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Egg-citing jewelry box

Transform a goose egg into an elegant accessory

In my community, I’m known for the jewelry I make and for my polymer clay-covered eggs. This fame grew when I won a decorated egg competition sponsored by the Iowa Egg Council. I’m often asked when I wear one of my large polymer pendants if it is made from an egg. “Well, no,” I answer. “It’s polymer clay.”

These persistent questions, however, got me thinking about how I might bring together jewelry creations and my decorated eggs. Naturally, I thought of Carl Fabergé, the famous jeweler in 19th-century Russia who made elaborate enameled and jeweled eggs for the Russian nobility. Many of his eggs would open to reveal even more marvelous jeweled treasures within. It was clearly a concept that would translate beautifully into polymer clay.

This footed ovoid box is created by baking two layers of clay over a goose egg. By baking the layers separately, you can form a rim on the box and encase a ribbon hinge. Remember when following these steps that the egg is oriented with the wide end at the top.

SUPPLIES

  • 1 Goose egg, clean and empty (www.metzerfarms.com)
  • 3-4 2 oz. pkgs. black Premo clay
  • 3 in. 5⁄8-in.-wide (1.6cm) black grosgrain ribbon
  • Cotton sheeting, shredded
  • Cyanoacrylate glue, gel formula or Dritz Fray Check
  • Liquid Sculpey
  • NuBlade or tissue blade, rigid
  • 6 in. (15cm) 1⁄16-in.-diameter (1mm) brass rod
  • Krylon 18K gold leafing pen
  • 2-4 colors of Lumiere perlescent or metallic paints by Jacquard
  • 15-in. (38cm) square of black polar fleece fabric
  • Thick white craft glue
  • Glue stick
  • Vellum or parchment paper
  • Wet/Dry sandpaper, 320-, 400-, and 600-grit
  • 4-6 accent beads
  • 6 in. 18-gauge, gold-filled wire, half hard
  • Pasta machine
  • v-shaped carving tool
  • paint brush
  • wire cutters
  • 1-in.-diameter (2.5cm) Lucite rod for smoothing
  • hand drill

INSTRUCTIONS

Eggciting jewelry boxes 1
Photo a
Egg’s first layer

1. Condition the polymer clay. 

2. Coat the 3-in. (7.5cm) grosgrain ribbon with cyanoacrylate glue or Dritz Fray Check and let it dry.

3. Use a medium setting on the pasta machine to roll a sheet of clay 3⁄32 in. (2mm) thick. Slice a clay sheet about 71⁄2 x 3 in. (19 x 7.5cm) and wrap it around the diameter of the egg. (Adjust the sheet size to match your egg’s dimensions.) Stretch the clay to fit at the shell’s widest part and compress it at the egg’s top and bottom (PHOTO A).
Eggciting jewelry boxes 2
Photo b
4. Cut circles of clay to fit over the top and bottom of the egg. Gently roll the Lucite rod over the egg to blend the seams.

5. Press the ribbon into the clay at the egg’s middle and along the vertical axis. Coat the top surface of the ribbon with a thick layer of Liquid Sculpey (PHOTO B).

6. Rest the egg on a nest of shredded cotton sheeting (do not use polyester as it may melt). Bake according to the manufacturer’s directions.
Eggciting jewelry boxes 3
Photo c
7. Cutting the egg is easier when the clay is still warm. Allow it to cool until it is comfortable to handle. Stretch a rubber band around the egg about 3⁄4 in. (2cm) above its widest circumference. Use the edge of the rubber band as a guide to draw a line around the egg with a pencil (PHOTO C).

8. Use the rigid blade to score the clay at the line, avoiding the ribbon hinge. Cut gently, applying slightly greater pressure each time until you have cut through the clay and the shell. Be careful not to sever the ribbon. Once the circumference is cut, carefully slice through the shell and clay from the inside. You should now be able to open the egg with the ribbon acting as a hinge.
Eggciting jewelry boxes 4
Photo d
Egg’s second layer

1.
Roll another sheet of clay 1⁄8 in. (3mm) thick on the pasta machine’s widest setting. Cut a circle of clay with a 6-7 in. diameter. Shape the circle over the bottom or smaller end of the egg. You will need to make darts (triangular cutouts) in the clay to fit it to the egg smoothly (PHOTO D). Smooth the seams with your fingertip and trim the edge of the second layer 1⁄2 in. (1.3cm) from the rim.

2. Nest the egg on the cotton sheeting and bake. Cool completely.
Eggciting jewelry boxes 5
Photo e
3. Cut a strip of vellum or parchment paper 1⁄2 in. wide and 1 in. (2.5cm) longer than the circumference of the egg’s widest part. Secure the vellum around the rim of the egg’s bottom half with the glue stick (PHOTO E).
Eggciting jewelry boxes 6
Photo f

4. Roll a sheet of clay as in step 1, cutting a circle to cover the egg’s top half. Form the circle over the top of the egg, making darts where necessary.  Smooth the seams and trim the edge of the top half so that it overlaps 3⁄16 in. (5mm) onto the edge of the bottom half  (PHOTO F).

5. Nest the egg in the cotton sheeting and bake. Cool completely and remove the paper band.

Legs and decoration

1. Sand the egg with wet/dry sandpaper, starting with the coarsest grit (320) and progressing through the finer grits.

2. Turn the egg upside down and mark 3 points in a triangular configuration to position the legs. Use a hand drill to drill each point with a 1⁄16-in. (1mm) bit. Try to go through both layers of clay without puncturing the shell.

3. Cut 3 1-in. pieces of brass wire. Roll 3 nickel-size balls of clay into bullet shapes. Cut the fat ends of each leg at a slight angle to correspond with the side of the egg. Insert the wire into the legs, leaving 1⁄4 in. (6mm) protruding.

Eggciting jewelry boxes 7
Photo g

4. Place a drop of the cyano-acrylate glue in each hole and a circle of Liquid Sculpey around the hole. Insert the wires into the holes and smooth the leg into place (PHOTO G). Bake the egg as before. When the egg cools, sand any imperfections from the legs.

5. Use a carving tool to draw fine carved lines of leaves on the egg. Repeat the pattern randomly until the surface is covered. The legs can also be carved.

Eggciting jewelry boxes 8
Photo h

6. With the Krylon pen, paint gold into the carved lines (PHOTO H). Use the pen to paint the inside rim of the lower half gold, too. Let dry for several hours.

7. Use 600 grit sandpaper to sand away any stray marks on the surface.

8.
Paint the leaves with metallic paints.

Lining the egg

1. Line the egg’s inside with black polar fleece or another fuzzy, nonwoven fabric. Seams will not be apparent with these fabrics.

Eggciting jewelry boxes 10
Photo i

2. Cut 2 large circles and slice 3 triangular darts into each circle so that it looks like a shamrock (PHOTO I).

3. Chip away the eggshell along the rim of the top and bottom halves so a white edge will not appear between the lining and the box.

4. Coat the interior of one half with white craft glue. Insert the polar fleece, smoothing the darts and trimming any excess fabric. Trim the fabric flush with the inner rim. Repeat with other half.

For complete project instructions, click here to download & print this PDF

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