1st & 2nd Grade Clay Snowmen

Hey ya'll- long time no see, right?
I've been knee deep in clay.
I got this crazy idea to start clay projects with every class and grade level following our Thanksgiving break.
Like I said... it was a crazy idea.
But, I'm still alive for now and here to share a few tips and tricks that have made my life a bit easier the past couple weeks.
 
So many teachers dread clay projects in the art room- and for good reason. It's messy, it's time consuming and every last kid wants one-on-one help. Don't even get me started on glazing and firing.
Oiy- and names! You can never read the names. 
 
Let's just say it's a big undertaking ya'll.
 
I use Amaco Low-Fire Earthenware for my 3rd-5th graders but for my little guys I use Amaco air-dry clay. This way I only have to fire half the school, plus, for me it's about the product for my older kids and the process for my little ones.
 
Today I'll share my secrets to working with air-dry.
If you don't have a kiln- this is a great product!!
First off- let me tell ya about the best darn invention since sliced bread.
It's the multi-slab cutter.
AHhh.MAZ.ING!
http://www.sheffield-pottery.com/product-p/ccamsc.htm
So many teachers spend countless hours prepping clay slabs- cutting, layering, resealing.  
No more my friends!
If you don't own a multi-slab cutter- you need one!
With one slice, the entire bag of clay is cut into perfect quarter inch slabs.
It's genius I tell ya!
Genius.
Just make sure you clean it well- it's known to rust!
 
This year, I decided to have a "clay party" afterschool and my sweet teacher friends helped me roll and bag up all my clay.
 I prepped 20 spheres into gallon bags so it was ready to go for each class.
That was a big time saver!
 
I gave each student one ball of clay and they got to work building their snowman.
We used carving tools to add eyes, buttons and mouth details.
Just like earthenware- we used slip to adhere the nose and scarf.
Most of the kids made holes on the sides to put sticks for arms later.
***
Here's a tip for slip- add a little vinegar with the water mixture!
It breaks down the clay faster and seems to hold stronger with air-dry clay.
***
The snowmen took a couple days to dry and then we used liquid tempura to paint. As a finishing touch, the snowmen were dipped into glossy ModPodge to add a touch of sheen.
This is a great substitute for clear glaze!
You can hardly tell the difference!
 
 
I'll be back soon to share how our ceramic coral reefs turned out for my 3rd and 4th graders!
Stay tuned.
 
I'll leave you with my latest clay creation!
Each Christmas the hubs and I add an ornament to our tree that represents that year.
Here's this year's.
I'm excited to get some color on it!
 
Have a fab week friends!

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