Saturday, September 5, 2020

The Clay Box

 Join My Art Class!

It's that time again when we head Back To School. 
Only classrooms are looking a little bit different these days. I would love to help you learn about art and create sculptures out of clay this school year, so I added online videos to my clay subscription box. Still the same great clay box delivered to your doorstep each month only now you will gain exclusive access to video instructions to help you sculpt your clay. Plus once the school year gets rolling we will be getting together via Facebook Live and Zoom meet ups for some live Clay Play!
And who doesn't LOVE to play with clay?!

FREE Class!
For your first clay lesson I thought it would be fun to make some homemade clay.  
You can join my class here:
Here are the video downloads:
 I would LOVE to be your art teacher this school year. If you would like to learn, create and grow as an artist with me, you can sign up at:

To receive 25% off your first subscription box.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Growing As An Artist

Early Childhood Learners

For early childhood learners art serves as a way to communicate their understanding of themselves and the world. Children at this age are striving to understand the world around them and need experiences that allow for learning exploration and discovery. Children need to learn about the process of making art rather than the creation of a finished product.

Suggestions for early learners:

  • Use large pencils, crayons and brushes that are easy to grasp.
  • Broaden use of materials to include those things that require more fine motor coordination.
  • Provide tactile materials for them to use.
  • Have them "show & tell" about their artworks.
  • Have them finger paint.
  • Play with homemade play doughs.

Early learners are able to:

  • Use gross motor skills over fine motor coordination
  • Learn through active exploration involving lots of physical activity.
  • Make art in a kinesthetic way rather than working realistically.
  • Pay attention for shorts periods of time, so they need a variety of art activities to sustain their interest. 


The word Kindergarten means "garden for children". The art room can be a wonderful place to help children grow. Allow kindergarteners to play, explore and experiment with art materials. Play is how children explore the external world and discover their own skills and abilities. Play allows children to communicate complex ideas and messages that would be otherwise impossible due to their lack of verbal skills. Kindergartners are enthusiastic and eager to learn. They are unable to sustain any activity for a long period of time. Proved children with opportunities to draw often and give them assistance and the encouragement they require. Let them make drawings about themselves and their personal experiences. As kindergarteners become increasingly aware of the world around them, the many objects that make up their environment will begin to appear in their artworks. Rather than drawing what something actually looks like, they tend to draw what they know about the person, place or object. Show new skills and techniques step-by-step and allow for repeated opportunities to practice newly acquire skills. 

Kindergarteners are able to:

  • Identify and draw different lines.
  • Recognize and draw basic shapes such as squares, rectangles, circles, ovals and triangles. 
  • Identify the colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.
  • Identify dark and light colors.
  • Compare things that are alike and different.
  • Create patterns by repetition of shapes, lines or colors.
  • Begin to use a variety of art tools.
  • Able to grasp drawing materials and brushes.
  • Able to finger paint.
  • Recognize different art materials.
  • Talk about their own art and that of others.
  • Cut on a drawn line.

Suggestions for Kindergarteners:

  • Provide a variety of materials to allow for free expression of ideas.
  • Use large sized paper to allow children who are still developing their fine motor skills to make a big gesture.
  • Use large crayons and markers.
  • Paint with large brushes at the easel.
  • Cut straight and curved lines with developmentally shaped scissors.
  • Manipulate clay to form a ball to be flattened, rolled, squeezed, and pinched.
  • Provide building blocks to construct sculptures.
  • Provide beads to string.
  • Use dot markers, stamps and sponges to do printmaking. 
  • Demonstrate how to draw a heart, star, and diamond shape. 

1st & 2nd Graders

Children at this age are very excited to learn new things. They love lessons that are full of activity and fun. They have big imaginations and enjoy fantasy and make believe. They like to depict subjects that are familiar to them like the people, animals, and places around them. At this age children are moving from an egocentric outlook to an awareness that there is a bigger world out there. 

