Decorated Clay Cupcakes

decorated clay cupcakes feature lettering and clay roses and

These lidded clay cupcake boxes are extra-special: they feature lettering and clay roses!

decorated clay cupcakes feature lettering and roses


  • clay (we used low-fire white)
  • individual silicone cupcake molds (such as Wilton Silicone Baking Cups
  • pin tool or plastic knife.
  • white vinegar
  • q-tips
  • alphabet pasta (I use La Moderna brand from the Hispanic food section at Wal Mart).
  • underglaze
  • clear glaze

Make the cupcake base

Give each student a lump of clay and a silicone cupcake form. Create a pinch pot, place it in the silicone form and press the clay all around against the textured sides of the form. If the clay pot is higher than the form, trim the clay with a pin tool or plastic knife.  Turn form inside out and remove from clay. Students should write their name on the bottom at this time.

Make the cupcake lid

Take some more clay and roll into a ball. Flatten the ball. Invert the top of the cupcake form and place onto of the flattened clay. Trim clay to fit cupcake form. Write student name on one side of the lid.

Want more tips? Check out this clay cupcake post from The Art of Ed.

Adding roses

I saw this great post on making simple clay roses on the smART Class blog. Essentially, you create a coil (rope) of clay, lay it on the table, pinch the top (‘spine’) along the length of the coil, and spiral into a rose.  Please see the smART Class blog post for a full photo tutorial.

We attached our roses (and optional leaves) to the lid using vinegar applied with a q-tip. Some students skipped the roses and added other decorations. Variations included a sun, animal, wrapped present, and cherry.

(Note: vinegar is our glue. We use it instead of slip when attaching small clay objects).

Adding text

Pour some alphabet pasta into a plate. Press alphabet pasta into wet clay. Write a birthday message or anything else. Do not remove (the pasta will burn out in the kiln).

Fire to cone 04.

decorated clay cupcakes feature text and roses.

Glaze the cupcake

Glaze the base with three coats of underglaze.

If the lid has text, use a stiff brush to press a dark color of underglaze into text indentations. Wipe off the underglaze. The text should now be legible. Carefully glaze the roses/leaves/decorations with three coats of underglaze. When dry, add 2-3 coats of clear glaze. Fire to cone 06.

decorated clay cupcakes at the art show.


p.s. This would be a nice Wayne Thiebaud lesson!

Art + Cooking Camp – Let’s Go to Japan!


I just finished my annual art and cooking camp. This year’s theme was ‘Let’s Go to Japan’. We did lots of FUN art and cooking projects. All the campers were 9-11 years old.

Here’s a list of all the art and cooking projects we created:

Day one: koi fish kites (koi noburi) and bento box lunch
Day two: suminagashi prints and decorated rice balls bento
Day three: cloisonne collage and Japanese crepes
Day four: gyotaku fish prints and mushi-pan steamed cakes
Day five: Beckoning cat charms and ‘octopus’ bento

In addition, we read a lot of wonderful books about Japan, and practiced Japanese hiragana writing with brush pens.

I’ll be writing a bunch of posts with much more detail, including all the recipes! Check back this week to find out more.


p.s. Want more art camp ideas? Check out my ‘Let’s Go to Paris’ art + cooking camp series from 2013. Click here to see more.

Heritage Self-Portraits

heritage self portraits

Thinking about a self-portrait project? This project starts as a basic self portrait but turns into a family ancestry art project when students add in national flag designs. This lesson uses basic materials and takes just two 40-minute classes. It comes straight from the wonderful Artisan Des Arts blog.


  • White drawing paper, 12″x18″
  • Pencils and erasers
  • Chisel-tip markers (we used Mr. Sketch)
  • reference photos of national flags

We began by looking at the great student examples on the Artisan Des Arts blog post. Then I asked the students, “Where does your family come from?” After a quick discussion,  Next we looked at flags of the world. Then the students drew their portraits in pencil.

Because most of our students have mixed heritage, they had the option of using multiple flags in their design.  It was up to them to figure out their own designs. The most common choice was to have one flag design on the face and a second on the shirt.

As a final touch, students had the option of cutting out their self-portraits and mounting them to construction paper.

I really look forward to our next art show.  I think the parents will be THRILLED to see their heritage honored in this project.

heritage self portrait 2

heritage self portraits 1

heritage self portrait 3

What a fabulous lesson plan! I will definitely repeat next year. Thanks to Aly at Artisan des Arts for sharing this great project.

Do you have a special twist on a portrait project?

Colorful Landscape Name Art

Fourth graders use markers to make landscape name art. Allow two 40-minute sessions.


Looking for quick,  fun name art project? Here is the colorful project that gives 100% success and lets you get to know your students.

Students made a simple landscapes using curved lines. Each section was filled with a single repeated word. One section had to filled with the student’s name; the other sections had to be filled with single repeated words that described the student in some way. Students incorporated their pets, favorite subjects (yay art!), sports, activities, family members and favorite foods.

Jordan included her dog, Pinky, in her name art.

Sam likes telescopes.


I love how Jacob personalized his landscape.

This lesson is adapted from this landscape lesson plan on the Arteascoula blog (via Deep Space Sparkle).


P.S. I love name art!  I started a name art board on Pinterest to help plan our fall name art unit.

Paul Klee Name Art

Looking for an exciting name art project? How about introducing a famous artist at the same time? Try this Paul Klee-inspired graphic name art project.

Second graders create name art in the style of Paul Klee. Allow 1-2 40 minute classes. Artwork by Tyler.

Start out by introducing artworks by Paul Klee. This project is inspired by his graphic works such as Castle and SunWikiPaintings has lots of images of his art. Click here,  herehere, and here to see some of Klee’s other graphic artworks. This is a good time to talk about abstract art.


  • Black construction paper, 11″x14″
  • pencils and erasers
  • Oil Pastels (including white)

Students should turn their paper horizontally. They write their names in pencil, using all capital letters. Encourage students to S-T-R-E-T-C-H their letters from the bottom to the top of the paper (note: students with long names may need to draw extra skinny letters, use longer paper, or perhaps use their nicknames).  The letters can touch the left and right sides of the paper AND touch each other: letters such as ‘E’, ‘F’ and ‘K’ look more abstract when drawn in this manner.

After they are pleased with the layout, they trace over their pencil lines in white oil pastel.

Students write their name in white oil pastel, then fill in the spaces with colored pastels.

Next they color in the spaces in their name. Encourage them to use a variety of colors, although it is fine to repeat colors. Students must not color in with black pastels.

Completed second grade art:







Show students the completed projects and ask if they can read the artist’s name. Successful artworks are often abstracted to the point it is challenging to see the artist’s name! How does this compare to Klee’s graphic artworks?

This lesson plan was inspired by (or abstracted from!) this fabulous post on the Kids Artists blog.


Do you have a favorite name art lesson plan for the beginning of the year?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...