Jun 23, 2014

Posted by in DIY | 86 Comments

Dragon Eggs: A Tutorial

Oh lordy, am I really doing my first ever tutorial? And it’s not even a nail tutorial? WHAT IS LIFE!? How did I get here? Do I have to wear to pants?

Today I’ll be answering NONE of those questions. Instead we’ll be delving into the crafting world, with a side of lacquer.

I apparently broke the internet a few days ago when I revealed my latest dragon egg creation, and since then have received more emails, PMs, comments, and messages than I can count. Everyone wants a tutorial, and I’m all about pleasing, yo!

I’ll start off by saying that these are incredibly easy to make, albeit a tad tedious, and all sorts of cheap. I should also counter with the fact that stabbing thumbtacks into an egg is not my original idea. In fact, I spent the better part of five hours yesterdays trying to find the tutorial that I first used. Alas, I have failed. I made several of these eggs using plain tacks, without painting them, as they were made that way in the aforementioned tutorial. If you are a close friend, you probably got one of these for Christmas. You’re welcome.

It was one of these gifts that led to the idea of painting them. A friend asked if I could make them in colors, as she’d love one for her daughter’s birthday. And then it hit me like the heaviest bag of bricks in the world…. PAINT THESE MOFOS WITH NAIL POLISH! I only have like a gajillion bottles! The possibilities were endless!

And thus was born my first painted egg!

[Edit: The polishes used in the egg shown below are Delushous Goddess, from Delush Polish and Serenity, from Digital Nails.]

Accio Lacquer: Serenity Egg

I have made a few here and there since then, but nothing has touched the holy majesticness of my latest egg. For this tutorial I’ll be showing you how I made that specific one.

Accio Lacquer: What Does One Name An Egg Such As This

Let’s get this how-to started, shall we? I’ll apologize in advance for any problems. Again, first ever tutorial here.

Things You’ll Need

Accio Lacquer: You Will Need

- Styrofoam Egg Forms (You can find these at craft stores or online)

- Thumb Tacks (200 +/- if you make an egg the same size as mine. I buy mine from The Dollar Store.)

- Nail Polish(es) of Your Choice

- Sheet of Cardboard, Foamboard or Styrofoam (something soft that you can stab your tacks into)

- Clear Topcoat (optional, but totally recommended)

- Glue (I like E6000)

Step One – Picking Out Your Colors

This step is about as self-explanatory as it gets. You can opt to use just one color, you could do a sponge gradient, a sandwich of jelly finishes and glitter, you could even do a multi-colored egg by painting  each tack a different color! Your egg could be mottled, it could be matte, glow in the dark, UV reactive, it could be holo – just made one of those myself! It could be a gradient that changes colors from top to bottom. Seriously, the only limit here is your imagination.

Once you have an idea of what you’d like to try, test out your polishes on scrap paper, a nail wheel, or even a spare thumb tack. You definitely want to test before moving on though, to be sure that what worked in your head looks good in reality. *speaks from experience*

Also, a little tip. If you decide you want to use a special, rare, or more expensive polish to make your egg, I would suggest using a matching base color underneath it, so that you’ll have to use less of your good polish. Just going by the eggs I’ve made using single colors, it takes about a third of a bottle of polish to make an egg (less if you are using more colors, of course), so using a base color under a nicer polish will help you to use less.

Step Two – Monotony

The first part is the tedious bit I warned you about. Once you get through this bit you’re golden. First thing you’ll need is a sheet of a stabalicious material, something you can push all of your tacks into, to hold them in place while you paint them. Be sure that you leave a bit of room between each tack, and don’t push the tacks all the way into whatever material you’re using. You want them pushed in just enough so that they are stable and don’t wobble around. I am a fan of using large sheets of foam, but for this tutorial I’ve used the lid of a takeout dinner box. Classy.

I’ll give you a nice tip here, as I learned the hard way. Taking the time to line up rows of tacks gets old fast, but please, try to push back the thoughts of just stabbing them in all willy nilly. Once you start painting these, it will be a million times easier to remember which tack you last painted when they are all neat and orderly. Sure it’s easy to tell what has been done and what hasn’t when you’re putting that first coat of brightness onto a clean tack. But once you get into second coats, and topcoats ESPECIALLY, you’ll be thankful for the order. Promise.

The amount of tacks that you’ll need will depend entirely on the size of egg form you’ll be using. I prefer 1 7/8″ x 2 1/2″ as this size is perfect as a prop to grip in my photos. It’s pretty much the size of a normal chicken egg. But these forms come in all different sizes, so it’s totally your call. One thing to think of, if you get a larger egg form, the size of the “scales” will look a little bit off, as the thumb tacks will look smaller on a larger model.

