I love to cover eggs! But... I tend to break the blown-out real ones. So, quite a while ago I decided to try using the plastic Easter eggs from the store. I wasn't sure if they would melt or not so I tried one and - it worked! I just get the cheapo ones from Walmart. If they weren't completely covered in clay - insulated, as it were, I suspect they would melt. So, for next week's tutorial, they work fine. I'm going to do some openwork ones later that I will need to use real eggshells for because you dissolve the shell out with vinegar...
Anyway, for this week I am going to show you how I prepare the plastic ones for covering. Sometimes putting a base layer of clay over the egg is not necessary but, in most instances, it's a good idea. The plastic eggs nowadays are pretty flimsy and will bend and distort as you handle them, causing cracks and distortion in the clay.
So, on to the tutorial.
Tissue blade or craft knife
Pasta Machine or acrylic roller
Baking pan with something soft in it
Plastic Easter egg
Scrap clay ("mud")
(Make sure your egg has at least one hole in the bottom of it. If it doesn't, use a small drill bit or large needle to put a hole in it.)
Super glue the two halves of the egg together. This picture shows the egg with the hinge broken - that's not necessary. My kids think my eggs are their personal toy stash. Just put the glue around the edge of the egg and stick the halves together.
Let it dry and use your craft knife to cut off the hinge.
Roll out a sheet of clay on a medium setting on the pasta machine. Make it long enough to go around the egg and wide enough to reach the middle of each end.
Be careful here, if you squeeze the egg too tight, the glue won't hold. Trim one end of the clay sheet straight, wrap it around the middle of the egg and trim the other end so it will be flush with the first part.
Carefully press the clay around to one end of the egg, pressing the edges of the sheet together in a lip, rather than overlapping against the egg.
Carefully press the clay against the egg so that it's sort of "shrink-wrapped" on the end. Press the seams together firmly.
Do the same on the other end.
Use a sharp blade to trim off the excess clay. I usually trim 1/4 inch or so away from the egg on the first pass so I can see better to trim the rest off. Try to get it fairly flush with the rest of the clay layer.
Use your tool of choice to roll out the seams and then roll the egg between your hands (again, gently, you don't want to crack the seam in the egg) until it is smooth.
If there are any air bubbles under your clay, they should show up now. Use a needle tool to pierce them, press the bubble down and roll again. Get the egg as smooth as you reasonably can. It doesn't have to be perfect.
You should be able to see an indentation where the hole in the bottom of the plastic egg is. Poke your needle tool in there. This will allow the air to escape from the egg and help prevent cracking during baking.
Bake your egg according to the manufacturer's directions for your clay brand. I usually bake it on a piece of quilt batting to prevent flat spots. I couldn't find my batting so I baked this one on some half-wadded kleenex.
Now it's ready to cover with decorative clay!