For our final project in our "Art of Japan" unit, my Grade 7 students looked at the art form of "gyodan" or fake food. This is super realistic food that is displayed in restaurant windows throughout Japan in order to visually advertise their menu and to entice the customer inside.
Originally they were made out of wax but now it's made from plastics. They are carefully sculpted to look ultra-realistic and artists may study up to seven years to be considered a master. This is a good article that explains the fake food industry in Japan.
We watched a video on Youtube showing the process, which is super fascinating!!
Here's how they make wax tempura.
So we made ours using white polymer clay. You bake it in an oven and then paint it.
I provided the kids with an assortment of plates and bowls.
We used placemats (shout out to Ikea) to protect the tables as Sculpey is a bit oily.
Once they're made, I baked them in a toaster oven I have in the art room. It was a huge hassle baking these as I had so many (2 classes) and the toaster oven would only hold maybe five at a time. It took FOREVER. Just so you know in case to try to do this. I was considering using the oven in the staff room, but baking polymer clay does give off a chemically/plastic-y type odour and I didn't want any other teachers to freak out.
Once they're baked they're really hard. Paint them with acrylics. Once they're dry, you can varnish parts of the food- anything that needs to look, er, moist, I guess.