Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Making a Frog with Clay

It's summertime where we live and the frogs are jumping. Kids of all ages can have fun creating their own funny frogs in a few simple steps.  In fact, some of the funniest frogs have been created by children as young as four years old.
Funny frogs are easy to make.
Clay (stoneware, terracotta or a non-hardening modeling clay or play dough will work)
*Slip (slurry made from old, dry clay and water to use as paste with stoneware or terracotta)
Wooden skewer
Old newspaper
Peach seeds, tree bark or other natural items for “frog” texture

1. Make a pinch pot the size of a golf ball.  Crumple newspaper into a ball and stuff it in the pinch pot to help the body hold its shape.  Shape it so it looks like the body of frog might look with the open side of the pinch pot facing down.
Make a small pinch pot and put the open side down to make the frog's body.
2. Add a big lip to your frog by rolling a piece of clay into a two inch coil. Press it across the front of your frog’s body where you want the mouth.* Blend it into the body of the frog where the two pieces of clay meet. With the pointed end of the skewer, slice the coil lengthwise so that it looks like a mouth and open it a bit.
The mouth is made from a coil of clay that is split to "open the mouth."
3. If your frog needs a tongue, create one by making a smaller coil (one inch long). Flatten it and put it in your frog’s mouth.*  

4. For eyes roll two marble-sized balls of clay and put them next to each other over the frog’s mouth.*  For more fun, use the eraser end of the pencil to make an indentation where you can add another, smaller ball of clay to be the pupil.
Eyes add expression to your froggy face..
5. Adding legs is easy. For the front legs, make two quarter-sized balls of clay and flatten them. Use the pointed end of pencil to make webbed feet by pressing the point of the pencil flat against the clay. Place the flattened clay balls side by side and set the frog on them facing forward with the webbed feet showing in front. *
Use the point of a pencil pressed flat against the clay for "webbed" feet.
6. For the back legs roll a coil three inches long and bend it to make a triangle.  Attach one of either side at the back of your frog.*
The back legs are last and add texture if you want.
7. To add interest, apply texture to the frog body by pressing your peach seeds, bark or other “texture maker” into the clay all over the body. You can also add a crown, a fly or a princess to your frog to make him a true “Frog Prince.”**

*If you are working with stoneware or terracotta, you will need to use the slip as glue to attach each piece to your frog. Using the pencil, make scratch marks on both surfaces you will be joining. Apply the slip to the piece of clay you are adding and press the piece into place.

**If you are working with stoneware or terracotta, fire and apply a green wash of acrylic paint.


  1. I used to make these with my first grade students except we would just set the pinch pot on it's side and use the opening as the big mouth for the frog! ; )

    They were always a big hit with the kids and their parents.

    pink and green mama,

  2. Completely agree - big mouths make it easy for your frog to catch the biggest fly!

  3. Cute! For more bigmouth character ideas in clay you can visit The Clay Teacher at http://www.theclayteacher.com. We've got a bunch of them!

  4. Thanks for sharing your limk Cindy - your bigmouth characters are lots of fun!