Introduction: How to Build a Bird's Nest & Cold Porcelain Clay Eggs (New Recipe!)

If you've ever stumbled across an empty bird's nest you'll be fascinated by the expertise put into one.

I had the privilege of building some plasticine eggs and coconut eggs several
year's ago for an nation-wide experiment at a museum. We used coconut fibre wrapped around tennis balls, gloss enamel and plasticine.

For this objet d'art instructable, I tweaked it using simpler materials.

Keep reading to find out how to make a  'found' bird's nest using coconut fibre pulled
out of an old couch and painted cold porcelain clay eggs.

Step 1: Building the Nest

Things You Need for the Nest

Coconut fibre

I pulled a bag full of coconut fibre from an old mattress. You could find coconut fibre at hardware shops as well which are usually used to pad hanging planter baskets.

Wrap the coconut fibre around a stick then brushed the strands with the toothbrush to encourage them to weave together. (I'm not sure it would hold a real bird, but this makes a curious objet d'art).

I then brushed on a thin mixture of pva glue and water underneath to further strengthen the nest.

Later, I mixed some gouache colours and flicked and dab the colours on with a toothbrush.

Step 2: Forming the Bird's Eggs - New Cold Porcelain Clay Formula

As promised here are the ingredients you need for Extra Sticky Cold Porcelain Clay Recipe are:

1.75 cup cornflour
2 cup pva (wood) glue
3 drops of eucalyptus or nutmeg oil or vinegar (for a preservative)
1 tbl coconut oil (of other oil eg vaseline, baby oil)
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup water
(optional) 1/2 tsp glycerine
(optional) 1 drop hydrogen peroxide (to kill mould)

Mix water and glue in pot.  Boil on medium heat for 2 minutes.  (This helps boil off the alcohol)
Stir in cornflour mixed with a bit of water, and remaining ingredients.

Leave overnight till less sticky. and ready to use.

NB: This recipe resulted in a sticky mixture which is difficult to handle,
but after cooking I used more cornflour and plastic gloves and was ablt to shape the eggs easily.

Knead thoroughly to work the gluten in the cornstarch into a lovely pliable dough.

The added bonus to using the larger pva ratio in this recipe was no cracks!

Step 3: Forming Eggs

1. Roll cold porcelain clay into wheaten cornstarch until pliable and smooth. As the gluten is worked the stickiness will disappear and the clay becomes pliable. Roll a ball.

Now roll one end smaller than the other - voile egg shape.

Watch the simple decorating steps for painting and forming realistic looking clay eggs.

Step 4: Decorate Eggs

1. Add a small amount of poster or acrylic paint until the clay reaches the desired colour. I based my eggs on photos of real eggs. This will be the background basic tone.

2. I liked the spotted design and acqua green eggs especially and mixed cool blue and cool yellow to make an aqua colour.

3. Dotted on black and yellow paint onto the still freshly rolled eggs. Now roll the still wet paint onto sheet of paper. This gives a natural appearance.

Dust with more cornstarch to add a subtle effect to the spots.
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