Using my 1 7/8″ – 2 1/2″ inch eggs I find that I use an average of 200 tacks per egg. Considering that I can get a pack of 300 tacks from The Dollar Store, this is a win!

Step Three – The Fun Part

You survived the bore of mindless, repetitive tack placement! CONGRATULATIONS! Go have a celebratory glass of something. You’ve earned it!

Now comes the easy part: PAINTING.

Starting from one row and moving down, paint a thin coat of your base polish. For me, this is Sally Hansen Loves Me Not. It’s a deep, almost black, purple with color shifting micro flecks. By the time you get all the way to your 200th tack there’s a damn good chance that your first tack has already dried completely, making it ready for the next round of painting. This has almost always been the case for me.

If you are only painting one color, and the first coat made it opaque, then you are ready to topcoat! But let’s more forward and figure you’re still going, okay? If your tacks are looking anything like mine you’ll probably need a second coat of your base color – this is where you’ll thank yourself for lining up your tacks instead of going all helter skelter.

After your base color is opaque AND dry you can move forward to glitter. I’m going to assume you ARE using glitter…because it’s glitter and it’s awesome and DUH!

When I add my glitter, I like to kinda slop some down onto the tack, like dab it on. If you try to paint it on neatly it’s probably going to slide off the edge with the brush, so dab it on in the same way you’d dab it on were you doing a manicure. Oh, and I used Nabi Purple Jumbo Glitter (161) for this egg. Once you get the glitter applied, give it a good while to dry. Maybe watch an episode of Game of Thrones while envisioning yourself as the Mother of Dragons.

And finally, we topcoat! This is entirely optional, but I fully recommend doing it. It will make your egg more durable, less prone to chipping, and omg so much shinier! I have a butt-ton of Seche Vite left over from when I used to swear by it for every single manicure ever, so I like to use it for my eggs. It dries crazy fast, is thick enough to envelope all the glitters, and just looks awesome! I once did an egg using cheapo topcoat, Wet N Wild I think, and it was great because I had it on hand….but I was never able to smooth out the bumps made by the glitter…and it took FOR-EH-EH-HE-HEEEEEVER to dry! Two coats of Seche does it for me.

Once you have the topcoating done, leave the tacks alone to dry/cure overnight. I know this is hard. They will call out to you like a siren to a fisherman. But ignore their persuasive ways. Go read a book. Leave the tacks alone. They don’t know what’s best.

Step Four – Some Assembly Required

Source: Yo

And now for the last step! This part moves pretty fast once you get started. First off, take your styrofoam egg and hold it with the fat end up. Do your best to determine the center of the bottom of the egg and push in your first tack.

From there you just want to circle your tacks around that first one, spiralling out, and taking care to be sure that each new tack overlaps the one before it. It is the overlapping that holds the tacks in place. You don’t have to second guess your every move here, but also realize that you don’t want to get sloppy.

As you move up, your spiral will probably start to get uneven in places, just keep going. For whatever reason, it will always even out up at the top. Every last one that I’ve made got uneven in the center. It just happens. Once they are finished you can’t tell.

When you get to your last tack at the very tippy-top of your egg, stab it into place, then take it back out. Carefully apply some glue or epoxy to both the hole you just made in the egg (it doesn’t have to go IN the hole, just make sure it’s over the hole) and the stem of the tack. Now pop that gluey tack back in place and admire your wondrous abilities!!!

Step Five – Optional

Realize how addictive this is/make fifty thousand more eggs!

Accio Lacquer: What Does One Name An Egg Such As This

I really hope you liked this tutorial and that it gets you started on making your own eggs! If you do decide to make one (or a million), please tag me on Instagram (@acciolacquer) or post to my Facebook page so I can enjoy your awesomeness!

If anything was unclear, please feel free to comment down below and I’ll do my best to further explain.

Geek & Love,

Mish

  1. Well I know what everyone is getting for Christmas next year! Haha. Glitter all the things!

  2. I’m imagining endless Christmas ornaments. THESE ARE AWESOME!

  3. Ashley r says:

    Instantly. Addicted. To. These. Eggs. Amazeballs!

  4. Well, there goes any plans I had this weekend!

  5. This is amazing and I adore your tutorial. Great job! I’m so gonna make one of these beauties. I’ll be sure to show you the pics!

  6. Amazing tutorial thanks! I know what my family is getting for Christmas XD

  7. Michaela K says:

    Amazing! Fantastic tutorial! You need to do more of these eggs and tutorials!

  8. Great tutorial and beautiful eggs. I might have to try this. They’d make great Christmas ornaments. They remind me of the ones made with folded cloth/ribbon but prettier.

