Monday, August 8, 2011

Butterflies of Clay - An easy kid's project

The butterflies are floating through my garden this time of year. I’ve found making butterflies out of clay is an easy art project for kids and one they really enjoy. It’s also a fun project to experiment with textures and designs to mimic the colorful patterns of butterfly wings.

Clay (stoneware, terracotta or a non-hardening modeling clay will work)
*Slip (slurry made from old, dry clay and water to use as paste with stoneware or terracotta)
Buttons or other items to make imprints in clay – nut shells, seeds, bark or beads
Wire for the antennae

1. Make a ball of clay the size of a ping pong ball.  You probably not use all this clay.
2. Divide clay into two pieces.  To make the body of your butterfly, roll one ball into a 3-inch coil about the thickness of large magic marker. 
3. Divide the other piece of clay into four parts for the wings. You will use two pieces for each set of butterfly wings.
4. Flatten each piece into a shape that resembles half of a butterfly wing.  Usually, I make the front two pieces of the wings larger than the two pieces I use for the end of the wings.
5. Butterflies have so many different patterns you can add all sorts textures or decorations. I like to use seeds or pods for texture and add small balls or strips of different colored clay to decorate the wings.
6. Attach the wings to the body.*
7. You can add eyes to your butterfly using balls made of a different color clay.
8. Add antennas using wire. If you are planning to fire your piece, be sure to use high-fire wire or make holes before you fire your butterfly and add the wires later.

*If you are working with stoneware or terracotta, you will need to use the slip as glue to attach the wings to your butterfly. 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.

We're sharing this post today on Skip to My Lou where you'll find lots of other great projects like this.

1 comment:

  1. This is such a wonderful lesson. I am using this idea for my second graders and they have met with great success. jan