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Mini Meals Made of Clay

Mini Meals Made of Clay
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Students will use basic clay hand building techniques to construct mini clay food.

By Rebecca Engelman [Rebecca is an art educator from Cathedral School in Bismark ND.]


  • Students will discuss and analyze what makes a healthy balanced meal.
  • Students will use basic hand building techniques to construct mini food.
  • Students will use simple patterns and repetition to create a radial design.

What You Need:

  • dessert sized paper plates
  • “micro clay”:  home made clay (pre-mixed to a workable texture) This is basically a salt and flour dough that can be dried in the microwave or oven.
  • modeling tools such as pencils, craft sticks, wooden dowels, plastic knives, paper clips
  • acrylic paints
  • small paint brushes
  • colored markers
  • “Tacky” glue
  • clear acrylic gloss spray paint

What You Do:

  1. This lesson is a wonderful way to end a unit in health or science that deals with healthy eating habits. Have the students give examples of what food combinations make a healthy meal. Lead them in a discussion that includes breakfast, lunch, and supper.
  2. Give each student a piece of scratch paper to quickly sketch his/her idea of a tasty, healthy meal. Let them know that they will not be able to recreate their beverage but they may sketch if they choose.
  3. Give each student a small paper plate and a small quantity of “Micro” clay. Let them recreate their “Healthy Mini-Meal” on their plate. If the clay is too sticky, you can take the ball of clay and roll it in the dry “Micro” clay. Have the student knead the clay. Repeat if necessary.
  4. Use the modeling tools to add texture, lines, etc.
  5. Put the “Mini Meals”, plate and all, into a very low oven for 2 to 3 hours to dry. Cool.
  6. Remove the clay food from the paper plate. (Bend the plate and work slowly to remove stuck items)
  7. Have students paint the clay food with small brushes and acrylic paint. Encourage them to blend colors to create realistic shades. Make sure they paint the sides and add small details.
  8. Give each student a new plate. Direct them to use two simple shapes and two colors to create a simple, radial pattern around their new dinner plate.
  9. Glue the painted and dried food to the plate with “Tacky” glue.
  10. Spray with clear acrylic gloss.
  11. These “Mini-Meals” are small enough that they can be hung on a wall for display. Just make sure to use a strong, sticky tape!

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Homemade Clay Recipe

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Optional: food coloring

Mix all ingredients together in a pan and cook over medium heat until the mixture sticks together.

Mix constantly to prevent the mixture from sticking to the pan.

Let cool.

When cool, take the mixture out of the pan and knead it to workable consistency.


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