How to make a dragon egg with nail polish and thumb tacks

Guest post by Beth W
Our editor Megan purchased this Game of Thrones dragon egg on Etsy, but now she can make her own!

My partner and I wanted a wedding that was very “us,” and part of that means “a very limited budget.” So we’re DIYing our decor and favors — my favorite of which are our DIY dragon eggs!

These geeky items are gorgeous, easy to make, and relaxing. If you have these items, here’s how to make a dragon egg…

  • flat metal tacks
  • foam board, closed and open-cell foam (to line up and paint the tacks)
  • a styrofoam egg of any size (found in the floral department of your local craft store, usually)
  • shimmery nail polish (I recommend a prismatic or holographic nail polish for maximum snake-like glisten)


1. Gently press your tacks into a foam surface.
This is to line them up for painting. You can use foam board, closed and open-cell foam, but don’t use paper or cardboard (the paint will stick to the paper and make a huge mess).

2. Paint all of the flat metal tacks with 1-2 coats of nail polish.
If it’s a thick polish, like this one, stick with one coat. If you can see the metal through one coat, let the first coat dry thoroughly and then paint a second time. If it’s especially thin, you may need a third coat, but it’s less likely.

3. After the paint is completely dry
Press your starting tack in the center of the bottom of the egg (that’s the fattest end).

4. Layer the tacks as “scales”
Overlap the previous one to the left, and the one(s) below it. You’re making a spiral, essentially.

5. Try to keep an even overlap as you go.
It’s okay if they start looking off-center, or if each row creeps higher on one side. You can adjust as you go to even it out.

6. By the end, they’ll look something like this.
It’s heftier than you might think, and looks fantastic in direct light.

Tada! Ready for a nest. Horde optional.

Probably the best part about this is that it’s very zen, focusing on gently pushing each tack into the styrofoam in a pattern. Probably the worst part about this is painstakingly pushing the tacks into rows before painting. And the paint — definitely do this with the windows open (even five-free nail polish can be stinky).

And there you go — an easy, geeky DIY project, fit for weddings, parties, and gifts!

Comments on How to make a dragon egg with nail polish and thumb tacks

  1. Wow! I love this idea. I’m tempted to make one just for the sake of it. No purpose, just leave it lying around the house so when people ask what it is I can say “a dragon egg”.

    • You can but it won’t cover the overlap between tacks (so some metal may show), and it may create a glue-like effect between the tacks. I haven’t tried that, so I’m not sure what the finished effect would be. If you do try this, would you share how it came out?

    • yes, I was wondering the same thing – could you just spray paint them on the foam instead of using nail polish (there are some really cool metallic and glitter spray paints now)- seems faster to me, but I wonder if the paint would hold us as well?

      • Late reply but there’s a good chance the foam won’t tolerate any spray paint, as (styro)foam is VERY sensitive to the sort of chemicals often found in paint of glue- so there’s a chance of it eating away at the base of the egg when you try to get under the “scales”… Changing the shape of it and causing the pins to shift.
        Maybe if you apply a foam-safe primer first?

  2. Awesome! I had a TV themed wedding, and made all the centerpieces, flowers(I made them out of paper) and a few other things. It was a lot of fun, and it kept my hands busy throughout the planning process. These eggs look amazing! Well done.

  3. Odd, only the first picture shows up for me – the rest are blank spaces with a tiny black X in the corner. But it sounds like an awesome idea!

  4. So cool! I too want to make one just for the zen of it and the aesthetic– I really like to touch smooth hard round things, and this looks like it would be right up my tactile alley. And it looks super cute for dragon wedding favors!

    (While I’m thinking of it, here’s a link to my favorite five-free nail polish at côte:, which comes in a zillion colors if you’re looking for options!)

  5. I’m eagerly assembling a dragon-lady costume for roving the renfaire circuit next year, and these will be a perfect accessory to put in my pouch to hide my phone and wallet under!

    Also, did you make the paper dragons? Is there a template/tutorial for those as well – I love them!

  6. I am planning a dragon birthday party and think this would be fun for the kids to do. In preparation… how many tacks do you estimate you used on each egg? Also what size egg did you use? Thanks!

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