This Clay Pumpkin lesson just might be the perfect seasonal project for fall! It teaches several important techniques for working in clay and also makes a charming take-home gift that will be enjoyed for years to come! Students in grades 3 and up can be successful when you follow these simple steps….
- 3 balls of clay, two the size of baseballs and one the size of a golf ball (sizes are approximate!)
- scoring tool – I make mine with toothpicks and masking tape
- needle tool – I make mine with a pencil, a paperclip (opened up), and masking tape
- cheap paintbrush
- clay slip (For the most awesome slip ever, soak clay scraps in water overnight and use an old blender to blend to a yogurt-like consistency. Then store slip in a container with a resealable lid.)
- popsicle stick for blending seams
- pencil for pressing lines into your clay, and signing your name!
- Use your two baseball-sized clay balls to make 2 pinch pots. Make sure the edges will line up when you go to attach them. The 2 halves should be equal thickness (about 1/4”) but they don’t necessarily have to be equal size or shape, as long as the edges line up.
- Tap the opening edges on your work surface to flatten them a bit.
- Score these flattened edges on both halves and paint them with slip.
- Now, press the two halves together, smoothing over the seam with your finger or a popsicle stick.
- Next, make a stem from the smaller piece of clay. Keep it nice and thick so it will be strong! Tamp one end on the table to flatten it and make it a little wider than the other end.
- Score both the bottom of the stem and top of your pumpkin where the stem will go and use slip to attach the two pieces, blending the seam well.
- Take a small slice off the end of your stem with a popsicle stick to make it look like it was just harvested from the field!
- Now, use a pencil to ‘draw’ vertical lines on your pumpkin. Keep dividing the surface of your pumpkin in half until you’ve created eight sections.
- You can use your finger to press in slightly along these lines and smooth the edges, if you want. Then press in a little on the bottom of your pumpkin, where the lines intersect. This will help it to rest firmly on the table without wobbling!
- Very important!! Use your needle tool to poke at least one hole in your pumpkin in an inconspicuous place. This hole allows steam (from the moisture in your clay) to escape as your pumpkin is being fired. Your pumpkin could explode in the kiln if you forget this step!
- Optional: You can cut a face into your pumpkin (see example below) if you want to make a jack-o-lantern, in which case you won’t need to poke a hole in it as mentioned in the previous step!