Posted by: doras_explorations | February 26, 2009

Covering Eggs With Polymer Clay 101, Part 2

      Here are the steps I use to cover an egg.  For this egg, I will be using slices of my anemone canes for my design. 

 

Here is a prepared medium sized egg, along with the tools I will use; clay blades, small ruler, and a thin acrylic rod for smoothing cane slices onto the egg.

Here is a prepared medium sized egg, along with the tools I will use; clay blades, small ruler, and a thin acrylic rod for smoothing cane slices onto the egg.

 

Next, I roll out a thin sheet of scrap clay on the #6 setting of my Atlas pasta machine.  The height of the strip is approximately the same as the egg, + 1"/2.5cm on each end.  the width is the same as the widest part of the egg, or 'equator'.

Next, I roll out a thin sheet of scrap clay on the #6 setting of my Atlas pasta machine. The height of the strip is approximately the same as the egg, + 1"/2.5cm on each end. the width is the same as the widest part of the egg, or 'equator'.

Since I will not be covering the entire egg surface with cane slices, I roll out a very thin sheet of black clay on setting #7, then trim off the excess black so it is the same size as the scrap.

Since I will not be covering the entire egg surface with cane slices, I roll out a very thin sheet of black clay on setting #7, then trim off the excess black so it is the same size as the scrap.

 

I wrap the clay sheet around the egg, black side facing out, and smooth the seam where they join by using my acrylic rod and my fingers.

I wrap the clay sheet around the egg, black side facing out, and smooth the seam where they join by using my acrylic rod and my fingers.

Then I cut 8 vertical slits on the top and bottom of the egg.

Then I cut 8 vertical slits on the top and bottom of the egg.

 

Starting at either end, i fold over each slit and trim the overlapping pieces with my clay blade.  Ismooth each seam with my acrylic rod before trimming the next piece.  Sometimes I trip the top overlapping piece, sometimes the bottom, whichever is easiest.

Starting at either end, I fold over each slit and trim the overlapping pieces with my clay blade. I smooth each seam with my acrylic rod before trimming the next piece. Sometimes I trim the top overlapping piece, sometimes the bottom, whichever is easiest.

 

Once the bottom and top of the egg are covered, and the seams 'erased', I roll the egg (gently!!) between my palms to smooth it further.  If there are any air bubbles, I slice through them with my blade and press the air out.

Once the bottom and top of the egg are covered, and the seams 'erased', I roll the egg (gently!!) between my palms to smooth it further. If there are any air bubbles, I slice through them with my blade and press the air out.

although I will be applying the cane slices randomly, I use the side of my ruler to lightly score sections of the egg to indicate approximately where I will place the different cane designs.

although I will be applying the cane slices randomly, I use the side of my ruler to lightly score sections of the egg to indicate approximately where I will place the different cane designs.

I have selected 4 of my 'anemone canes' and reduce these to a small size, approximately 1/4" (.63cm) in diameter.

I have selected 4 of my 'anemone canes' and reduce these to a small size, approximately 1/4" (.63cm) in diameter.

I cut very thin cane slices and apply each pattern to a scored section of the egg.  I use my acrylic rod to smooth each slice onto the egg.  I work on 3-4 slices at a time and try not to overlap them.

I cut very thin cane slices and apply each pattern to a scored section of the egg. I use my acrylic rod to smooth each slice onto the egg. I work on 3-4 slices at a time and try not to overlap them.

Once the egg is covered with cane slices, i look for any lumps, bumps, and fingernail marks, and use my acrylic rod and/or fingers to smooth them out.  I then do a final smoothing by carefully rolling the egg between my palms.

Once the egg is covered with cane slices, I look for any lumps, bumps, and fingernail marks, and use my acrylic rod and/or fingers to smooth them out. I then do a final smoothing by carefully rolling the egg between my palms.

Before baking the egg, I use a very fine sewing or beading needle to poke a tiny hole through the clay and the hole underneath to allow for air expansion inside the egg.

Before baking the egg, I use a very fine sewing or beading needle to poke a tiny hole through the clay and the hole underneath to allow for air expansion inside the egg.

