Introduction: Promethian Fire Egg

About: I'm cheap and like to use what I have on hand and I really enjoy taking things apart to salvage parts. Rather than be a precise engineering type of person, I'm more of an enthusiastic tinkerer. Making things i…
Here is an egg that depicts the punishment of Prometheus. He was the Titan who stole fire from the gods and gave it to mankind. His punishment was to be chained to a rock for all eternity and have his liver ripped out during the day by a large bird (Some say eagle others vulture. Either way OUCH!). It would regenerate at night so he could go through it all over again. I was trying to think of a way to use fire in an egg and this myth seemed to fit the bill. Plus it involves blood and guts which is appropriate as Halloween approaches.

Step 1: Materials

Here's what you'll need to make this egg:

  • 1 large plastic egg
  • 1 small candle
  • 1 male human figure
  • 1 figure of a bird of prey
  • 1 hinge
  • Primer
  • Red spray paint
  • Silver spray paint
  • Gold spray paint
  • Clear spray paint (or other sealent)
  • Silver permanent marker
  • Red food coloring
  • Epoxy (about 2 1/2 tubes)
  • Contact cement
  • Wire
  • 1 rock
  • Cement
  • Toilet paper roll ( or other appropriate form)
  • Some sort of bling

Step 2: Tools

Tools you'll need to make this egg:

  • A torch
  • Forceps/Tweezers
  • Dremel with assorted bits
  • Scissors
  • Wire cutters
  • Marker
  • Steel wool
  • Ballpeen hammer
  • Power drill
  • Masonry drill bit
  • Drill bit stop
  • Vacuum
  • Utility knife

Step 3: Egg Preparation

The first step will be to prepare the egg.

Since we are going to hinge this egg the plastic lip on the lower part is going to get in the way. So we need to cut this off. I accomplished this with a Dremel sporting a cut off wheel, but I'm sure other sharp object would work as well. Once the lip is cut off use a sanding drum component on your Dremel to smooth the edge of the egg. A utility knife and steel wool would also facilitate this goal.

After the egg has been de-lipped and smoothed we need to prepare the surface for painting. To do this scrub the inside and outside surfaces of both halves with steel wool. The finer the better. Once you've done this clean of the dust and debris. I used a Swiffer and my Shop-Vac.

Step 4: Egg Painting

Once the egg is prepared we need to paint it. The first step is to prime both the inside and outside surfaces of both halves of the egg. I used car primer.

Next spray the inside surfaces of the egg halves. I chose to do the interior first as I'm using different colors for the interior and the exterior. This way any over-spray which lands on the outside surface of the egg will be covered by the next coat of paint. I also painted the bird figure now since I'm using the same color. Just to be efficient.

Once the interior is completely dry flip the egg over and spray the exterior.

Step 5: Rock Preparation

Now we need to prepare the rock. Actually before you begin the project you should pick a rock that will fit in your egg and be a good match for the size of your figures. I chose a rock with a light green color that used to be in one of my aquariums. So first wash off your rock. Then pick the side of the rock on which Prometheus will lie. This is an important decision to make as it will determine how you will pose the figure (see next step).

Once you've decided which side Prometheus will lie on, flip the rock over to the other side. Place a glob of epoxy on this side of the rock and lay one of the wires which will serve as his chains right in the epoxy with generous amount of wire on each side. Hold it in place by the ends of the wire until the epoxy hardens. Then repeat this step with the other wire.

Step 6: Figure Preparation

With the egg painted we can move on to preparing our figure of Prometheus.

I used a "Barbarian Warrior" I bought for a $1.30 at the dollar store. (That price isn't with tax, so they aren't exactly living up to their name.) I chose the "Barbarian Warrior" because it showed muscle definition etc. and I'm not a revisionist historian so I couldn't justify an Greek Titan wearing a cowboy hat.

Since Pometheus is supposed to be helplessly chained to a rock we need to disarm the "Barbarian Warrior". I used a pair of scissors to do a gross removal of his club and spear and a utility knife to remove the bits that were left in his hands.

Now it is time to correct his pose. Prometheus was chained to a rock and the pose the "Barbarian Warrior" was striking when I removed him from his package just didn't conform to my artistic vision. For one thing his left arm was out in front of him and level with his waist. The second problem was his legs sort of stuck off into the air when he placed on the rock. This gave the impression he could move a bit. Now if I were chaining someone to a rock with the express purpose of having a raptor tear out their liver I would make sure their abdomen was fully exposed. Which would mean both hands chained above their head and their legs close to the rock so they would be unable to shield themselves with their bound extremities or strike at the raptor.

