Intro: Polymer Clay Eggs
This year for Easter I decided to try something a little different from the traditional dip dyed eggs I make each year.
In this instructable you'll learn how to create beautiful polymer clay Easter eggs. This is a fairly simple project and is something that can be done by both adults and children. This Instructable will detail the tools and materials you will need, the process of making the polymer clay cane that is used to create the pattern on the egg, the process of applying the clay to the egg, and tips on finishing so that your egg looks perfect and polished when you are finished. Along the way I've provided tips and tricks I learned while creating my polymer clay Easter eggs so that you can gain from my experience and hopefully avoid any issues I may have had.
Step 1: Materials
- Polymer Clay - For this project I used Sculpy brand polymer clay but I would assume other brands like Fimo would work equally well. I used the 2 oz packs for this project which gave me plenty of clay to work with and left me with a lot of extra clay for future projects. you'll need 4 different colors, for my design I used yellow, orange, blue and white, but you could use whatever colors you like.
- Egg - Nothing special here, just a typical white egg from the grocery store.
- Cut Point Nail - This serves as the drill bit for creating the hollows in the top and bottom of the egg so that the edible part can be blown out. (you could also use a small twist drill bit for this process.)
- Pasta Machine - Used to roll the polymer clay into sheets. If you don't have a pasta machine you can use a rolling pin.
- Knife/Razor Blade - For cutting the polymer clay, you'll want to use a thin bladed knife such as a Xacto knife or paring knife.
- Polymer Clay Roller - this is used to form the polymer clay around the egg. The acrylic ones sold specifically for working with polymer clay are nice but you can use something like the barrel of a pen or marker with equal amounts of success.
- Sand Paper 220 - 600 Grit - Used to smooth and finish the surface of the polymer clay egg after it has been hardened in the oven.
Step 2: Preparing the Egg
The first step of this project is to remove the insides of the egg, leaving the hollow shell. To do this, use your cut point nail like a mini drill bit and slowly twist it in your fingers while gently pushing the tip against the egg. The trick here is to use very light pressure as you don't want the egg to crack while drilling. Drill a hole in the top and bottom of the egg and then stick the nail deep into the egg to break the yolk. Once the yolk is broke, blow the egg out as shown in the picture.
Tip: Once the egg is blown out you can use something like a syringe to rinse it out. Simply fill the syringe with water, squirt it into the hollow egg while holding a finger over the hole in the bottom, and give it a few shakes to wash out the remaining bits of yolk and egg white.
Step 3: Making the Polymer Clay Cane Step 1: the Yellow Center
Next, set the blown egg aside to dry out a bit and turn your focus to the polymer clay. To make the designs on the finished egg you need to build a cane of polymer clay that has the same cross section throughout, i.e. no matter where you cut it your going to see the same design. To do this start by rolling a cylinder of polymer clay that is roughly 2" long and 3/8" thick. This will be the center of the cane.
Step 4: Making the Polymer Clay Cane Step 2: the Orange Ring
Next use your pasta machine to create a sheet of polymer clay that is roughly 1/16" thick. Lay the sheet of clay down and use your knife to trim it to the approximate size of the center cylinder, (2" wide) Once trimmed, wrap the sheet around the cylinder until it meets itself, use your knife to trim away any overlap and use your fingers or the acrylic roller to smooth the area where the edges come together.
Step 5: Making the Polymer Clay Cane Step 3: the Blue and White Part
Set the blue cylinders aside and use the pasta machine to role out a sheet of white clay. Use your knife to chop the white clay into 6 or 7 thin strips that are 2" long and about 1/4" wide, (you'll need one strip for each of your blue cylinders.)
Next, lay the white polymer clay strips into the cuts you made in the blue cylinders as shown in the pictures. Once the white polymer clay is in place, gently pinch the blue cylinder closed around the white clay strip so that they are fully enclosed inside the blue cylinders.
Lastly, position the blue cylinders around the yellow and orange core so that the sides with the white strips are closest to the core. With the blue cylinders in place, give the whole bundle a gentle squeeze to fix the various components in place.
Note: as you work through this step you may find that you don't have enough blue cylinders to make it the whole way around the core, if so you have two options:
- Make more blue cylinders.
