Tag Archives: cold finish

Clay Self-Portraits for First Grade

13 Dec

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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Clay Sea Rocks

27 Feb

IMG_0693

5th graders made clay 'sea rocks'. Allow three 40-minute sessions.

Want an ocean-themed clay project with high success? Super fun? Colorful? Only one firing? And……NO SLIP!

Try this sea rocks lesson plan!

Supplies:

  • clay
  • newspaper
  • white vinegar in small cups
  • Q-tips
  • toothpicks
  • pencils
  • Popsicle stick or other clay tools
  • gallon-size Ziploc storage bags (if more than one session is required)

Day 1:

Look at photos of sea life that attaches to rock.

Coral reef.

For another artist’s take on sea life, view images from Disney movie ‘Finding Nemo’. Look at the sea life on the ocean floor.

Inspiration: colorful sea floor from Disney movie 'Finding Nemo'

Download this clay sea rocks powerpoint from CAEA conference (we think this project was presented by clay educator Barry Bernam around 2005).

It all starts with a pinch pot. Stuff with crumpled newspaper for support and turn upside down. Apply starfish, urchins, coral etc. to top of rock using vinegar to attach.

Vinegar, clay tool, toothpick

 

 

If you don’t finish, wrap clay in damp paper towels and seal in Ziploc bag.

Day 2:

Finish adding sea life to rock.

 

I let them dry for 12 days, then fired on slow setting.

Although no slip was used to attach decorations, only one decoration came off during bisque firing.

Day 3:

We painted with pan watercolors and tiny brushes. Students had option of rinsing off excess paint (they called this ‘fading’). Also could draw on painted ‘rock’ with colored pencil.

 

I will add shine with a little spray gloss (I use Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Spray Gloss ).

A huge thank you to SDAEA’s Carol Catalano Webb, who brought back this lesson from California state conference AND made the YouTube movie. A huge thank you to the clay teacher who created the Powerpoint (we think it was Barry Bernam-please leave a comment if you know Barry!).

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