1st & 2nd Graders are able to:

  • Follow a series of drawing steps.
  • Describe various types of lines.
  • Recognize and draw geometric and organic shapes.
  • Recognize basic forms like spheres, cones, cubes, and cylinders in their surroundings.
  • Create patterns by repetition of shapes, lines, or colors.
  • Identify details and add them to drawings and sculptures.
  • Trace templates.
  • Create more realistic looking artworks.
  • Begin to understand scale and size relationships.
  • Cut, tear, curl, fringe and fold paper.
  • Mix primary colors to make secondary colors and make colors darker or lighter.
  • Express personal tastes and preferences in their art.
  • Identify art mediums. 
  • Distinguish between realistic and abstract styles of art.
  • Analyze similarities and differences.
  • Learn and use art vocabulary.
  • Construct 3-dimensional sculptures.
  • Sculpt in clay.
  • Recognize and describe differences in textures.

Suggestions for 1st & 2nd Graders:

  • Provide time to discover, experiment with, and manipulate new tools and media.
  • Provide different kinds of painting experiences so that children can experiment with different techniques.
  • Teach them to observe and really see their subjects.
  • Model how to use a reference.
  • Show different artists artworks from both the past and present day.
  • Discuss proportions of the human body.
  • Teach contour drawing.
  • Draw from real life.
  • Follow step-by-step directions.
  • Provide templates for difficult to draw shapes.

3rd & 4th Graders

Children at this age are very social with their peers. They are successfully able to work independently and in groups. They have begun to develop an artistic eye and can see details in people, animals, places and things around them. Children this age will begin to experiment with representing things as they really appear. They will be interested in drawing things realistically and may get frustrated at times when they are not able to do so. They will begin to compare their artworks to others. They prefer realistic artworks because they are easier to understand than abstract pieces. They can also distinguish between genres of art such as portraits, animals, and landscapes. As the child's understanding of the world in general is expanding, his or her understanding of the world of art can expand as well. Instruction can expand to introduce children to art history, aesthetics and art criticism. 

3rd & 4th Graders are able to:

  • Cut well with scissors.
  • To fold, attach, curl, and weave paper.
  • Identify different media.
  • Mold forms and coils out of clay.
  • Add details to the subjects used in their artworks.
  • Draw people with correct proportions and gestures.
  • Identify genres and styles of art.
  • Identify art mediums such as glazes, fibers, wood and found objects.
  • Use a variety of tools due to increased fine motor control.
  • Mix tints, tones and shades.
  • Explain basic perspective using foreground, middle ground, and background.

Suggestions for 3rd & 4th Graders:

  • Have children engage in observational drawing from real life or reference photographs.
  • Explain facial and body proportions. 
  • Explain basic perspective rules.
  • Define color schemes like primary/secondary, warm/cool, harmonious/contrasting.
  • Demonstrate how to mix tints, tones and shades.
  • Show different styles of art.
  • Define different ways to achieve balance - symmetrical,  asymmetrical and radial.
  • Explain different types of patterns using rhythms like regular, alternate and random. 

5th & 6th Graders

Children at this age are starting to become aware of social structures from small groups at school to larger ones on a global level. They tend to separate themselves into boy and girl groups. They are developing a sense of self, with their own likes and dislikes. They will begin to develop their own sense of style and will have idols in the media world. They are interested in making art about themselves and their own personal interests. They often become very critical of their inadequacies when making works of art. Some will lose their confidence in their artistic ability because they cannot make things the “right” way. Some will quit making art altogether if they are judged too harshly by others or themselves. Others will own the title of being an “artist” and devote time to creating art. They will be proud of themselves if their work is displayed or wins an award. Their fine motor skills will allow them to work with a wide range of tools and materials. They will be able to concentrate for longer periods of time on their work. 

