Clay Self-Portraits for First Grade

clay self portraits for first grade

Self-portraits are awesome. Clay is awesome. Put them together and you get a fun projects kids love and parents treasure forever.

Multi-slab cutter easily slices clay into identical tiles.

Multi-slab cutter easily slices clay into identical tiles.

I used a multi-slab clay cutter to slice the clay into tiles. The first graders used bamboo skewers and old glue caps to draw faces on the slabs. Remind students to draw on the clay but not too deeply – don’t cut all the way through!

First graders created self-portraits using clay slabs. Allow two 40-minutes sessions plus drying time.

First graders created self-portraits using clay slabs. Allow two 40-minutes sessions plus drying time.

I let the clay dry for 12 days, then bisque fired.

Now for color!

I saw a fabulous post on no-fire glazing techniques on the Art Smudge blog. The authors used watercolor, chalk pastel, colored pencil and more to finish bisque-fired clay (note: if you work with clay, please check out this post – it is amazing!).

We used Crayola Washable Paint In Multicultural Colors for the skin, and colored pencil and construction paper crayon for other details. A few students used colored chalk for their hair (note: the chalk was messy and will have to sprayed with a fixative – I won’t use chalk next year).

After bisque firing, clay was painted with tempera, then colored with crayons and colored pencil.

After bisque firing, clay was painted with tempera, then colored with crayons and colored pencil.

We had a range of skin tones to match – the Crayola eight bottle set of skin-tone paints matched pretty well. If anyone can recommend a set of multicultural glazes/underglazes please leave a comment!

clay portrait tiles painted with tempera

clay self portraits

 

Great job first graders!

Do you use glazes or cold finishes for clay?

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About Rina Vinetz

Hi there! I'm Rina. I teach K-6 art to 400 students at a public school near San Diego, California. I love teaching art and sharing with other art teachers. Thanks for visiting!

5 thoughts on “Clay Self-Portraits for First Grade

  1. Omg- these are so adorable! I love Grade 1 artwork! Super cool idea- thanks for sharing!

    • Rina

      Hi Miss – the kids loved making themselves in clay. I’m sure the parents will love them as well.

  2. Julie

    Oh génial ces autoportraits en argile ! Cela me donne des idées tiens pour mon groupe. Pour l’instant c’est la découverte des différentes utilisations du papier et après pourquoi pas l’argile. Merci pour ce partage.

    • Rina Vinetz

      Hi Julie
      Glad you liked the art project. Good luck!

      Salut Julie
      Glad vous avez aimé le projet artistique. Bonne chance!

  3. […] For more examples and ideas, see this post on last year’s clay self-portraits. […]

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