  9. Ah! Thank you for the new idea for my living room & bedroom centerpiece. Awesome tutorial.

  10. Kimberly Y says:

    And this is how I’ll take some of my polish to my dorm room without risking the bottle. Maybe.. I dunno if I can live without some of those polishes..

  11. squeakynails says:

    This is BRILLIANT. Seriously, ily.

  12. Lindsey Garner says:

    Well, I am now completely obsessed. It’s five am and I am wondering what time the Dollar Store opens. Hehe!! These are so awesome! I cannot wait to try them! Thanks so much for the tutorial! Now I will have a new prop for when I photograph my manis! I’m just afraid of using so much of my polishes. I’m a cheapskate!!

  13. Great tutorial – now I’ve got something else to obsess over! (And hopefully use up some of my numerous polishes!)

  14. This is so beautiful I want to cry <3

  15. Oh no. I have a near endless supply of polish. Next time I got to Michaels (which I was planning anyway for other arts stuff) I’m going to have to pick up some eggs…

  16. This is awesome! I cannot wait to try making my own!

  17. I am going to have to make one ASAP. They are so cool! Plus, maybe there’s a chance of a GoT line in my future and obviously I need an egg for pictures.

  18. I’ve always admired your eggs but never commented on them. I had figured this was basically how it was done but the diagram with the spiral photo really helped! You did a great job on the tutorial, thanks!

  19. Love this!
    What’s the purple polish you used for the first egg? Must have it!

  20. Brilliant! Now I have another reason I need such a big nail polish stash–I need to make many of these eggs. :)

  21. Screw real life. This is my life now. I’m going to end up being the lady with 9,000 pin dinosaur eggs in my house, covering every surface.

  22. OH NO, what have you done!!!! I have work to do. I have dollars I need to make to keep a roof over my head. When you see me homeless, sitting on the curb with a box full of stunning dragon eggs you will know that it was your fault I spent all my money on thumbtacks and foam eggs.

  23. Love this I am so making some !!!

  24. asdfjkl; this is brilliant!! Omg. I must acquire these egg forms ASAP! I absolutely love it and you are a genius.

  25. Hah! This was amaaaazing! :D

  26. That’s it. I’m calling in sick to work today. Pin eggs all day!
    Thank you for this wicked tutorial!

  27. This is so awesome! I hope I’ll find the time and create some xmas decorations like these. your flakie combo dragon egg is so so beautiful i could look at it all day long!

  28. OMGosh! This is soooo awesome! I’m very uncrafty but I reeeally want to try this out O.O

  29. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! So much awesome!

  30. I AM FREAKING OUT – genius!

  31. Wow a little bit of ribbon under that last glued on tack and Xmas ornaments oh yeah!

  32. To save time and polish, you can use spray paint as the base colour, and even the top coat (spray varnish) :)

  33. Omg, this is so awesome! Thanks for the tutorial! Maybe I’ll try my hand at it and “fairy dust that shit” while I’m at it :D

  34. Are you in Instagram? I made one (it’s SO gorgeous) and I wanted to tag you on IG! My username is @rosyposytoesies Thanks for the wonderful tut!

  35. How gorgeous! I’m totally gonna make some! I don’t have very good nail polishes though so I hope it works. I’m going to get some slightly bigger eggs and call them Mermaid Eggs and give them to some of my friends because we each have mermaid tails that we use all the time :)

  36. This was hilarious! And of course very informative. :D Thanks!

  37. i really like the simplicity to the tutorial and i noticed you said the larger the egg the more the scales will look off? well i am planning to cosplay daenerys and would like to do the dragon eggs, but of course the size of the eggs are pretty large…in your opinion do you think if i matched the actual size of the eggs will the scales look really bad?

    • First, I SO WANNA SEE PICS OF YOUR COSPLAY WHEN YOU HAVE IT READY!!! :D And I have to say, a fair number of folks have been making the giant eggs, myself included, and I really think they look great. I definitely prefer the proportions of the small eggs and tacks, but there’s still just something about a big ass egg! This shows a great example of what a big egg looks like with normal-sized tacks. http://www.reddit.com/r/RedditLaqueristas/comments/2d90uk/dragon_egg_made_with_push_pins_painted_in_glitter/ You can click on that thumbnail to see a much larger photo of the egg. The proof is in the pudding that even the big eggs look great. :D Hope this helps…and beware funeral pyres!!!

    • molly ruleman says:

      You can get larger size thumb tacks on Staples website. I am making them for my daughter who’s using same character. Great tutorial awesome eggs. Thank you.