So I turned to my butane torch to solve this problem. (Just a note the fumes from heating plastic are probably really bad for you). I heated up his arm and then bent it into the position I wanted until it cooled off and held the position. I had to do this a couple of times until I got the pose right. Then I heated his upper thighs and waist and pressed them against my work bench until they cooled. As you can see from the pictures there were a few times when I got a little too close and he was slightly singed. To correct this problem I cleaned him up with a brush attachment on my Dremel. It scoured the singe right off of him.

Now since our Prometheus is having his liver ripped out there has to be a wound. I looked up the positioning of the liver on Wikipedia and found that it was just above the bottom of the rib cage and pretty much spanned the abdominal cavity. (The biggest portion was in the right side of the body and the narrower part projected off to the left). So I marked this position on the "Barbarian Warrior"'s gut with a marker. Then I used an engraving bit in my Dremel to carve it out. I cleaned it up with the brush attachment as well.

Now that he is in the right shape all we need to do is apply our chosen color of paint (gold).

Step 7: Figure Mounting

Once the figure's paint job is dry it is time to add it to the rock. To do this place some epoxy on the portions of the figure which will contact the rock. In the case of my Prometheus this is his shoulders and butt. Once you've applied the epoxy place the figure on the rock and hold in place until the epoxy sets up.

Once Prometheus is in place we can place the bird. Smear some epoxy on his feet and then mount him on the rock next to Prometheus.

Once the epoxy on both figures has cured it is time to chain Prometheus. Wrap the ends of the wires we epoxied to the rock around his extremities and then trim the excess wire.

Step 8: Fill the Egg

In order to have an actual fire in my Promethean egg to symbolize the fire he stole from the gods I needed a filler material that won't catch on fire. I chose concrete because in addition to not burning, it is cheap (we had it on hand), it can support the weight of the figure on the rock and it will give the diorama a sort of hellish volcanic feel of punishment.

In order to make a spot to recess the lamp into I decided to use a toilet paper tube as a rough form. I laid the tube and the jar I'm going to turn into an oil lamp next to each with their bottoms even. Then I marked the top of the jar on the tube.

I mixed up some concrete and put a little in the bottom of the egg and positionined the form. Then I tried to fill the egg to the point I marked on the form. I stopped short of this line because it became apparent that if I filled the egg to this point I wouldn't be able to get the egg closed. (This proved to be a wise observation on my part. If about half an inch to late.)

Then I smoothed the concrete out with a hotel key card and added some smooth pebbles to it for a little texture/visual interest.

Once the concrete cured I placed the figure and tried putting the lid on...and it wouldn't close. The figure was too high. And conversely the jar I was going to use as an oil lamp stuck up way to high.

I solved the problem of the protruding jar by replacing it with a small candle. In order to rectify the problem of the rock I needed to make a cavity to rest the rock in. (You can avoid this problem by rigging up a form for your rock so it will have a happy abode awaiting it once the concrete sets.)

My first instinct was to turn to my trusty Dremel. (Regular readers of RadBear Instructables know the Dremel makes an appearence in almost every project.) However, I realized that the Dremel would kick up a lot of dust which is bad inside a structure. And taking the Dremel outside would be a pain. So I hit upon using a masonry bit which has been languishing in my drill bit collection for a few years.

First I traced the rough outline of the rock on the concrete. Then, I installed a bit stop on the bit and used it to drill a series of holes in the concrete. (My trusty Shop Vac was by my side sucking away the dust at regular intervals. And this has given me an idea for a dust containment/glove box kind of rig for my work room. But I digress...). Once the holes were drilled I used a ballpeen hammer to knock out the concrete between the holes. This gave the rock a comfortable place to rest.

Step 9: Keeping the Concrete in the Egg

Now that the concrete is done we need to keep it in the egg. Concrete won't bond to plastic on its own. The first phase in this process is to seal the concrete. If we don't it will constantly be shedding dust from now until the end of its existence. To do this vacuum it really well, then spray it down with a clear spray sealent. I used clear spray paint. The gloss kind of made the smooth rocks look like gems. I'm pleased.

