Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Making an Alien with Clay

The Kansas City Star noted in this article that it's been a busy summer for UFO sightings in the area. I can't deny that with summer days winding down in the U.S. and autumn close on its heels, it’s the time of year kids can imagine creatures in the fluffy white clouds. Cicada shells look like little aliens and things from outer space. And since you can imagine aliens however you want, we think it’s time to try a few aliens made from clay. Today’s is a special extraterrestrial creature with lots of love.

¾ lb. of 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)
Pods, seeds or bark for alien texture
Toilet paper tube

1. To make a body for your alien, roll out a slab of clay one-quarter-inch thick that will measure about 5 x 7 inches. Wrap the slab around the toilet paper tube and smooth the edges together.  The bottom of the tube should be at the bottom edge of the clay slab.  Fold the extra clay over the top of the tube.
2. Roll a small coil and blend to the bottom of the tube for stability and add texture if you want.
3. For the alien’s head, make a small pinch pot that will fit on top of the tube - about the size of a small golf ball. Attach it to the top of the tube.* Shape the pinch pot so it looks like a heart.
4. Roll two three-inch coils.  Blend them into the heart shaped pinch pot to make the side of the alien’s head taller.*
5.  Add eyes to your alien by rolling two marble-sized balls of clay and setting them inside the top of the pinch pot.* They will fit into the upper curves of the alien’s heart-shaped.
6. The rest of your alien is up to you! You can add antennae using wires and add colorful beads on the wires before you attach them to your alien’s head. You can also add arms if you like by rolling two coils – whatever length suits you alien best. If you are using high-fire stoneware, you can add a marble in your alien’s mouth. It will melt into a glassy pool and add color. 

We're sharing this idea at No Time For Flash Cards this week.

*If you are working with stoneware or terracotta, you will need to use the slip as glue to attach the extra pieces like coils and eyes to your alien. 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.


  1. Love this idea! And I adore working with clay. I did a similar project with my girls only it was geared toward 3 year olds.

    Visiting from the No TIme For Flash Cards Link and Learn.


  2. Vicky - I love the accessories you've added to the activity. We're revisiting aliens tomorrow on our blog so please stop by! There are so many fun variations on the theme.