Thursday, 28 March 2013

1/12th Egg and Soldier Tutorial

Here is the tutorial I made a while ago showing how to make 1/12th scale egg and soldiers.

You will need:
 
White polymer clay
Transparent polymer clay
Medium brown polymer clay
Liquid polymer clay
Chalk pastels in ochre tones
Sharp blade
Pin
Soft bristled brush
Ceramic tile to work on
Yellow/orange oil paint
Sandpaper
Ceramic 12th scale egg cup and saucer
Gloss varnish
Matt varnish
You may need superglue.

1.       Before you begin, you need to ensure your work area and hands are clean, because unbaked polymer clay is a fluff magnet. I like to work on a large, blank ceramic tile, as this can go straight in the oven when it is time to bake the clay, without having to move your work and risk unwanted fingerprints. It helps to use a white tile, as fluff shows up better on it.
 
2.       Let’s begin with the eggs. Condition some white clay by rolling it in your hands until it is easily malleable. Unconditioned clay can crumble, and make it harder to work with later on. Roll your white clay into a sausage about 0.5cm in diameter, and then cut into sections about 0.5cm long. Roll each section into an egg shape, by applying more pressure at one end than the other. Once you get the hang of it, it’s satisfyingly quick and easy! Don’t worry if there are little bits of fluff on your egg’s surface, the next step will cover up all but the largest imperfections.
 
3.       Using your blade, scrape a small amount of your chalk pastels to form dust. I use a mostly ochre and a little bit of reddish brown, but it really depends how light or dark you want your eggs to be. I wouldn’t recommend making it too light, or it will be difficult to see the contrast of the shell against egg white later on. Brush your egg gently with your soft bristled brush until you’re happy with its appearance. 

4.       Place your egg in the ceramic egg cup, as this will hold it in place and let you see how it’ll look in the end. With your blade (which you’ve carefully wiped clean of pastel dust of course), roughly cut off the top of your egg, so that the white is showing. It looks better if it is several small cuts rather than just one sweep, as egg shells never crack uniformly. Using your pin head, create a small dimple of a well in the egg white place, this is where your yolk will go.

5.       To make the egg yolk, pour a very small amount of liquid polymer clay on to your work tile. Next to it, mix up some yellow and orange oil paint until you get a yolk colour. This only needs to be literally a couple of drops’ worth. Mix this yolk coloured oil paint in with your liquid polymer clay, being careful not to add too much. If your liquid polymer clay covers a penny, you only need a ball bearing of paint to tint it.

6.       Using your pin, carefully add the yolk one drip at a time. You won’t need much! Put your egg to one side, it’s finished for now. 
7.       To make the toast, condition all your clay first, then mix 2/3 white polymer clay with 1/3 translucent polymer clay. Add the medium brown polymer clay a pinch at a time until you’re happy with the colour you’ve achieved. I always add the darkest colour only a little at a time, as you can’t take it out once it’s in and it nearly always changes the tone more than I imagined it would. The finished bread mix should look like untoasted bread.

8.       Using your fingers shape your bread mix into a long square sausage. It doesn’t matter how long it is, but the height and width should be approximately 1x1cm. The corners should remain rounded, so use your fingers, rather than a blade.


9.       Using your blade, scrape yet more of your chalk pastels to form dust, but this time it needs to be darker as this will give you your crust colour. I use dark brown and a little reddish brown. Apply with your soft bristled brush.












10.   Slice the bread using your clean blade into thin slices of no more than 1mm thick and lay all the slices flat. Don’t worry about the end slices, no-one likes the end slices!









11.   Lay all your slices flat. Now you need to add some texture and there are two ways of doing this. The easy way is to press sandpaper on the polymer clay. The long (but better) way is to use a pin to individually scratch out every single little piece of texture. I like to combine these techniques to get a good effect without losing my mind.

12.   Press a small piece of sandpaper on to each individual slice. Don’t press too hard or it will lose its shape, but you need to press hard enough that it leaves the texture behind.




13.   Then cut each slice into 4 strips to make soldiers. Using your pin, gently scratch and poke all the pale sides (not the crusts) of each soldier. Also use the pin on and sandpaper-textured parts which have been missed or look too uniform. This will take a while. 












14.   Create another pile of chalk pastel dust using your blade. This time it is to make your soldiers look toasted, so the colour depends on whether you like your soldiers hardly warmed or burnt to a crisp. I use ochre to dust the tops of the soldiers, then dark brown to highlight the edges and here and there. This dusting should really bring out the detail of the texture, so all that time spent prodding it with a pin will be worth it!

15.   Now bake all your eggs (still in the ceramic egg cups) and soldiers according to the polymer clay manufacturer’s instructions. Once done, allow to cool before handling, as the ceramic egg cups will hold on to their heat especially.

16.   To finish off the piece, add a dab of gloss varnish to the egg yolks so they really stand out. Use a thin coat of matt varnish for everything else. You shouldn’t be able to see it, but it helps to seal in all that chalk pastel dust and makes the piece more durable. Finally, you may need to glue the eggs into their egg cups, as polymer clay does not stick to shiny ceramic well. A small dab of superglue will do the job. I also used some of my leftover egg yolk mix to make orange juice as it’s the perfect colour for that.


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