Ceramic Snowman

snowmanSometimes the simplest of projects can turn out to be anything but. My students loved making these snowman, but they did turn out to be a challenge in making clay pieces connect to each other. Whether it was a nose or hat or head, we all learned a lot about what it takes to keep clay shapes from falling apart.
1. The students got a handful of clay, warmed and softened it up with water and formed the small, medium and large balls of their snowman. To connect the shapes, they needed to score (scratch with a fork) the sides of the balls that would touch each other. After securely pressing the scored edges to each other, they could add decorations as desired: carrot noses, buttons, hats, etc. What turned out to be key in making connections was having very soft and damp clay, very defined scratches, and literally “screwing” the shapes into each other. Clay shrinks as it dries so smooth edges just seem to pop apart. Pipe cleaners were stuck into the sides for temporary arms.
2. After drying for several days in the sun, the pipe cleaner arms were removed and the clay was fired in a kiln. 

3. The pipe cleaners were placed back in the arm holes, and the students painted the snowman with glaze.

4. The pipe cleaners were removed, and the snowmen were fired for the last time. When cooled, small twigs were placed in the arm holes.

12 Responses

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  7. Anonymous

    Whoops, apparently I don’t read. You did use twigs. :) Great minds think alike, some just don’t read to the end and look closely enough at the picture! Is it Friday yet?!

  8. Anonymous

    I use sticks for arms with my students. Then its a REAL snow man. And you can use felt to make a scarf!

  9. Cherlynne

    I tell them that vinegar equals glue.

  10. Cherlynne

    I use vinegar instead of scoring and slipping with younger kids. It works well…

  11. acte gratuit

    I made these with my home-schoolers and even though I always remind them over and over to “score and add slip” I still had pieces popping off all over the place. I’m just hoping most things will be fused back on by the glaze once they’re fired for the final time!!!

    (I like the idea for the arms. Some of us made clay arms, others just left them off. Sticks would be cute.)

    P.S. Another fun project we did: I brought in a bunch of my cookie cutters and we made ornaments. (We have a slap roller so I rolled out the clay for everyone.) It was very quick and easy but some of the kids layered the shapes and made some really cute things!

  12. Anonymous

    Just a thought. I have had success with my students when the students use A LITTLE slip between the scored pieces of clay. Then the students “wiggle” the two pieces until it grips and set.

    Great Idea! Thanks for sharing!

    Linda in Tennessee

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