maybe it would look better when it dried?   Nope.   


Chris suggested using a wash -- which tricky since there was no texture but at this point pretty much no harm in trying.   And it helped -- still wasn't quite what I wanted but it definitely helped.   So with that new knowledge I found the magic sauce, and I'm writing it here not cause I think you could care less but because if some day decades from now I decide I want to repeat this foolishness, I'll have a record of how I did it!   Feel free to skip the rest of this paragraph.   So  - it starts with using a big square sponge to apply a medium grey.  Using the sponge like a brush and a fairly light coat -- a little bit of the wood showing through is actually a good thing as it adds variation to the colour in the end.   Then a round sponge (yeah plunger!) to dab the darkest grey.   Trying to get it to dab somewhat evenly but not too stressed about it cause adding texture isn't a bad idea.   This isn't a full coverage event but most of it.   And then with the lightest grey, a wash.  So severely watered down, using a big flat sponge, painted the whole thing.   Then with a plunger or the end of the wedge, dabbing it for texture and to break up the lines.

Ready to go....

This looked *awesome* in the end.   I was so pleased with it :)

So I had stones and books and needed shelves.   These would be brown.  But I didn't love my brown so I mixed it with black -- much better.  Not sure where I randomly decided mixing colours was a good idea, but why not?  lol it's fun and there are literally no rules.   So pure paint on the shelves, but there are dragons with the shelves and I didn't want them to be brown, nor did I want them to lose the detail engraved in them...    Okay so back to the wash idea.   I went with red, but it was coming out pink...  So I added black and got... purple?   Sure - why not?  lol   Watered it all down and did the book shelf dragons that way.  Now there are also 4 wall dragons and 2 front dragons.   So I did the four wall dragons like that, then mixed another colour to get it less pinky purple for the two front dragons.

Shelves, with assembled arches in the background

Right - for future note, make VERY sure you know exactly how things go together BEFORE painting.  Sure enough, I had two dragons facing the same way of the front colour and I needed two dragons facing alternate ways.  Fail.  I considered just using two purple dragons instead and burying the mistake, but I decided to honour it.  I made it slightly less obvious with a grey wash on top, but if you look closely, the front dragons do not match.  And that's okay.   There's a tradition in sewing crafts to always leave an intentional "error" -- I feel it can carry over here too.  And I mean, dragons obviously aren't all identical, so it's more realistic right?

ALSO under the category of making sure you know how things go together -- there were parts on the arch board that I merrily painted with my new stone technique, only to realize much later when I tried to put them together that, while they actually weren't horrible in stone, they'd look so much more stunning if they were wood colour.   Fail.   Fortunately that was a 30 second fix with some brown/black mix paint. AND I got to mix more paint ;-P

AND - if you still haven't learned the lesson about making sure you know how things go together - after finishing all the stone and thinking it might be time to put stuff together, I realized the tall arch pieces (of which there were 3 -- arches had way more pieces than you would imagine) needed the backs painted as well.  *sigh*   Rinse and repeat the stone painting.

And while I was at it, the stone section I had painted to go behind the bookcase, wouldn't go all the way up the wall...   Okay - go locate walls, and while I'm at it roof and floor, to turn them all stone too.   Also - there were NOT good instructions for this.  All the finicky parts (bookshelves, arches, etc) were exceptionally well labelled.   The walls, floor, and outside casing - not at all :(   It took longer than I'd like to admit to figure out how that was going to work and which pieces actually needed to be painted *sigh*.  But I did!  So please about that.   And I got all the extra pieces painted.

Bookcases ready to be assembled. 

Okay so with everything painted, it was time to put things together.  I started with the arches (in reality, I did these while waiting for paint to dry on the bookshelves ;).  I still didn't entirely understand the instructions and there weren't useful pictures, so I sent a message to the seller about both that and a question I had about the bookshelves.   To his credit, he answered almost right away (and acknowledged his instructions might need some work).  His message clearly answered my question so I was good to go.  Put the arches together and put them off to the side.   Put the book cases together and load up the books.  hmmmm more books than bookcases.  That seems too real life for a fantasy library 😂  But it did allow that I could choose not to use some of my earlier designs / colours that didn't really work out so well.

All the best libraries have too many books

Okay so still with me?   By this point I have bookcases, filled with books, and with dragons attached.   I have walls, 2 floors (cause why would one be sufficient?), ceiling, and arches that have been painted stone.  Arches are assembled.  And stone floor has been washed and turned into stone.   Time to put it all together.

Okay so that's roughly how it'll work ;)

Right.  So attach mirror to back wall, and floor to floor.   Then centre arch to side wall, then side wall to back wall, and we get:


The instructions don't really say when or how to insert the book cases so I deemed this was a good time:

Then a second wall and some more bookcases:

And then very cool - the lights!!!   Dragon's fortunately don't require qualified electricians.

I love the eerie green tinge they give everything.

Then the outside box, which was way more of a challenge than it should've been, and the front arch attaches as the final item.
It amused me more than it should to have a dragon
helping build the dragon library
And in the end...

I'm really pleased with this

In-situ.  Alas, all my fantasy shelves are currently in storage
so the dragons will have to suffer in Spanish for a while
Rest assured, it will one day have a proper home.

In darkness...

And at a distance for size comparison


Very well done! Love it!


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