Saturday, August 4, 2012
Making Clay Pots With Kids
To start, you will need to buy your clay. You'll want to get air dry clay, unless you have access to a kiln. You can by it from a number of sites online (links below) or you can just get it from any A.C. Moore or Michaels (don't forget those coupons). If you're only using this for your family, get a small amount- 5 to10lbs. Clay is dense. A little goes a long way.
Next, you will need fishing line, or you can buy clay cutting wire. I just use fishing line and it works perfectly.
Select a workspace with a flat surface that's fairly easy to clean. Clay is so moist, it will tear up anything you try to cover the table with so it's easiest to just clean up afterwards. Clay is water soluble so water and a sponge work fine.
Wrap the fishing line around your fingers like this, and slice off a chunk of clay. Give each child a piece about the size of a tennis ball.
Show them how to roll the clay in their hands or on the table to make a ball.
Once they've made their ball (or something close to a ball) have them give a thumbs up sign. Then use their thumb to press a hole deep into the ball, but not all the way through.The next thing you will need to show them is how to pinch their thumb and index fingers together.
Once they've shown you that they know how to pinch, you are ready to show them how to pinch around the ball to create the pot. But I guess I should show you first. :)
Placing your thumb all the way down into the hole squeeze your thumb and index fingers together to flatten the clay, repeat this all around the base of the pot. After you've finished the bottom, you just keep pinching your way around the pot until you've reached the top.
Once their pots are completed, They can use a little water to smooth out the clay if they'd like. You can give them a small bowl or cup of water to use, but instruct them to only dip two fingers at a time in the water. Too much water will destroy the clay.
Now they are ready to decorate their pots. Any pencil or play-dough tools will work. They can poke holes (not all the way through) draw pictures or shapes, whatever they want to make it their own. Do not push objects like buttons or play jewels into the clay. Clay shrinks as it dries so any solid object inserted in it, will cause it to crack.
Lay your pots on wax paper to dry. (If you have trouble removing them from the table, run the wire along the bottom to cut them off). It will take a day or two for them to dry completely. Once they are dry, you can paint them with acrylic (not tempera or washable) paints. After the paint has dried, spray them with a clear coat sealant.
These pots have not been fired so you cannot put water in them and they are very fragile, but they work very nicely as little trinket holders and the children are very proud of them.
Any questions? Post them in the comments section and I will get back to you as soon as possible.