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How to make polymer clay eggs

Celebrate Easter with brightly colored polymer clay-covered eggshells. Each of the steps is easy, but no one would guess from the final result.

Many years ago, I emigrated to the US from Germany, a place where Fimo was very popular. I took a class from Liz Mitchell and was introduced to millefiori, a polymer clay cane technique that was not practiced in Germany at that time. What a revelation!

It is a German tradition to decorate an “Easter bouquet” or an “Easter tree,” so I decided to try covering eggshells with Fimo and baking them. I loved the results so much that I create at least one egg from each cane I make. My Easter tree is white-painted branches hung with eggs and set in floral foam. I cover the foam with Easter grass and sprinkle spare polymer clay beads on it.

Use leftover mosaic egg canes to cover beads. Reduce the canes even more to make mosaic beads. The key is to use colors with extreme contrast because the more you reduce a cane, the less contrast you’ll have. Also, make cubic bead bases and place a cane slice on each surface before shaping them into beads.

SUPPLIES

  • 4 Blocks of polymer clay in compatible colors, but with high contrast (I prefer Fimo, 65g)
  • 1 Egg
  • Pasta machine for sheets
  • Ruler
  • Roller
  • Tissue slicing blade
  • Long needle or toothpick
  • Latex surgical gloves
  • Dust mask
  • Wet/dry sandpaper, 400 and 600 grit
  • Steel wool #0000
  • Wire or toothpick
  • Silk ribbon or decorative light-weight cord
  • Feather (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

After blowing out and cleaning an egg, make four simple canes, cut them in quarters, and assemble them into a checkerboard loaf. Reduce the loaf, cut in four, and assemble the pieces into a complex mosaic loaf. Then cover the egg with thin slices from the loaf and bake it. A little more decoration, and you’re ready to hang it.

Preparing the egg

Blow out the raw egg by piercing it top and bottom with a needle or the point of a sharp knife. Use a long needle or a toothpick to stir the yolk. Then take a deep breath and blow the contents of the egg into a bowl. Rinse out the shell.

How to make polymer clay eggs a
Photo a

Creating a loaf 

1. Choose four colors of polymer clay with high contrast and knead (condition) the clay until it is soft and easy to work with. (You should be able to bend a roll of clay without it cracking.)

2. Make four simple canes such as a jellyroll, a bull’s eye, a checkerboard, and a simple flower (see the patterns for these different techniques, "How to make four simple millefiori canes"). These canes should be approximately 2 in. long and 1 1⁄8 in. in diameter.

3. Reduce the canes carefully by applying gentle, even pressure until they are approximately 8 in. long, and square (PHOTO A).

How to make polymer clay eggs b
Photo b

4. Cut them into 2-in. lengths so that you now have 16 pieces. They should be identical in size.

5. Assemble the 16 pieces into a four-row checkerboard loaf with four different patterns in each row, and two of the patterns crossing vertically (PHOTO B). It’s helpful to draw the checkerboard pattern on paper beforehand to make sure that no cane is next to itself in any direction.

How to make polymer clay eggs c
Photo c

6. Reduce the loaf carefully by applying gentle pressure: squeezing and pulling it gently until it is 8 in. long. Slice it into four 2-in.-long pieces and reassemble so that four of the same canes meet in the center (PHOTO C).

7. Now reduce the complex loaf to the size you want for your project. For large or extra-large eggs, I usually keep the loaf approximately 1-in. square.

How to make polymer clay eggs d
Photo d

Covering the egg with clay

1. Using a tissue slicing blade, cut thin, even slices from the loaf. Lay them gently on the egg, beginning with a band around the belly of the egg. Lay slices evenly around the belly with small gaps between if needed to match the pattern perfectly. Don’t join the band with a partial slice. Then smooth the slices together. Make sure no air is trapped underneath (it will result in unsightly air bubbles). If the clay does not stick to the eggshell right away, be patient and rub it on very gently until it gets warm. Then it will stick.

2. For the next rows, fit the slices to the egg’s taper by cutting wedges from them to achieve a smooth, even look. Be sure to keep the pattern in mind as you do this (PHOTO D).

3. Cover the holes in the eggshell too. When the egg is completely covered, put on latex gloves and roll it gently between the palms of your hands to make it perfectly even, to join the seams, and to erase fingerprints.

4. Pierce the clay at the hole in the top of the eggshell so the hot air can escape during baking. This is where you’ll attach a ribbon later so you can hang your egg.

5. Now bake according to the manufacturer’s instructions and let the egg cool thoroughly before removing it from the oven so it doesn’t crack.

How to make polymer clay eggs e
Photo e

Finishing

1. To give the egg a really smooth feel, you may wish to wet sand it and polish it with extra-fine steel wool. It is very important not to inhale any of the sanding dust, so always use wet/dry sandpaper in or under running water.

2. Cut a short piece of wire or toothpick and knot the end of the ribbon around it. Insert the toothpick vertically into the hole (PHOTO E) until it’s fully inside, pull the ribbon up gently, and that’s it. I like to add a feather to give the egg a lighter look and to help conceal the hole.

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