Welcome to a new how to guide about how to make an anatomically correct heart out of polymer clay. This came about as a valentines gift for the other half as we don’t really go for the mushy stuff. I thought this would be a good change from the normal gifts. Turns out she loved it!
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- Red Polymer clay (Scupley Premo, Fimo Professional (Not Sculpy III))
- Eyepin Findings
- An oven
- Ball tools
Lets start making the anatomically correct polymer clay heart!
- Condition and cut the clay
First thing you want to do is make sure the clay is workable. If you find it’s crumbly this will need to be conditioned. If it feels a bit too soft, pop it in the fridge for half an hour. Once you have a reasonable chunk you will want to separate it at around the 80/20 mark as shown below.
The 80% of this will be the main body of the heart.
- Roll up the clay and make a strawberry.
Add the finding. I’ve added a bend in this to ensure this is a secure fit and doesn’t fall out. Make a strawberry shape and ensure the eyepin is close to the top.
- Roll out the other clay
Time to start on the arteries, roll out the second piece of clay. This is just slightly bigger than the eyepin hole.
To make an anatomically correct heart, we need some arteries.
- Give the strawberry a mohawk
Exactly as the header says, Cut a nice chunk of the clay off and attach this to the side of the eyepin finding. You’re currently attaching the Aorta.
- Attach the left pulmonary artery
Next to the Aorta, attach the left pulmonary artery.
- Attach the right pulmonary artery
On the other side, in front of the eye pin, attach the right pulmonary artery. You may need a small tool to ensure that this connects to the clay securely. I used a ball tool to ensure the connection was secure.
- Create and attach the Superior Vena Cava
When you have completed the above, make a similar shape from the clay as the one below. This will be the Superior Vena Cava and attach this in front of the right pulmonary artery.
- Start blending the arteries into the strawberry.
Using a small ball tool, start blending the arteries into the ‘strawberry’. Later we add more detail to make these stand out. I find that blending them in now will make the process easier later on. Be carful not to blend too much though, but ensure they’re connected.
Now for the tiny arteries.
- Add the ascending Aorta
Once you’re happy with the blending, it’s time to start with the fiddly bits. Cut off 3 small pieces of clay and attach them to the top of the Aorta (The one we did in step 4). To make the holes, I used a very fine ball tool and pushed them right into the aorta to ensure a solid connection. Then using a fine ball tool, start blending them down. This will be Brachiocephalic trunk, left common carotid and left subclavian artery.
You can see from the image below, the finding is still accessible.
- Left Pulmonary veins and more holes.
Once the Aorta has been completed, you will need a couple more small pieces of clay. Attach these to the side of the left pulmonary artery and push them in like the ascending aorta. Blend those into the heart. During this step I also started adding in the holes on the end of all the ‘tubes’ using a ball tool. Be careful doing this to ensure you don’t split the clay.
During this step as well I pushed the left pulmonary artery down a little bit as you can see below. I pushed some of the clay under the aorta.
- Right Pulmonary veins
I didn’t get a good picture of this, but you can see there are additional pulmonary veins added to the other side of the heart. This uses the same technique as the left pulmonary veins. They are placed underneath the right pulmonary arteries.
- Right and left Atrium.
Once you have finished with the veins, now it’s time to carve the heart.
Carve in using a small balling tool the right and left atrium. I did this up to the aorta to begin with then added another carve under the aorta in the next step. Once I went deep enough I blended over some of the clay to add a little more depth, you should be able to see this in later images.
Adding some of the finer details to the heart
- Adding the Anterior interventricular artery, Anterior cardiac vein and the Marginal artery.
Roll out some more of the clay, but this time it needs to be thin. Very thin. Around as thin as the finding if not slightly thinner. This will make the Anterior interventricular artery, Anterior cardiac vein and the Marginal artery.
- More blending
Using a very small ball tool, start blending the newly added veins and arteries into the heart. In addition, using a slightly larger ball tool, I’ve added a little bit of extra detail to the heart as well. Making it a little bit uneven rather than the smooth clay you see above. I added light horizontal lines to the main arteries and veins, the atriums were made a little more prominent.
The last stage. Painting and sealing your anatomically correct heart
- Final Steps
Once I was happy with the final product, this was put in the oven to bake. Due to it’s thickness I baked it for around 30 – 40 minutes at 130’C and let it cool in the oven.
I then painted with a thin mixture of acrylic and water, layering it up. I will cover painting polymer clay in another tutorial.
The colours I used was a thin coat of black, a little bit thicker in the ‘holes’. There was around 4 to 5 layers added to the lower heart and 3 – 4 layers around the protruding arteries/veins.
The thin veins had a bit of a thicker coat of purple added which doesn’t show well on the images.
Each coat was left to dry and after the final coat 2 layers of polymer clay safe gloss was added to give it that ‘wet look’. Image below is pre-gloss.
A final note.
This was a really fun necklace to make out of polymer clay. I am far from a heart surgeon and if you notice a missing vein, artery, piece of the heart please leave a comment below.