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New twist on spring and Easter decorating

Eggs are symbolic of Easter. They're colored, decorated, hidden, and used in decorative items for the home. The one caveat to eggs is that they are quite fragile, and even hard-boiled eggs can be rendered useless with one accidental drop or blow. Instead of relying on breakable eggs for Easter fun, consider making stronger ones instead.

Symbolic of rebirth and renewal, eggs are an integral part of setting the scene come early spring. Selecting a less fragile material to create the looks of real eggs can increase the potential for using them in many different applications. One of the easiest ways to create harder-to-break eggs is to make them out of clay.

Modeling clay is a versatile medium that can be used to make everything from clay eggs to bunny figurines to religious items synonymous with Easter. A visit to the local craft store or even a chain retailer will likely turn up different clay products, which come in a variety of colors. You can create pastel-colored clay by mixing primary colors with white clay if you cannot find pastel colors in the store.

There are two main ways to create egg shapes out of a ball of clay. One way is to roll a ball out of the clay and then roll it vertically between your hands to make the smaller end of the egg. Another is to use a plastic egg as a mold and stuff the clay inside. Pop open the top of the plastic egg and then gently tap the clay out.

You don't even have to color your clay if you don't feel up to it. You may also use white clay, allow to dry, and then paint them using acrylic paints. Or mix two clay colors together before forming into an egg to achieve a marbled effect.

Also think about adding embellishments like stickers, ribbon, bows, and flowers to the eggs, much in the same way you would decorate real eggs.

To display clay eggs in a vase or to attach to a spring wreath, thread a dowel or piece of florist's wire into the egg before allowing to harden completely. Then attach them as needed.

Clay eggs can be used in place of regular eggs in just about every traditional egg use – except of course for making egg salad! Plus, making clay eggs is a fun and safe craft for all ages.

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