- Role the core to decrease it's thickness so that the cylinders you do have fit the whole way around.
Step 6: Making the Polymer Clay Cane Step 4: the White Outside Ring
The last step of making the polymer clay cane is to wrap everything you've made so far in a sheet of white clay. to do this do exactly what you did when wrapping the yellow core with orange clay, only on a slightly larger scale.
Once you have the white clay wrapped around the bundle, give everything a gentle squeeze starting from the middle of the cane and working towards the ends. the goal of this is to stick everything in place and to work out any air bubbles that might have been trapped while creating the cane.
Step 7: Rolling It Out
Now all you have to do is to roll the cane until it is approximately 1/2" thick. As you roll the cane it will decrease in thickness and increase in length and the amazing thing about polymer clay is that all the different parts of the cane will shrink uniformly as you do so. The trick here is to take your time, if you try to roll to fast or if you use to much pressure you risk deforming the design inside the cane.
Tip: To help keep things as uniform as possible I sandwich the cane between the table and a sheet of acrylic as I roll it back and forth.
Step 8: Making the Medallions
With your polymer clay cane complete the next step is to cut medallions from it which will be used to cover the egg. Use a sharp thin knife to cut the medallions as you don't want them to deform from the pressure of cutting.
Tip: turn the cane one quater turn after each cut to keep your medallions from having a flat bottom.
Try to cut the medallions so that they are all the same thickness, (roughly 1/8"). You'll need approximately 20 to 25 medallions to cover one egg and as you can see from the pictures there will be plenty of cane left over for future projects or to make additional eggs.
Step 9: Covering the Egg
To attach the medallions to the egg, simply stick them in place and apply light pressure. The rough surface of the egg provides a gripping surface for the polymer clay to adhere to, so you shouldn't have to worry about the medallions sliding around. position the medallions as close to one another as possible until you have covered the entire egg, don't worry if you have gaps as they will be taken care of in the next step.
Step 10: Smoothing
Once the egg is completely covered in medallions you will most likely have some large gaps. Use your acrylic roller (or a pen/marker) to close these gaps by rolling the clay medallions so they stretch to fill the holes. you want to use the roller like a mini rolling pin, as if each medallion was a tiny pizza crust that you were trying to stretch.
Check out the pictures for an example of this process.
Continue using the roller to close gaps until the entire egg is covered. do you best to keep the surface of the clay a uniform thickness as doing so will give you less to sand after hardening the clay.
Important Tip: As you roll the clay to cover the egg, make sure that you leave one of the holes used to blow out the egg uncovered. This will allow the egg to vent pressure while the clay is being baked to keep it from expanding and cracking.
Step 11: Baking
When you're satisfied with the look of your egg you're ready to harden the clay. Polymer clay hardens after baking in a conventional oven so you won't need any special ceramic kilns for this project. Simply set your oven to the temperature listed for the type of clay you're using (275 degrees for Sculpy brand clay,) and bake for the recommended time, (15 minutes in most cases.)
After baking, remove the clay from your oven and allow it to cool which should take about 20 minutes.
Step 12: Sanding
Once the Egg is cooled the polymer clay should be hard to the touch. The last thing you need to do is to give the egg a good sanding to level out any irregularities in the surface of the clay which will give your polymer clay egg a smooth uniform look. Depending on how well you smoothed the surface of the clay with the roller prior to baking, you may want to start with either 220 or 400 grit paper. Continue sanding, moving up to finer and finer grits until you're satisfied with the finish of your egg, (600 grit is generally good enough).
Optional: Once you've finished sanding with your finest grit you can use something like a rotary tool to polish your polymer clay egg and if you're looking for an even shinier finish you can apply special polymer class glazes that range from satin to gloss. These glazes can be purchased from most craft stores that sell polymer clay materials and supplies.
Step 13: Done
Thanks for taking the time to check out my Instructable. I hope you found the information presented here to be interesting and I hope that you give this project a try next time you sit down do to some egg decorating. If you have any questions or comments please post them in the comments section and I will do my best to get back to you as soon as possible, (I love comments so don't be shy about posting.)