  38. I immediately squeed when I saw this, and I have been planning to make a pile of these for a while. I’m at the “test all the colours” stage, and I have to say, this is much harder than I expected it to be! I have test tacks in styrofoam and the best I can say for most of them is “meh”. Some are gems, but the majority kinda suck, at least on one tack.

    I knew your discovery and your tutorial took creativity and hard work, but now I’m appreciating how much of both it did take, and I respect your creation even more.

    I will leave a link to a photo if I make one that rocks!

  39. What were the polishes/glitters used for the green egg? ty

  40. this eggs are like a color of a butterfly

  41. Awesome, thank you..need it now!!!

  42. I recently got a gorgeous dragon-esque box as a gift (any description cannot possibly do its beauty justice), and really really wanted to buy some dragon eggs to put inside. Because what else would I put in a dragon box besides dragon eggs? So I shopped around and found they are all hundreds of dollars on the internet. I NEVER KNEW IT WAS SO EASY TO JUST MAKE SOME. (and probably not very expensive, either.)
    THANK YOU. I will be making a few for my box. And probably a million more because dragons are just the coolest things ever.

  43. Is there a chance that I can either print the instructions, or something like so?

  44. Would spray paint work as well as nail polish?

  45. Queen Barbara says:

    OMG! This was one of the most entertaining tutorials I have EVER watched!! You definitely have to do more! I’ve been following you and vice versa! Love your pins!

  46. We made some for Easter! So so much fun. Thanks for sharing!

  47. These are so pretty

  48. gail you says:

    FABULOUS, I need to make some.Thanks

  49. I am so making these. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this tutorial. It’s so simple but beautiful.

  50. Did you use a different color sparkle for different parts of the egg?

  51. I love your tutorial. Easy to follow and understand. All in all AMAZZZZIIIIINNNNGGGG!!!! Can’t wait to make a million of these.

  52. Valerie Lambert says:

    What color/brand polish did you use for the dark, greenish redish sparkle egg? The second egg

  53. this is absolutely amazing … will have to make one or two, for my great niece. Thank you, elaine

  54. just saying someone (possibly me) should make a gigantic one like the size of a real dragon egg 0v0

  55. Janet Beggs says:

    Great tutorial, I couldn’t find foam eggs so I used polystyrene ones with nailpolish base coat and glitter glue then topcoated with clear glue. I also found that Global FX Face Paint works just as well. I live in Australia and I am going to make more Dragon Eggs. Thank you for this tutorial.

  56. I was wondering how you felt about people making these and selling them?

  57. This idea is fantastic! A couple of quick questions. On the spiral from the bottom, how much of an overlap do you do as you go around? And do you put any glue on the tips of the other tacks as you put them in? I just wonder if the tacks have a habit of coming out at all.

    Thanks for this great idea!

  58. Tiptopbird3795 says:

    Sounds awesome! Hope to try it soon!

  59. Wow! What a beautiful, creative project! Well done! Thank you for generously sharing your tutorial.

  60. http://ourpeacefulplanet.com/2014/06/30/dragon-egg-1-tutorial/
    is this the tutorial you were looking for?

    i’ve seen the thumb tack egg thing before, but never thought about nail polish. XD

  61. I accendently bought a huge styrofoam egg and it’s not going too well for me

  62. Jaylea Mamut says:

    Oh my goodness these are beautiful! And your tutorial was so much fun to read and follow along! I cannot wait to make these… I didn’t need sleep anyway. =P

  63. Reveka Frank says:

    Hi there! I absolutely love these! I came across this while looking for a gift for a friend. She loves loves loves dragons and I wanted to make her something awesome and when I found this I was like THIS IS IT!

    I was wondering how much a completed egg weighs (in either grams or ounces).

    I would love to make her 4 eggs but I would have to mail them to her to a different country. Unfortunately, where I live shipping packages is far from cheap and when I checked how much a kilo would be I nearly gave up on the idea entirely. I’m having the worst of luck guesstimating the total weight by searching the weight of the eggs and clean thumbtacks with a little extra from the nail polish so to save myself from brain strain and heartache I was wondering if you could tell me the weight of your eggs. Either individually or if you have four… ;) I would be very much obliged.

    These are absolutely fantastic and the designs you made are gorgeous! I’m hoping I’ll be able to afford to send her these magical little nuggets and if they’re light enough maybe I can make her a little nest to display them in ^_^

    • Oh man, I am SO sorry! I don’t have a scale. :( I recently moved to a new state and my scale hasn’t made it across the country yet. They definitely have some heft to them though. I know your struggle. I have wanted to send some to a friend in Germany, but the cost has me pretty scared. :/

  64. super cool.

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