Hand-Building with Ceramic Clay: 5 Projects

1. Pinch-Pot Animals

Whether students want to make a piggy bank or just a small sculpture, this pinch-pot unit  can easily be taught as an introduction to working with ceramic clay to Middle School or High School Students.


Making soft containers is a good project to do before attempting square boxes. The container shown to the left, became a vase (below).  But students might come up with a variety of functions for a soft container.  They could make a small creamer, or close the top of the form and cut a lid into the closed shape.  (see film)

The significant value of this project is to learn how to control the clay without imprinting on it too much. 

There is also decorative opportunities.  Many of my students constructed ribbons, birds, and other kinds of ornamentation for their soft boxes.

3. Slab-Built Boxes

Making boxes with slabs of clay builds the skills a student needs in order to accomplish more difficult projects.

This project was done by sophomores at Seoul Foreign school in 2013. Find all the documentation for this project below, as well as a video demonstrating the techniques


4. Mad Tea Pots

My students at Seoul Foreign School constructed “mad Teapots” in order to have a mad tea-party that included Poetry readings from the Language arts students and music from the SFS student orchestra.


Students can choose to use someone else’s face, or their own.  Having plaster put on one’s face can feel claustrophobic. Alternatively, plaster gauze can be used. (see photo below)

See video for full instructions.

Students hand-build a headress on face cast from a plaster mould.