1. Draw a fun fish design on a piece of 9×12 construction paper. Cut it out and set aside.
2. Roll out a slab of clay to about 3/8″ thickness. Make sure it’s a little bigger all around than the fish you just drew. (I like to have students work on a piece of oil cloth with the fabric side up, to keep the clay from sticking, and use a section of 1″ diameter PVC pipe for rolling. Keep clay covered with plastic until ready to use – it will dry out fast!)3. Next, lay your fish design onto the clay and trace around the outside edge with a pencil. Then remove your “template” and add any details you want to the inside of your fish, pressing lightly, just to indicate placement.
4. Now is the time to add a few extra pieces (such as the eye, side fin and mouth in this example). Make sure you score (rough up) the surface and use some slip (clay mixed with water to a creamy consistency) and a cheap brush to attach the pieces.
5. Use a pointed stick or a straightened out paper clip to cut out your clay fish. Press all the way into the clay and just drag it around the outline you drew with your pencil.6. Finally, add some texture! You can use just about anything to add texture to clay…. buttons, rubber stamps, lace doilies, shells, the edge of a popsicle stick…. just about anything that’s not smooth!
7. Then carefully turn your creation over, place on top of some crumpled up newspaper to give it shape, and let it dry completely. Carve your name or initials into the bottom if you want. Then fire, glaze, and fire again.
8. No kiln?? No problem! Try Crayola’s Air Dry Clay for a fun alternative that has a similar feel to real clay. It dries hard and doesn’t even require baking. When dry, it can be painted with acrylics or watercolors, but should not be used for food or near heat or flame…. perfect for a wall-hanging or paperweight!