Introduction: How to Create a Perfect Clay Model Larynx

In this Instructable you will learn how to create the perfect clay model larynx (Shown in Figure 1). The larynx, known as the voice box, plays a major role in how human beings are able to vocally communicate with one another. Students, who are either in middle school, high school, college, or medical school will eventually study the significance of the larynx. Also, if any of these students are pursing a career as a speech-language pathologist, the larynx is very essential to learn. Speech-language pathologist are very familiar with the larynx due to having patients who stutter, or any speech disorders that hinder their patient from having fluent speech.


This Instructable will allow these students to become more familiar with learning the different parts of the larynx. Anyone can create a clay model larynx, whether it's for studying or for a fun learning opportunity. The primary requirement for this Instructable is to have patience and a creative mind. It should take 1 to 2 hours to complete.

Step 1: Description of Equipment

In order to create the clay model larynx please have the following:

1. Choose 8 different colors of polymer clay for better visual discrimination. You can buy Sculpey, Fimo, or Premo's polymer clay at Walmart (Figure 2).

2. A reference photo of a larynx

3. An oven to bake the clay or a glue gun.

4. Have a cookie sheet.

5. Have waxed paper.

Labeled photos to reference:

Step 2: Key Terms of the Larynx

Print out a picture similar to figure 3, which will label the majority of the important parts of the larynx that you will be creating with the polymer clay. In order to create the larynx correctly, highlight the following parts:

1. Epiglottis, the root of the tongue that covers the trachea when swallowing food.

2. Hyoid bone, a "U" shaped bone that supports the tongue.

3. Aryepiglottic fold, a fold extending on each side of the lateral border of the epiglottis.

4. Thyroid cartilage, a large cartilage of the larynx that forms the Adam's apple in human beings.

5. Vocal Cord, this projects inward from the sides of the larynx to form a slit across the glottis in the throat, which vibrate in the airstream to produce voice.

6. Posterior Cartilage, cartilages revealed behind the larynx.

7. Cricoid cartilage, the ring-shaped cartilage of the larynx.

8. Trachea rings, these wrap half way around the trachea.

9. Anterior, the frontal portion of an object.

10. Posterior, the back portion of an object.

Step 3: Using the Clay to Shape the Parts of the Larynx

The 8 parts of the larynx will be created separately. Be sure to use your reference photo to guide you on how to shape the parts of the larynx.

1. First, spread clean waxed paper over a flat work surface.

2. Soften the polymer clay by applying heat through squeezing it around in your hands for 1 minute.

3. Choose one color of the polymer clay, and pinch pieces of it to start forming the circular fibromuscular posterior wall (Figure 4).

4. Create trachea rings and form half way around the fibromuscular posterior wall (Figure 4).

5. Choose a different color and form a cricoid cartilage (Figure 5), and place it on top of the fibromuscular posterior wall.

6. Choose another color to create the vocal cords (Figure 1) which will look exactly like figure, and place on top of the cricoid cartilage.

7. Use a separate color from the others and form the posterior cartilage (Figure 1), while placing that on top of the vocal cords

8. Using another color to form the thyroid cartilage (Figure 1), wrap it around the back of the other parts to form a background of the larynx. Only the sides of the thyroid cartilage will be seen in front with the other parts.

9. Pick a different color from the others and form the aryepigottic fold (Figure 6). This structure will be shaped similar to a taco.

10. Using the second to last color of clay to create the epiglottis (Figure 7), place in between the aryepiglottic fold while having the epiglottis a little superior over the aryepigottic fold.

11. Use the last color left to create the hyoid bone (Figure 8). This will be placed right in the middle of the posterior on the epiglottis.

Step 4: Bake the Clay

When your model is completed, bake the clay (I do not suggest eating your model). Also, if there is not an oven present you can use a hot glue gun to stick the pieces together.

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F (Figure 9)

2. Get a cookie sheet and place a piece of waxed paper over it.

3. Place your model on top of waxed paper.

4. Leave your model in for 10 minutes.

5. After 10 minutes check to see if all the parts are hard and permanently stuck to each other, because if not put back in for another 2 minutes.

6. Take out and let sit for 2 to 3 minutes.

7. Optional: Feel free to label the parts of the larynx with a sharpie marker or tape.

Step 5: Conclusion

Figure 10 shows the final outlook of one participant's clay model larynx. Your final clay model larynx will now be perfect for studying when preparing to be tested on the larynx. Also, you will be aware of what the larynx consist of, which is very relevant since every human being has one.