5th & 6th Graders are able to:

  • Draw with a variety of art materials.
  • Identify values and add shading to their drawings.
  • Add details to the subjects used in their artworks.
  • Draw people with more details, correct proportions and gestures.
  • Understand viewpoints such as: front, side, rear, bird’s eye, worm’s eye, distant and close up.
  • Identify positive and negative shapes.
  • Understand that the history of art has a past and present.and gestures.
  • Understand viewpoints such as: front, side, rear, bird’s eye, worm’s eye, distant and close up.
  • Identify positive and negative shapes.
  • Understand that the history of art has a past and present.
  • Identify hues, values of colors and color schemes.
  • Recognize artworks based on their style.
  • Identify different subjects in art.
  • Do many steps in the art making process at one time.
  • Use scissors, hole punchers, and sewing needles.
  • Form pinch pots, roll clay coils and form clay slab constructions.
  • Paint with watercolor, tempera and acrylic paints.
  • Sew, appliqué, weave fibers, do beading and tie-dye.
  • Assemble cardboard, wood, plastics, and other found materials.

Suggestions for 5th & 6th Graders:

  • Help them to improve their art skills so they will have the confidence to continue learning about art. 
  • Show how to compose a picture.
  • Explain how to create depth in a picture.
  • Explain how to perceive, analyze and judge works of art.
  • Encourage children to research subject matter that interests them.
  • Provide drawing lessons that include shading techniques, gesture, contour drawing and implied texture.
  • Explain perspective drawing that includes changes in scale, overlapping shapes, size changes from big to small, and colors from darkest to lightest.
  • Expose them to art from different cultures.
  • Tell them about the history of art.
  • Tell them about living artists that are currently creating works of art.
  • Explain the meaning of symbols used in artworks.
  • Do fine motor skills projects like origami, and sewing.

Gifted & Talented

Children use art as a personal visual language to communicate about themselves and the world around them. As they get older, they typically rely less on visual communication and more on verbal abilities to express their ideas and understandings. Some children however are uncommonly skilled artistically. There are certain indications of possible artistic talent in some children. 

A child that has artistic talent:

  • Pays very close attention to details.
  • Has an extreme interest to draw in as realistic a manner as possible.
  • Seeks perfectionism. 
  • Has a big imagination and ability to generate many ideas.
  • Has a story line in artworks. 
  • Researches their own subject matter.
  • Is intrinsically motivated to create art.
  • Experiments with media and techniques.
  • Is highly skilled at using art mediums and tool.s
  • Does not have the need to copy.
  • Is highly sensitive to one or more elements of art, like colors, space, or textures.
  • Shows integration of thinking, perceiving and feeling.

Written By Art Teacher Ruth Post

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Modeling Clay Recipe

Make this simple modeling clay right in your own kitchen! 

Step 1 Combine all these ingredients in a medium pot.

Step 2 Heat the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly until it starts to bubble and thickens into a dough like consistency.

Step 3 Transfer the dough onto a wet cloth and wrap it up in the towel to cool. Remove when cool enough to touch.

Step 4 Form your clay sculpture.

Step 5 Paint clay with watercolor, tempera or acrylic paint.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Play Dough

Who doesn't LOVE

Here's an Easy Peasy homemade play dough recipe you can make right in your very own kitchen.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Clay Slip

How to Make Clay Slip

Slip - is liquid clay, it is used to join pieces of clay together like glue, it can be poured into molds or used for decorating. 

1. To make slip you break off some grape-sized chunks of clay and let them completely dry out. You can dry your clay chunks in the sun or simply leave them in the open air overnight. 

2. When they feel dry put them into a small plastic container and add enough water to cover the clay. 

3. The clay will break down absorbing the water, it will look soft and mushy. 

4. This mushy stuff is the slip and it is applied between clay pieces to glue them together. 

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Clay Tools

Clay Tools

Believe it or not, your finger is one of your best clay tools. 
It's great for pinching, poking, pulling and smoothing the clay.


