Kids and Clay

        Clay tutorials for children

I have two boys mad about bugs, dinosaurs and anything that inhabits rivers or oceans, they spend most of their time drawing bugs, talking about bugs, watching bugs on tv, ok so lets just say these two boys know their bugs. When clay is out bugs are usually whats made so I thought I'd take it a step further so they can make more bugs quicker and in a different way; so we set about making plaster push moulds with their favourite toy bugs.
 This is how we did it.....

Collection of plastic bugs, these ones seemed the
simplest shapes with less edges to undercut.

I used clay to fill in the undercuts so frog would be easier to
release from the mould and so the plaster doesnt trap under it.

All the bugs have been treated the same way with clay and put in a
plastic container ready for making the mould.
I have used a storage container to make the mould and built a
clay wall in to which I will poor the plaster. (A complete clay wall can be built
around the bugs instead of using a conatiber, but you must ensure the walls are sound
and tight or the plaster will seep out around the joins)
You will need Plaster of paris of any good casting plaster, a
mixing spoon and a jug or plastic container to pour from.

The plaster was mixed in the plastic jug and stirred until
thickening or noticable change in consitency but before going too thick.
Then poored into the container above and left to set. Setting times vary
but this one took about 10 minutes.

De-moulded from the conatiner, now the clay needs to be
picked away carefully as the mould is still wet & quite fragile.

Here you can see the bug shapes appearing, as the mould is still wet
I will let the rest of the clay dry so not to disturb the mould.
Let mould dry out before cleaning and taking a cast.

When the mould has dried it is ready to use, small pieces of clay are being pushed into the bug shapes.
Gently pad down the clay into the mould then smooth over with a flat tool or fingers. We lifted the bugs out as we were making them (as we are all impatient), but they can be left in the moulds to dry out a bit before lifting out. This way they also keep their shape better.

Bugs & frogs just de-moulded, we decided to leave them on the clay rather than cutting them out as the legs would be too fragile, they thought they looked like fossilised bugs.

The bugs at bone dry stage ready for firing and then glazing. (will post images after they have been fired)

The bugs after a bisque firing, they can now be glazed or painted with other paints,varnishes or finishes you choose.

Here are all the bugs with coats of different glazes.

Other hand formed bugs and kids creations at bone dry stage.

If you don't have access to a kiln, this can be done just as well with air drying clay or other modelling compound and painted with poster colours when dry.
Enjoy yourselves!!

This work was created by year 5 & 6  school children as part of their project. They have been learning all about the Ancient Greeks and have been making these coiled and pinched forms as part of their work.

Some of  the vessels just after being made, they have added handles and lids to some of them.

Drying out in  the workshop

After a bisque firing (even those skinny handles survived!)

Set out to be photographed before packing in newspaper to go back to school.

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