How to Make a Liver Out of Clay

The liver's exterior has a distinctive reddish brown color.
The liver's exterior has a distinctive reddish brown color. (Image: Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Liver clay models can make an interesting biology project, as they allow children to explore the human body in a creative manner. The liver is the largest solid organ of the human body and also the largest gland. The particular substance the liver produces is bile, a fluid that assists digestion and transports fat and waste to the intestine. The interior of the liver is quite complicated to depict comprehensively in clay, but you can create an accurate model by forming the organ's shape, the gallbladder and the arteries that deliver blood from the heart and to the intestine.

Things You'll Need

  • Polymer clay
  • Carving knife
  • Acrylic paint

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Mold polymer clay with your hands to form the organ's shape. The liver consists of two lobes, the big right lobe and the small left one, which combined resemble a right triangle with rounded corners. Use a carving knife to draw a superficial vertical line, distinguishing the bigger lobe six times larger than the smaller one.

Cut the liver organ across its length. Now you have one side as the external surface of the organ and one side to create the interior features. Place the organ on a flat surface, with the interior feature's surface facing up and the small lobe on the left side.

Form three clay tubes, featuring the same diameter, for the bile duct, the hepatic artery and the portal vein. Create another clay tube, twice the diameter of the other tubes, to represent the hepatic vein.

Place the thick hepatic vein on the liver so that it crosses perpendicularly through the organ. Ensure the vein extends both above and below the liver. The thinner tubes must enter the liver from the bottom part and extend below it.

Form smaller and thinner tubes and add them on the liver to create two to three "branches" for each of the initial veins. The branches must reach both lobes. Ensure one of the bile duct's branches reaches the bottom-right part of your clay liver.

Mold a small pear-like clay shape. Place it on the bile duct's branch on the bottom-right part of the liver, to add the gallbladder.

Put the clay liver model in the oven and bake it for two hours. Check the clay's packaging for the recommended baking temperature.

Allow the polymer clay to cool down and paint it with acrylics. Use a reddish brown color for the liver's exterior and interior surface and a distinct color for each vein and its branches. Allow the paint to dry to complete the clay liver model.

References

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