Foam Easter Egg carving (Michaels 2010 product)

Discuss the tricks to carving artificial pumpkins. They may never rot, but require their own special tactics.

Foam Easter Egg carving (Michaels 2010 product)

Postby Zombie Pumpkins! » Thu Mar 18, 2010 4:51 am

EDIT: This thread refers to the 2010 product line of foam craft eggs. The manufacturer has made some changes to the eggs for the 2011 Easter season. So for more current information, check out this thread:

:arrow: Foam Easter Egg carving (2011 product)

Okay, so they're not pumpkins, but they are foam, so the same rules apply. This new item was recently brought to my attention, and it's worth a look. Michaels craft stores are currently selling hollow foam eggs, specifically for carving like pumpkins:

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Some specs:

They're about 10 inches tall and 8 inches wide. Circumference at the fattest point is a little more than 25 inches around. Carvable surface area on one side is a max of approx 8" x 6" so designs would have to be a bit smaller and/or simpler than the typical pumpkins many of us carve.

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They have a flat spot on the bottom and on one side, so they can stand upright or be positioned on their side, without rolling away. This flat area is only about 2.5" wide. So if we are meant to light these carved eggs, I'm not sure what they would expect us to use. Most battery powered lights I have are larger. Maybe just the small LED tea lights?

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I quickly cut some random shapes into the bottom of one egg to see how thick they are, and to get a feel for how well they can be carved. With no cleanup, this is the result from the Versa-tool heat knife (the bigger shape) and the ZP Pro Carving tool with small blade (the smaller hole).

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The foam feels more dense and thick than the pumpkins Michaels sells in the fall. I'm not sure why they made these egg shells thicker (about 1 cm or 3/8" thick), since a thinner shell would be easier to cut into.

Also it's worth noting that the eggs are coated in colorful paint (possibly latex based) that can peel back from your cut edge, depending on how rough you are with your cutting.

I'm guessing this is a trial year for this product, to see how the public responds. I'd prefer for the eggs to be larger (they actually have a couple smaller sizes available) and for the shell to be a bit thinner. But there's some potential here.

I can see various approaches in technique. I'm thinking you could probably sand the cut edges when you're done, to smooth them out. And if the paint peels too much (or you find pastel pink to be way too cutesy for your macabre tastes) you could also spray paint them a different color when you're done.

Anyway, that's my take so far. I have a couple of these eggs in the lab, and I intend to play and see what I come up with. I look forward to seeing photos of your egg carvings if you give them a try. And if you have suggestions for how we can best use these eggs, I'm all ears.

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Postby CombichristGirl » Thu Mar 18, 2010 12:50 pm

jeez!! why did my micheals have to shut down?!?! does anyone know if pat catans carries anything similar?
awesome find ryan i would s be on it
just a small file will clean a lot of those edges up :)
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Postby GUS » Thu Mar 18, 2010 1:17 pm

Ryan, I'm suspicious, theres a definite trend in your photo's to have a bottle / can of Mountain Dew, either as a size comparison or you are addicted to the stuff!

which is it you addict you! :lol:
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Postby Zombie Pumpkins! » Thu Mar 18, 2010 1:51 pm

CombichristGirl - I'm thinking these may be exclusive to Michaels. But if anyone finds them available elsewhere, please prove me wrong. Spread the word.

GUS - Oh, most definitely addicted, I won't even try to pretend otherwise. I don't drink coffee, I need some source of caffeine to fuel me through those long nights.
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Postby GUS » Thu Mar 18, 2010 2:54 pm

you know your'e gagging to do a stencil homage to the dew.

For uk'ers this sort of egg can be found at the large & expensive hobbycraft stores.

..too pricey, doubt they are hollow either
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Postby Zombie Pumpkins! » Thu Mar 18, 2010 9:03 pm

I'm sure you can find all sorts of craft eggs at other stores, but these hollow foam ones are clearly manufactured in an attempt to bring some of the popularity of pumpkin carving to another holiday.

The eggs at Michaels are even sold with carving kits which include familiar little carving saws, and appropriately themed stencils. (that is, if carving Easter lilies and holy crosses is your style)

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Postby CombichristGirl » Thu Mar 18, 2010 10:28 pm

:shock: crazy but totally awesome lol
i want to do some bad :)
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Postby cyberdman » Mon Mar 22, 2010 6:52 am

They are definitely thicker than the Michael's pumpkins - these eggs are at least a half inch thick all the way around. At least it is a fairly uniform thickness throughout the eggs.

The outer finish is different than the pumpkins, not just color-wise, but it is a thick substance almost like glued on painted paper. That being said if you are gluing on your patterns like I do, be extra careful removing what is left over.

I just have to say that carving these was difficult due to the extra thickness. Shaded areas will need to be shaded extra-extra-deep. The small shaded area on this carve I did with my Dremel with no issues and everything else was X-Acto blade carved out as I usually do. I notice in pictures and from examples done by Michael's employees, that the hot-knife just totally ruins these carvings due to the special colored coating on the exterior. The depth of cuts really made detail areas tough!

I can't say this enough, if you don't soak off the pattern long enough when done and extra carefully remove it, you will disturb the outer colored coating - but if you soak it too long you will get a slight peeling effect of the coating along your carved edges - similar to the result of hot-knife carving. If you are still an old-school tape and poker pattern transferrer, you should be fine.

Fortunately I kind of found the right mix and mine came out great. I did however glue my pattern on with my big ole glue-stick and not the elmers. This might have actually helped me out in the end.

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Postby Zombie Pumpkins! » Mon Mar 22, 2010 6:59 am

@cyberdman - Your bunny carving looks great! Thanks for sharing your experience with the egg carving, I'm sure your suggestions will prove helpful to anyone else that wants to attempt a carving on these.

Your observation about the heat knife is exactly true. As you can see in my very quick test, the heat of the blade melts away the colored coating, causing it to curl back and ruin the look of a clean finished edge. Seems something like an regular Xacto blade, with some care, is the way to go.
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Postby cyberdman » Mon Mar 22, 2010 12:33 pm

Thanks. It was much more of a challenge to carve than I'd think it would've been, but mainly only due to the thickness of the material.

Michael's has the eggs on sale 40% off this week.
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