How to make easy 3-D heart models out of clay

Making a 3-D heart model is a project that is often assigned to children in biology or another science class. Making the model of the heart helps the child understand how the heart looks and works because she forms each part with her own hands. School is not the only use for a 3-D heart model, however. A heart model can also be used for decorative purposes, such as in a doctor's office, or even as an unusual gift.

Shove the end of the wood dowel through the piece of styrofoam. This will make a perch that you can use to make the heart model, and you will not have to touch it with your hands.

Make the base outline of the shape with the cling film. You will need four heart ventricles, and the veins and arteries leading to and from the heart. Hold the plastic on the top of the dowel with cling film.

Work the clay between your hands until it is soft and pliable. Press the clay around the cling film model on the dowel rod. Shape the clay into the correct heart shapes with your fingers as much as possible. It works best if you form one part of the heart at a time. This will help the heart look more realistic.

Add extra sculpting and details with your sculpting tools. Give the heart small blood vessels and fat clumps. Open the inside of the arteries and veins with the knife to make them 3-D.

Allow the clay to dry for 24 hours. If the clay must bake in the oven, remove the cling film from inside the heart model to prevent it from melting. Bake according to the package directions. Allow the heart to cool.

Paint the heart in realistic colours. You can also use the commonly used colour-coding system of blue and red to distinguish the arteries from the veins. You can colour each ventricle of the heart a different colour if desired. Allow the paint to dry for at least 2 hours.

Things You'll Need

  • Styrofoam
  • Wood dowel 60 cm (24 inches) long
  • Cling film
  • Clay
  • Sculpting tools, such as awl, ice pick, manicuring stick or butter knife
  • Oven
  • Acrylic paints
  • Paintbrushes
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About the Author

Brenda Priddy has more than 10 years of crafting and design experience, as well as more than six years of professional writing experience. Her work appears in online publications such as Donna Rae at Home, Five Minutes for Going Green and Daily Mayo. Priddy also writes for Archstone Business Solutions and holds an Associate of Arts in English from McLennan Community College.