Easy Clay Cat Project For Kids

Are you looking for a quick and easy clay project? This simple clay slab ceramic project is perfect for you. Find out how you can build this slab cat project with kids in under 25 minutes.

clay slab art project for kids with paper cat template and clay cat on placemat.

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The artist, Laurel Burch, can be used as inspiration for this simple clay slab cat project. This easy clay project can be built in one class (and we all know how much easier that is). Explore different ways to create texture in clay and encourage children to create their own unique cats.

Who was Laurel Burch?

According to Laurel Burch Studios, Laurel Bruch was an artist that was born in 1945. In the 1960’s she began creating colorful and playful artworks in San Francisco, CA. Now her artworks can be found reproduced on all sorts of items from T-shirts to bags. 

I actually scored this bag at a garage sale and the kids really do love seeing artwork and designs in person.

bag with colorful and patterned cats on it done by Laurel Burch.

Laurel Burch did not have any formal training as an artist. Wikipedia notes that she always struggled with osteoporosis and had over 100 different bone breaks in her lifetime. She still overcame her physical obstacles to share her creativity with the world.

By talking about her life with children, you are able to get them to see how people preserve and overcome tough times.

Not to mention her patterned cat and other animal artworks that are perfect to discuss with young children. They love how playful, colorful and creative these artworks are.

What age is this ceramic project for?

If you help children premake a slab, you can do this with any age child. Younger than 6 years old may need help really make sure they do not cut through the clay when designing. As with any fine motor skill, some kids will be able to understand this while others will still not be able to control the pressure they apply.

Recommended Supplies

  • White Art Clay
  • Wooden Skewer
  • Small Placemat or work surface
  • Small container of water
  • Rolling pin (for the teacher if pre-making slabs)
  • Cat Template

Before You Begin

For this particular project, we like to make the slabs in advance so that there was enough time to build and clean up in a 40-minute class. You can choose to also have children roll their own slab if you prefer.

How To Make A Clay Slab Cat

Step 1: Pass Out Clay

Either pre-create each slab for the students or give each child a ball of clay. Create a clay slab by using a rolling pin to make a pancake large enough to fit the cat template.

Step 2: Line Up Template

Place the template on an even clay slab.

paper template with cat drawn on it on clay slab.

Step 3: Cut Out Cat Shape

Use a wood skewer to cut around the cat template.

hand using wooden skewer to cut around paper cat template.

Step 5: Pull the extra clay off the slab. Kids are always amazed at how this works!

hand pulling extra cut clay off of cut out cat.

Step 4: Make Tail

Roll a coil to be used as a tail from the extra clay that was cut off.

small clay coli being scored with wooden skewer to attach to clay slab.

Step 5: Attach Clay Tail

Use score lines on the parts that you are attaching and use one finger dipped in water to “make fake clay slip”. 

finger rubbing water on clay and score lines.

Step 6: Build and Attach Other Details

Create other relief parts of the cat. Score, add water and attach.

cut out cat out of clay with eyes and nose made next to it.

Step 7: Draw and Add Texture

Use a skewer or needle tool to draw other details and patterns.

hand drawing in mouth of cat with wooden skewer.

Encourage students to draw in designs or stamp textures into the clay body.

finished clay cat ceramic project for kids.

Step 8: Add Name

An adult should flip over and write the child’s name on the back of the clay.

Step 9: Let Dry

We like to let kid clay projects dry for about a week. However these are thin, so you probably could get away with them drying in 4 days. Just make sure they are not cool to the touch.

Step 10: Run Kiln

Run a bisque fire in your kiln according to the clay you order.

Options For Adding Color To Clay

Can you really use oil pastels on clay?

Yes, it creates a different look on the finished clay. Making sure students really grind on the old oil pastels will get you rich colors. If doing an ink or acrylic wash, just make sure it is rinsed to the desired effect. Adding a clear coat or sparkly mod podge can also give a fun effect.

Since it is hard to load a kiln with glazed slabs, we decided to use a fun oil pastel technique on our clay cats. This just saved needing to run the kiln one more time and showcases the textures and designs that the kids make on their cats.

Steps For Using Oil Pastel Resist On Clay Cat

  1. Color clay by pushing hard. Make sure kids are careful in delicate areas.
  2. Kids can blend colors but really encourage clay to be covered with color.
  3. Make a ratio of 1:1 water and ink or black acrylic paint.
  4. Paint wash over the whole clay project.
  5. Run project under the sink.
  6. Let dry.
  7. Optional: Use a clear coat of your choice to finish the clay project.o

Need more easy clayprojects for kids?

Follow us on Pinterest or YouTube for more arts and crafts ideas!

Kids will love their fun clay slab art projects.

Yield: Easy Clay Slab Cat

Clay Cat Art Project

clay slab art project for kids with paper cat template and clay cat on placemat.

Learn how kids can make this easy clay slab art project. This art lesson is perfect for elementary-aged children. Use Laurel Burch as inspiration for your students.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Active Time 40 minutes
Additional Time 9 hours
Total Time 9 hours 45 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost Less than $5

Materials

  • White Art Clay (Low Fire)
  • Oil Pastels
  • Black Acrylic Paint
  • Wooden Skewer

Tools

  • Kiln
  • Wooden Skewer
  • Clay Placemat
  • Small Container of Water

Instructions

    1. Either pre-create each slab for the students or give each child a ball of clay.
    2. Create a slab by using a rolling pin to make a pancake large enough to fit the cat template.
    3. Place template on even clay slab.
    4. Use a wood skewer to cut around the cat template and pull the extra clay off the slab.
    5. Roll a coil to be used as a tail. 
    6. Use score lines on the parts that you are attaching and use one finger dipped in water to “make fake clay slip”. 
    7. Create other relief parts of the cat. Score, add water and attach.
    8. Use a skewer or needle tool to draw other details and patterns.
    9. Let dry. We like to let kid clay projects dry for about a week. However these are thin, so you probably could get away with them drying in 4 days. Just make sure they are not cool to the touch.
    10. Run a bisque fire in your kiln according to the clay you order.
    11. Add color by glazing, painting or even using oil pastels.

Notes

An adult should carefully write the names on the back of the clay cats with a needle tool.

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