No Fire Clay Heads
Students will make heads out of clay. These sculptures do not need to be fired in a kiln.
By Andrea Mulder-Slater
What You Need:
- Clay: Self hardening or Potters sculpting clay. You do NOT need clay that can be fired in a kiln … you will not be firing these sculptures in a kiln.
- Clay tools: popsicle sticks, toothpicks fingers.
- Wood scraps.
- Glue and screws (to attach wood base).
- Water and containers for water.
- An old bucket (or two)
- Masking or packing tape.
- An old hand towel.
- Water-based varathane (Flecto makes a terrific varathane product)
- Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Clay handout.
What You Do:
Clay is a wonderful sculpting material and your kinderartists should be encouraged to play around with a small piece of clay before they begin working on their sculpture.
Experiment with the clay … see how long it takes to dry out … add water to moisten it again. Basically the idea here is to let your students get a feel for how the clay works.
WARNING: Do not allow clay to get into your sink. Use a bucket or two of water for cleaning hands before going to the sink. Allow the water in the bucket to evaporate and throw the clay sediment in the garbage or re-use it for another clay class.
Create a wooden base as shown in the photographs. Basically a flat square on the bottom with a large dowel in the center.
Next, take newspaper, ball it up and create a head shape on the wooden base. Tape the newspaper in place.
You are then ready to begin adding clay to create a head shape over top of the newspaper. Continue down the wooden base to create a neck.
Build the clay up slowly using small bits and adding more and more clay. Moisten the clay when it starts to get a little dry.
Eventually, your students will be at the point where they will want to start adding details like a nose, eyes, mouth etc. Using their fingers, popsicle sticks, plastic forks etc. features can be added.
If you do this lesson in two parts, store the clay heads with plastic bags over top of them so they don’t dry out.
Once the clay head is complete, you will need to let it dry for several days to a week.
Once dry, the clay can be painted or left natural. Either way, the final step should be to apply several coats of Varathane to the clay head for strength. Always work in a well ventilated area.
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