 

The egg is baked for 20-25 minutes at 265 degrees F/130 degrees C.  Once it has cooled, I sand it with medium, fine, and super-fine grit sanding sponges.  I frequently run my fingers over the egg surface to check for rough spots or raised areas.  It pays to be fussy !

The egg is baked for 20-25 minutes at 265 degrees F/130 degrees C. Once it has cooled, I sand it with medium, fine, and super-fine grit sanding sponges. I frequently run my fingers over the egg surface to check for rough spots or raised areas. It pays to be fussy !

 

When the egg is sanded smooth, I buff it using my Foredom bench grinder with an unstitched muslin buffing wheel.  As you can see, the egg is nice and shiny, no varnish needed !

When the egg is sanded smooth, I buff it with my Foredom bench grinder using an unstitched muslin buffing wheel. As you can see, the egg is nice and shiny, no varnish needed !

      Looks good, huh ?  What you cannot see in the photo, however, is the dent I made when I dropped the egg on the floor while I was taking it out of the oven !  I highly recommend the use of potholders !

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Responses

  1. What a great tutorial, Dora! All of the steps were clear, concise and very easy to follow. I love your canes. Thanks so much for sharing.
    It was great to see you last Saturday!

    • Thanks, Karen ! I’ve been rather lazy and uninspired lately, but hopefully my creativity will pick up steam….I already have a couple of idea for my next post, I just have to move from the thinking stage to the doing stage !

  2. amazing, your eggs look so beautiful..

    • Thanks, Kay ! Very nice blog, by the way !

  3. What a lovely egg Dora! That is way too sad that it fell and got dented. 😦 Is that why it sits so nicely on its side like that? 🙂

    I like those sanding pads you are using there. Where did you get them?

    • Thanks Cindy ! I inadvertently turned it into a ‘no roll egg’, LOL ! I got the sanding pads from Polymer Clay Express

  4. I loved that buffed look. Dora, great lesson. You are a born teacher.

  5. […] Covering Eggs With Clay […]

  6. Thank you for sharing this tutorial, I found it just in time to make one for Easter.

    • You are very welcome ! Polymer eggs make wonderful Easter decorations, and you don’t have to eat them or throw them out after Easter!

  7. This is beautiful! I’m in the process of trying to find the gumption and courage to try some of these eggs. Thanks so much for your site. It’s one of the friendliest tutorials I’ve found yet. xoxo Maddy

    • thanks so much, Maddy ! I hope you do try covering some eggs. It really isn’t all that difficult, just take your time and work methodically. In Part 1 of Covering eggs with Polymer Clay, I discuss how to prepare the eggs for covering, so you might want to check out that post.

  8. I really like your work. I am new at this craft. I would like to make a mixed media project. I am trying to work with thin rolls or sheets of clay. Even after baking they are still pliable. How can “harden” these pieces? Thanks for any help or advice.

    • Thanks for the kind words ! If baked in thin sheets, most brands of polymer clay maintain a degree of flexibility, some brands more than others. In fact, the better the quality of the clay, the more it can be bent without breakage…Sculpey III, the least expensive clay,for example, is quite brittle after baking, and breaks very easily, while a more expensive clay like Premo resists breakage. Some polymer clay artists report that baking clay at a higher than recommended temperature increases its hardness. However, baking at higher temperatures (eg, 300 degrees instead of 265 degrees) is risky because the clay could scorch and/or burn. When polymer clay burns, it releases smelly and toxic fumes. There is a wealth of information on the Internet about polymer clay techniques…..Perhaps if you do an Internet search with a phrase such as ‘baking polymer clay sheets’ ‘durability of baked polymer clay’, or ‘using polymer clay in mixed media’ you might find more of the specific information you are looking for. Good luck and happy claying !!!

  9. Do you removed first the egg from the shell before you start?

    • Julia, my blog post “Covering Eggs With Polymer Clay, Part 1,” explains how to remove the inside of the egg, and prepare it for covering with the clay.

  10. Where do you get the sanding sponges?

    • Hi Stacy ! I bought the sanding sponges at Polymer Clay Express:
      http://polymerclayexpress.com/finish.html They don’t seem to carry the sponges I used any more, but I think the “Kemper” brand pads they now sell come close..Ideal would be to have one of each grit (from coarsest to finest)…….Always use the coarsest grit first, then proceed in order to the finest…..


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