Air Dry Clay Birds and Nests
I thought I’d pop in and share these stylish clay birds and nests we made in After School Art Club recently. We used air dry clay to construct a simple pinch pot for the nests, and then created our birds with two smaller balls of clay, plus a little beak. (I got the project idea from this YouTube video.)
Then I set out some beads, sequins, and feathers and we bedazzled our birds! Which is always the most fun part,
After the clay had a week to dry, I provided some Modge Podge for the kids to paint on their birds and nests (over everything except the feathers). This made their projects smooth and glossy, and protected all their little piece from falling off.
While they Modge-Podged (I guess i can make that a verb?), I read aloud Ruby’s Birds by Mya Thompson. In the book, Ruby learns the value of staying quiet and still to notice with her eyes and ears the beautiful birds in her park. Every page of the book has various birds hidden throughout, and we enjoyed pointing them out.
A couple of weeks ago, our Mini Makers dove into this fun, open-ended sculpture project (the inspiration for this project came from the Art Bar blog). When they walked into the room, there were cardboard pieces in various shapes and sizes all over the table, pre-hole-punched. With tempera paint sticks and bright-colored dotters, the young artists filled those shapes with colors.
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While they were working, I read them the book Sandy’s Circus by Tanya Lee Stone. The book is about American artist Alexander Calder, who is known for making colorful, playful sculptures that moved. That’s pretty much where we were headed as well.
Once our pieces were all full of color, we were ready for the next step. I passed out wooden skewers and a handful of air-dry clay. They created a ball out of the clay, and then planted the wooden skewer inside. From there, the young artists could build and stack their sculptures as they saw fit, using the cardboard pieces and small balls of clay..
Lastly, I had liquid tempera paint available to add even more color to their creations.
And here are some of the fun finished products!
Pinch Pots with Littles
(This blog post contains affiliate links. If you purchase an item from one of those links, it helps support what we do at Bright Art Studio. I will only link to products that I would buy myself.)
Last week our Mini Makers class (4-6 year olds) made some clay pinch pots. I have never done this project with such a young group and was so impressed with how well they did.
The pinch pot is a classic intro-level clay project. You simply start with a ball of clay, press your thumb inside to create a small hole, and then continue to pinch with your thumb inside, turning it around like a steering wheel, until you have a small pot. You can use the surface of the table to tap the top and bottoms to make it level.
I found this great visual explanation on Mini Matisse.
I don’t have a kiln, so we used air dry clay instead. After forming the pots, I provided pony beads, jewels, and sequins for the students to press into the clay and bedazzle their creations.
I love how the little pots each have their own personality.
Now that the clay has hardened, I plan on sealing them by painting on a coat of clear varnish on each pot.
A great picture book to read with this project is The Pot that Juan Built. I worried my little folks would find the repetition in the book a bit tedious (because I think that when I’m reading aloud), but they were super into it. It follows the process of creating a clay pot, from finding the clay underground to baking it in a fire. And I love that it features a real ceramic artist from Mexico, Juan Quezada.
See what’s been happening at our studio! Learn about fun art projects and other ways to engage creatively with your kids. Written by owner and teacher, Ms. Laura.