Make Dollhouse Lemons and Lemon Slices From Polymer Clay

  • 01 of 09

    Make Dolls House Lemons and Lemon Slices from Polymer Clay

    Segments, slices, peel and whole lemons made from polymer clay in dollshouse scale.
    Peel, lemon slices, lemon segments, whole lemons and lemons being peeled are all made in dolls house scale from a basic lemon cane. Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to Inc.

    Dollhouse scale citrus fruit canes are all made using the same method, just different colors and amounts. Canes look best if they have a minimum of eight fruit sections, and a high contrast between the flesh and the pith colors. You can see Angie Scarr using this method to Make miniature oranges. The citrus fruit cane is an easy cane for a beginner to make, and gives you good practise in making and reducing sectioned canes.

    The lemons shown here use the same technique as Angie Scarr's oranges. The technique can be used to make lemons, grapefruits, satsuma oranges, blood oranges and limes.

    Before you begin to make the cane, give some thought as to what types of lemon slices you want for future projects. Even the small amount of clay used for these canes, produced a six inch long cane, good for hundreds of lemon slices, or a couple of dozen small lemons.

    Continue to 2 of 9 below.
  • 02 of 09

    Mix Polymer Clay Colors For Dolls House Scale Lemons

    Polymer clay colors used to make lemon pith, sections and skin for dollhouse scale lemon canes.
    Mixes of polymer clay basic colors used to make lemon pith, lemon sections and lemon skin for dolls house scale lemon canes. Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to Inc.

    Making detailed dolls house fruit requires careful blending of colors. If you have a real lemon, it will make matching the colors easier. To make these lemons I used Premo! polymer clay in translucent, white, zinc yellow, and cadmium red.

    The lemon pith color shown on the far left is a blend of 1/8 inch of a quarter block section of white, mixed with half that amount of translucent and a tiny amount (1/8 by 1/8 inch block in this case) of zinc yellow.

    The lemon segments are made from a mix of 2 parts zinc yellow to one part translucent (in this case I used a 1/4 inch section cut from a quarter block of clay for the yellow and a 1/8 inch section for the translucent.

    The lemon peel color shown on the right is a blend of 1 part of zinc yellow with 1/8 part of white and a tiny amount of cadmium red.

    Continue to 3 of 9 below.
  • 03 of 09

    Make the Lemon Segments for the Dolls House Scale Clay Cane

    A cylinder of colored translucent clay is cut into sections to make a dolls house scale lemon cane.
    A simple cylinder of lemon colored translucent clay is cut into at least 8 sections in preparation for making a dolls house scale lemon slice cane. Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to Inc.

    To make the lemon segments for the dolls house scale lemon slice cane, make a cylinder from the lemon segment colored clay you mixed in step two. This should be a blend of yellow and translucent clays lighter than the lemon peel color, but darker than the pith so that it will show up well when the segments are reduced in the cane to dollhouse scale. In larger scales (1:6 or 1:9) you can probably make paler lemon segments, but in 1:12 scale or smaller, you will need enough color contrast to make the segments show clearly.

    Make your cylinder as round as possible and use a clay blade to cut it in equal halves across the center. If you wish, you can put a thin layer of pith colored clay between the two halves, before you cut it again into quarters, layer a section of pith between those quarters, then cut it in half twice again to make a minimum of eight sections, with a thin layer of the pith color in between all sections (see next step for photo). You can also do as I did here, cut the cylinder into eight sections, then rebuild the cylinder with thin layers of pith between all segments as shown in the next step

    Don't make your initial cylinder too small or you will have trouble setting up the segments.

    Continue to 4 of 9 below.
  • 04 of 09

    Create the Cane Layers For a Dolls House Scale Lemon Cane

    Sections of lemon clay are divided with white pith, then the wheel is wrapped in pith and peel.
    Thin layers of pith colored clay are set in between the cut lemon sections, then the sections are coated with a thin layer of pith and a layer of lemon peel to start the production of a dolls house scale lemon cane. Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to Inc.

    Roll the pith colored clay (white, yellow and translucent) into a thin strip and place even sections of this pith colored clay between the segments of yellow clay you cut in the previous step. Try to keep the pith layers as equal as possible. Trim away any excess clay and wrap the main cylinder of sections with a thicker layer of pith clay, trimming it carefully where it meets at the top to keep the layer even. Uneven layers wrapped around the cane will push the center sections out of alignment.

    When you have the basic clay cylinder wrapped with a pith layer, wrap an even layer of peel color around the outside of your clay cylinder. Your cylinder should probably be thicker than the one shown in these photos, but this cylinder was carefully turned into the clay canes shown later in these steps, so a thin start can be rolled out with care.

    Gently squish all your segments together towards the center, making sure you keep the cylinder shape. Set the cane aside until all color layers firm up.
    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Form the Starting Cane of Polymer Clay for a Lemon Slice Roll

    Before rolling to scale a dollhouse polymer clay cane is made narrower in the center.
    Before it is rolled to scale a dollhouse polymer clay cane is made narrower in the center to set the cane and make it easier to roll out without distorting. Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to Inc.

