Introduction: Polymer Clay Miniature Avocados (with Skinner Blend Instructions)

I have published this tutorial before on my deviantART page (paperfaceparade.deviantart.com) and decided to post it here as well. 

This is a polymer clay avocado tutorial in which I will demonstrate the skinner blend technique for creating gradients in clay. The specific gradient I will use is a radial gradient.

These adorable avocado slices can be used as charms for jewelry or as miniature food for display or in dollhouses. 

Thanks for viewing, and let me know if you have any questions! I am happy to help. 

You will need:

Clay*:

-Dark Green
-Light Green
-Yellow
-Brown

Tools:

-Tin foil
-A rolling pin**, pasta machine, or "clay conditioning machine"
-A razor, x-acto knife, or other sharp, un-serrated blade
-An oven
-TLS*** (Translucent Liquid Sculpey), or glue

Optional:

-Jewelry findings such as eyepins, jump rings, chain, hooks, and clasps
-A soft cloth for buffing
-Glaze or other clear polish


* I use FIMO, Kato, Premo, and Sculpey brand polymer clay, which must be baked in order to harden. Read all instructions and notices on your clay to be sure you are using your clay properly. Baking clay that is not meant to be baked can be toxic, or at the very least melt and make your oven very messy.

** This technique can be done by hand, but it is much easier with a pasta/clay machine. In this tutorial, I use a clay machine. If you are rolling by hand, simply follow the steps, but roll by hand as evenly as possible. Take your time and don't worry to much about the exact thickness, just as long as the entire sheet of clay is pretty even. 

*** TLS needs to be baked to harden. Glue does not. Do not bake glue. 

Step 1: Getting Started

Roll out green (not dark green) and yellow clay about 2 or 3mm thick. This is setting #3 on my clay rolling machine. Cut the sheets of clay into squares that measure about 3" x 3" 

Cut triangles from the clay and lay one yellow triangle and one green triangle together so they form a square. Because you will have two triangles of each color, you will be able to make two full squares, enabling you to repeat the entire tutorial a second time, if you wish.

You can roll the dark green out at this time as well, but set it aside. The dark green should be fairly thin, but not too thin to handle-- it will be the peel of your avocado.

Step 2: Rolling the Clay

Fold the square from bottom to top (as seen in the first image), carefully and gently pressing the edges together and making sure that no large air bubbles are trapped between the layers. Run the clay through the machine (still on setting 3, possibly one size thinner) folded end first. 

After the first run-through, it will look pretty boring, but keep repeating the process:

1. Fold from bottom to top. 
2. Run through machine. 

It is important that always fold in the same direction and roll in the same direction.

The images show these steps being completed twice. 

Step 3: Rolling the Clay: Part 2

I have added this step to show the process of creating the gradient. It is easy to get discouraged when rolling for a skinner blend. It will take 15-20 repetitions (only every 2 or 3 repetitions are pictured) of the process explained in step 2 before your gradient will be complete. Be patient, and keep rolling. 


Step 4: Creating the Radial Gradient

Once the clay is too wide to roll through your machine anymore in the same direction, or you have folded and rolled by hand 15-20 times and have a fairly smooth gradient, turn the clay lengthwise and roll it out on the thinnest setting of your machine (or very, very thin by hand). 

Yes, this strip of clay will become very long. Very, very long. Work slowly and be gentle with the clay so it does not tear. Even if it does tear, patch it back together and keep going. It shouldn't harm the gradient too badly. 

Take the long strip of clay and begin rolling it into a log, starting with the light/yellow end. Trim the ends of the log and applaud your beautiful gradient. 

My apologies for the blurry picture and messy desk.

Step 5: Forming the Avocado

Take your dark green clay and roll it out into a sheet if you have not already done so. Trim a section large enough to be wrapped around the log without overlapping. Wrap the log in the dark green clay and trim the ends again, if necessary. 

Cut the log into 1-1.5 cm slices, or however large you would like a whole avocado to be, as each of these slices will be used to make a whole avocado. 