Here are some good tools for little hands when exploring and creating with play doughs.

1. Spatula for cutting and scraping clay off surfaces
2. Blunt scissors to cut the clay
3. Roulette for making wiggly lines into the clay
4. Rolling pin for flatting clay
5. Standard set of sculpting tools made of plastic for making marks


Here are the simplest tools that I recommend for beginners working with clay.

Most of these you probably have in your home already.
They are all you need to help you get started working with clay.

1. Popsicle stick -for cutting and poking
2. Tongue depressor -for making notches
3. Pointed dowel -for drawing
4. Plastic knife -for cutting
5. Plastic fork -for making line patterns
6. Tooth brush -for scoring clay
7. Kitchen sponge -for smoothing clay
8. Plastic dish- for water


If you want to step it up a notch, try these.

1. Scratch-Art tool - has a small needle on the end to draw thin lines. Available at:
2. Kemper Potters Needle - used to score and cut the clay. Available at:
3. Drawing tool - one excellent tip for drawing lines and the other tip for smoothing clay. Available at:
4. Felting Knife - used for cutting clay. Available at:
5. Box Wood tool - used for creating lines - great for making a furry texture on animals. Available at:
6. Metal fork - used for making line patterns.
7. Scratch Wire Brush - used for making scoring lines when joining clay pieces together. Available at:
8. Flat brush - used for applying slip.
9. Paint cup - used for holding water. This type is great because it comes a with brush/tool holder lip.
10. Natural sponge - has a great shape and holds up longer than a synthetic sponge. 

Rolling pins are great for flattening clay. They come in different widths and lengths. Most are made out of wood because the clay doesn't stick to the surface. The ones with the ball bearings in the handle (1) are the easiest to roll back and forth with. Extra large rolling pins purchased from a ceramic supplier work well when flatting large slabs of clay for big projects for art students. Smaller sized rolling pins (3) work best for children's little hands. You can make your own by just using a wooden dowel (2). 

To help make slabs evenly rolled or a certain thickness you can use dowels (1) of various dimensions on either side of your clay. The dowels will keep the clay from thinning out too much. Available at: your local hardware store. You can also purchase a leveled clay roller kit (2) like this one at:

Slab rollers make rolling out clay a cinch, but are super expensive. Mostly art teachers and ceramic potters own them. 
Rolling pins are even available in different textures.
These are Texture Wheels.

Cotton Duck cloth - used as a messy mat and to keep clay from sticking to the table top surface. It can be stretched onto a board to make moving around clay projects easier. Available at: Walmart and JoAnn's in the fabric section.

Here are some great add on tools to have in your tool box.

1. Roulette tool - used to roll wavy lines into the clay. Available at:
2. Loop tool - used to carve out clay. One with a flat and round end gives you more options. Available at:
3. Fondant tools - these have some unusual tips and make great impressions. Available at:
4. Cleaning tool - used for scraping bone dry clay pieces. Good for cleaning up edges.
5. Hole cutter - used for carving out holes in clay. These come in various dimensions. Available at:
6. Ball Stylus - used for pushing in round holes into the clay and shaping forms. Available at:

This a great Potter's Starter Kit and is reasonably priced. I bought mine in college and I still have it 30 years later! Available at:
These are Scoring Tools and they all work great! It all comes down to a matter of preference on which one to use.

1. Scratch Wire Brush   
2. Scratch-Art tool   
3. Scoring Tool available at:
4. Steel Scraper Ovoid available at:

I LOVE these sponges! They are shaped like a traditional Kidney tool and fit in your hand great. They come in different absorbencies which makes them nice for smoothing surfaces. 

Cookie cutters make great tools when you are trying to cut out uniform shapes. 

You can make a simple circle cutter by using a can. 

A clay slicer makes dividing clay into slabs super easy. 

Found objects make great tools too!

So just look around your house for interesting stuff.  You never know what could make a great clay tool.