    To keep your polymer clay roll as even as possible when you reduce it to dolls house scale, start by shaping a short, capstan shaped cylinder from your original clay cane. Squeeze the cylinder gently in the center ,after you have made your initial cane into a short (one inch) cylinder by rolling it evenly. Set this capstan shape aside to firm up before you roll it out completely. Letting your canes rest thoroughly before you roll them will help you to reduce the cane evenly without one side becoming a different shape due to different temperature clays. The outer edges of a clay cane will always reduce more than the center will, so when you plan your canes, make allowances for those size and relation shifts that will occur. Your peel will become thinner than the pith in the center in the case of this cane.

    Continue to 6 of 9 below.
  • 06 of 09

    Reduce the Lemon Cane to Dolls House Scale

    Lemon cane rolled down to 1/4 inch thick to make lemon slices, and lemons in dollhouse scale.
    The basic cane form is rolled down to approximately 1/4 inch thick to make lemon slices, and lemons in dolls house scale. Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to Inc.

    Take your capstan shaped cane and begin to roll it gently and evenly,to reduce it to dollhouse scale. Keep the diameter of the cane even across it's length as you roll it. Make sure you don't allow the ends to twist around as you roll. If your cane becomes unmanageably long, cut it in half and roll each end separately. The cane ends will become a mix of colors as you roll, the best sections of the cane will come from cuts you make near the center of the cane.

    To make lemons in 1:12 dollhouse scale you will need to reduce the cane to between 1/3 and 1/4 of an inch in diameter. You can use the ends of the cane where the section definition is not as clear to make whole lemons. Each whole lemon needs 1/4 of an inch length of cane or slightly longer to make. Steps to making the lemons are shown in step 9 of these instructions.

    When you have the cane rolled to the correct diameter, set it aside to rest and firm up.

    Continue to 7 of 9 below.
  • 07 of 09

    Make Slices, Segments and Whole Fruit From a Dolls House Scale Lemon Cane

    An assortment of lemons, lemon slices and lemon sections cut from a dolls house scale lemon cane.
    A wide assortment of lemons, lemon slices, and cut lemon sections can all be made from a dolls house scale cane of polymer clay. Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to Inc.

    Use a sharp tissue blade, or single sided razor blade to cut lemon slices for your miniature projects. The clearest slices are cut from the center of the reduced size cane. You can reduce the flattening effect caused by the cutting action of the blade on the cylinder, by rolling the cylinder slightly forward and back as you cut it. You should rotate the cylinder after one or two cuts to avoid getting flat spots in later cuts.

    Each two inches of cane will give you lots of scale lemon slices. Cut some thicker than others, and cut them in half to use as decorations for cakes. Slices which are not perfect can be cut and twisted slightly to go on the rims of glasses or the sides of plates, this will help disguise any flat bases on the cane slices.

    To make lemon segments, cut 1/4 or slightly longer lengths of cane from the worst ends of the cane to make into whole lemons (see the instructions for doing this in step 9). These whole lemons can be cut in half for displays or cut lengthwise into segments to be used with tea or for other purposes. If you wish you can also peel back the skin on some lemons for working kitchen scenes.

    Continue to 8 of 9 below.
  • 08 of 09

    Preparing Dollhouse Scale Lemon Peel

    A single edge razor blade slices fine strands of lemon peel from a textured section of polymer clay.
    Using a single edge razor blade to slice fine strands of lemon peel from a rolled and textured section of polymer clay. Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to Inc.

    If you want chunks or strips of lemon peel to decorate miniature cakes or other foods, roll out a thin strip of peel colored polymer clay and press the surface with mid grade sandpaper to texture it.

    Use a sharp blade to cut thin strips of clay off to use as peel, curling some of them slightly and cutting them various lengths. After baking these peel sections can be stored in a small zip lock bag or pill vial until you have a use for them.

    Bake the peel according to directions for your particular clay brand. The thin slices of peel can be baked on the same tile as the lemon slices for about the same time. Whole or half lemons or larger lemon segments will need to be baked or cured for longer than will the thin slices and peel.
    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Make Whole Lemons and Sections from Dolls House Scale Lemon Canes

    Rolling and shaping dollhouse scale lemons from pieces of polymer clay canes.
    Rolling and shaping dolls house scale lemons from pieces of polymer clay canes. Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to Inc.

    To make whole lemons from sections of dollshouse scale lemon canes, cut 1/4 inch or slightly longer sections from the worst end of your lemon canes. Gently work the peel of the lemon over the inner segments, pinching the end of the lemon to a gently point as you cover the ends. The half formed lemon shown after the section of cane has one end completed to a point. The other end is still just the cut cane.

    Cover the other end of the lemon cane the same way, gently pinching the peel to a point as is shown on the larger lemon third from the left. Don't worry about the shape of the lemon except for covering the ends of the cane. Once the ends are covered, use your thumb and finger pinching the end of the lemon, to gently push the lemon towards the center, thickening up the center and forming the standard lemon shape. When you have shaped the lemon, gently roll it on coarse sandpaper to texture the peel.

    If you wish you can add a tiny dab of green to one end of the lemon to form its attachment point to the branch.

    Once made into lemon shapes, you can cut your lemons in half, or cut them into sections to use for tea or other scenes where you want lemon segments, not slices.

    Bake the lemons according to the directions for curing your clay. The finished lemons can be waxed slightly with furniture or floor wax to give them the shiny coating commercially waxed lemons have.