Take each slice and push the dark green clay around the ends, covering the entire inner section of clay. I like to leave a little bit of a mark to note where the center of the gradient is so that when I slice the avocado in half, the gradient spirals outward from the middle, instead of there being a yellow stripe in the middle of the avocado. 

Shape your green-covered ball of clay into a teardrop/avocado shape. 

Note: The spiral-ish gradient in these pictures is the result of forgetting to roll the clay lengthwise through the thinnest setting. Don't forget it like I did that one time when taking these pictures.

Step 6: Adding Details

Slice the avocado in half lengthwise. 

Form a small crater in the middle of one avocado slice. I use a small bead to do this. 

Take a small piece of tinfoil, and roll it into a crinkly rolling pin. 

Turn your avocado slices face down and press/roll the tinfoil onto the avocado peel until it has the texture you desire. Flip the avocado slices back over, take a small piece of brown clay, roll it into a miniature-avocado sized avocado pit and slice it in half. You can attach it now with some TLS, or after you bake it with some other glue. If you have your own preferred method for attaching clay, feel free to disregard mine. This is simply how I prefer to attach the pits, because trying to press them into the avocado can alter the shape and texture of the clay. 

Insert eyepins, if desired, and bake according to the directions on your clay's packaging. 

Use for jewelry, dollhouses, or miniature displays. 

Optional steps: 

I like to take a soft, fine cloth (or you can use ultra-fine sandpaper, but I'm not familiar enough with sandpaper to recommend anything specific) and buff the "flesh" of the avocado, and/or paint the entire avocado with a matte finish glaze. 

Good luck, and enjoy your miniature clay avocados!

Comments

author
Vintage Sugar Skull made it! (author)2015-08-08

Wonderful tutorial! This was my second attempt. My first I made the outer shell too thick and the clay was too soft. Going to keep practicing with this method. Thanks!!

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jwhatley1 (author)2014-11-03

I'm so impressed! Wow, I hope I can make mine look at least half as good as yours... Thank you so much for this tutorial:) It's great and please keep teaching:)

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Nikkinak44 (author)2014-01-08

I will have to make these! I got a pasta machine for Christmas so this will be a lot of fun. That is for your great insturcatble.

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bajablue (author)2013-10-20

Too darn CUTE!!!!!

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handprints (author)2013-10-17

you are brilliant! And your instructions were very very clear! thank you! I'll never look at our avocado trees the same way...

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KaydeeKrunk (author)2013-10-09

That is such a nice skinner blend. They are one of my favorite ways of using my pasta machine, what do you use to clean yours? I always get black residue on mine, which is no fun.

author

Rubbing alcohol works really well for me when cleaning up polymer clay residue. I'll set the rollers to the widest setting, soak a sponge with rubbing alcohol to where it is wet but not dripping or anything, and hold it between the rollers with one hand crank the rollers with the other, moving the sponge along the length of the rollers. This works well for cleaning up surfaces in general, but I wouldn't use it on any painted surface or finished wood because it has the tendency to strip paint and wood finish, but for tile, metal, plastic, granite (I use a single granite tile from Home Depot as my work surface so I don't scratch my desk, and it is really easy to clean), etc. Hope that helps!

author

I've been meaning to get a nice tile or a sheet of glass for my clay, I heard the glass is great because you can put a grid under it and stuff. I've just been using wax paper lately. Thanks for the advice I will definitely try the rubbing alcohol, I hate when I am using lighter shades I always get these blackish streaks.

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explosivemaker (author)2013-10-09

Now that is unique.

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Thank you!

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lafnbear (author)2013-10-09

Excellent clay work; I also love how you put the pit in one half!

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paperfaceparade (author)lafnbear2013-10-09

Thanks! Glad you liked that :)

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WUVIE (author)2013-10-08

This. Is. Too. Cute. Thank you! Great job!

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paperfaceparade (author)WUVIE2013-10-08

You're welcome, and thank you! :)

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Penolopy Bulnick (author)2013-10-08

This is the awesomest clay avocado earrings I have ever seen! I love the way you did the blending of the colors, genius!