In order to ensure the concrete insert won't come out I used epoxy. And in order to ensure a good bond I needed to clean the concrete residue in the egg out. This will ensure the insert is bonded to the plastic and not loose dirt. This is easily accomplished using a wet paper towel or rag.

Once you've cleaned out the egg. Mix up some epoxy and place it around the interior of the egg to the best of your ability. This took a lot more than I thought it would.

Once the epoxy is in place put the insert into the egg. Make sure it is evenly seated and allow the epoxy to set up.

Step 10: Mount the Rock

Now with the concrete insert in place we can add the rock. Put epoxy in the divet you excavated for the rock. Put the rock in the divet. You may want to consider injecting more epoxy around the edges to ensure it stays put.

Step 11: Edges, Hinges and Blood

At this point the edges of my egg weren't a consistent color due to slight over-spray and getting banged around by concrete. This can easily be solved by a permanent marker of the appropriate color.

Next we need to mount the hinge. Due to the weight of the concrete the bottom half of the egg was was little wider than the top half. I found the by flexing the edges of the top half over and over it caused the top half to expand a little and the edges line up fairly well.

Once the edges were fairly even I set the top half of the egg on the bottom and chose a likely spot for the hinge. Then I epoxied the hinge to the bottom half of the egg. Once this had cured I set the top of the egg on the bottom and aligned the edges. With the edges aligned I epoxied the the hinge to the top half of the egg. Once it cured I tested it for ease of movement.

Now seems like as good as time as any to complete our figure. If a large bird is ripping out one's guts you're going to bleed. So to top it off we need to add some blood to our figure of Prometheus. I accomplished this by mixing three drops of red food coloring to some epoxy. Then I poured it into the wound I carved with my Dremel. I also dribbled some down the bird's beak to complete the picture. I just let the epoxy flow where it wanted. I figured since both epoxy and blood were liquid allowing it to flow unopposed would produce the most realistic result.

Step 12: Adornment

Now it is time to gussy this egg up a bit. While I like the plain red finish it needs some extra glitz to attain that Faberge feel. I decided to try and incorporate some of the colors and materials from inside the egg to the decoration of the outer shell. To accomplish this I used some of the wire that binds Prometheus to the rock combined with some silver bling and faux black pearls to make little beaded decorations for the top of the egg.

To make these adornments I used a piece of the trim I'm going to glue around the edge of the egg as a base. I just cut through the nylon thread to get one piece off the trim. Then I used my torch to melt away the excess string bits.

Once this was done I frayed a piece of the copper wire that holds Prometheus to the rock and extracted a single strand. With this done I made a small knot in the end of the wire and strung some "black pearls" on the wire. (Couldn't get a good picture).
With the pearls strung I fed the wire through a hole in the piece of bling and wrapped the wire around the bling to secure it. Then I repeated this whole process three more times. The tricky part was getting the length of the wire consistent. (I was marginally successful.)

For the two smaller ornaments the process is basically the same. You cut a small length of wire and place a single pearl on it. Then twsit the ends together. Feed the twisted end through the holes in the bling. Wrap the wire around the bling to hold it in place.

In order to determine the length of bling I would need I held one end near the hinge and then wrapped the trim around the egg body until I got to the other side of the hinge. Then I trimmed it to length. I did this for both the top and bottom halves of the egg. (This required two hands so no picture of this part.)

To attach the pearl ornaments and trim I used contact cement. I've found through bitter experience that super glue just doesn't cut it for binding things to spray painted surfaces. And epoxy is too messy for this sort of work.

I tried little dabs of contact cement at first but found that a bigger amount formed a better bond. At first I mounted one end of the bling near the hinge. Then I would mount a length of bling by applying more contact cement every few sections. However, since you have to wait 15 minutes between application of the cement and joining the pieces this quickly grew tedious. So I just smeared it on the back of the bling and around the edge of the egg and applied it all at once. The only down side to this tactic was it required a great deal of clean up. This stuff is basically like rubber cement on steroids so you can peel it off, but not as easily as I hoped. This led to small scratches in the paint and some yellow residue visible on and through the bling.

After the bling was applied I trimmed two small pieces of bling from what I had left and contact cemented them to the hinges to dress them up a bit.

Step 13: The Fire Egg Is Complete!

You're done. Open it up insert the candle and light. Don't close the cover with candle lit. I have a feeling this would end badly.