Clay Resources for Kids and Families
A curated list of resources both online and traditional media that will enhance your family's research or inspirational quest through the world of ceramics, with simple and fun activities for all ages.
CSoM Created Content
Studio Manager, Donna Flanery created these special comics to illustrate fun ceramics projects for kids and adults to enjoy.
Here are some simple but meaningful projects that are not meant to be fired.
Make your own Clay in your kitchen!
Play Dough Recipe: https://www.thebestideasforkids.com/playdough-recipe/
Try this recommended recipe for making your own clay if you don’t have ceramics clay to work with at home!
Or, check out this awesome video by Elisha Harteis for The Clay Studio of Missoula and SPARK Arts! and follow along as she shows you the steps!
Clay Project Guide
Elephant Ice Cream Bowl
Build A Mug from a Slab
Tiles or Wall Hangings
Be sure to make tiles that are at least 1/2inch thick, but not more than 1inch.
Add a nail hole at the top for easy hanging!
Clay Safety at Home
It is important to follow these safety guidelines, especially when working with clay inside your living space. Clay contains silica, which in its dry form can be breathed into the lungs and cannot be expelled. Follow these simple guidelines to minimize the risk to you and your family.
Work on projects in a dedicated area or on a dedicated surface such as a board or canvas. Completely clean off surfaces with water and sponge to prevent dry dusty surfaces from developing.
Always clean up clay with sponge and water. Never sweep, as clay dust will linger in the air.
Try to collect scraps from floor and work surface before they are dry and put them in a bag or in the trash.
Never sand finished works unless outside and down wind.
Don’t allow children to play with dried clay or projects. Leave finished projects in a box to be delivered back to the studio for firing.
Wash hands and tools when you are finished.
To keep your plumbing safe, do not wash clay or down the sink, toilet, or bathtub. A little dust is okay, but definitely no pieces, chunks or sludge.
Water that has a lot of clay in it should be left to settle. Once settled, drain out the water and the remaining sludge can be re-used, or thrown in the trash. Clay water is safe to dump outside in the dirt or in an outside trash receptacle.
Clay scraps can be collected in a bag and can be recycled, by adding water, or thrown in the trash.
At Home Toolkit
One of the best things about working with clay is its versatility. The same can be said for clay tools! Anything you have lying around the house can probably be used with clay in one way or another. So, scour your junk drawers and craft bins and just give it a try!
Here are some of our favorite “homemade” clay tools:
● Old bed sheet! If you don’t have any canvas to work on and want to save your table from clay mess, just cut an old bedsheet down to a manageable size and work away. A layer of plastic underneath can be a good idea too if water and slip are involved.
● Sponges! A real must-have for wheel throwing, but handy for hand building and cleanup too. Any sponge can work, just remember that once a clay sponge, always a clay sponge.
● Forks! They make a great scoring tool, double as a texture tool (think peanut butter cookies). The dull edge of a butter knife can be used as a clay knife to cut slabs and coils, just be careful not to slice into your working surface.
● Rolling pin! A true classic. If you don’t have one, look around for another sturdy cylindrical object (wine bottles can work in a pinch with supervision)
● Skewers! These handy little guys make great drawing utensils, and poke great holes.
● Old gift card/credit card! These make wonderful ribs for smoothing and shaping, you can also cut them with scissors into whatever shape your heart desires.
● Ruler! Great for cutting straight lines, measuring (duh), or whatever else you think of.
● Old toothbrush! These suckers make wonderful slip and score tools and can also make some cool textures.
● Fishing line! If you don’t have a wire tool, fishing line or dental floss work great for slicing through clay, just make sure none gets left behind in the finished product. For easy cutting, try tying a bolt or washer either end to use as handles.
● Paint brushes! Wonderful for smoothing out joints and cracks, easy on the water though, sometimes too much water can just make things worse.
● Think texture! Buttons? Bottom of your sneaker? That old doily your Nana gave you that you never really knew what to do with? If you can wash it, you can use it! Netted produce bags make a great fish scale texture. This is when the junk drawer really starts to shine.