Easy ceramic art lessons for your elementary art class
This list of easy ceramic projects has something for everyone. From simple flower clay pinch pots to complex double pot fish. Here are 8 creative pinch pot ideas you can make with kids.
Perfect Beginner Clay Projects
Pinch pots are the perfect beginner clay build for children and adults alike. It is a great way to understand how to form clay for the first time. Pinch pot crafts are awesome because you don’t have to attach clay together. They can even be built with air dry clay.
An easy way to teach different handbuilding techniques is to use a combination of pinch pot techniques with other clay building ideas. Other techniques include slab building, combining double pinch pots or adding a coil of clay to create new ideas. Have fun exploring a pinch pot method and create all sorts of DIY gifts.
Pinch pots (sometimes known as thumb pots) are also one the primary clay building techniques used when making ceramic projects. There are so many easy ceramic projects that kids (and adults) can do using this simple technique. And as a bonus, you really only need a small piece of clay to make a fun pot shape.
Common Obstacles With Pinch Pottery
- The walls of the pot are uneven
- The rim of the pot can get too thin
- They don’t push their thumb far enough down
- They over touch their clay with hot hands
- Air bubbles can form
- Kids add too much making it hard to hold the desired shape
Remind children to pinch all the way at the bottom of the clay and not only the top. A common problem is that children will pinch the top clay wall and not the bottom. The goal should be to make the walls as even as possible.
If you can feel the base is too thick, you can help thin out the base by pulling clay up the side walls. We always like to check as children are building their clay projects to make sure they don’t have too heavy of a base.
How thick should clay walls be in a pinch pot?
This will slightly depend on the clay project being built out of the pinch pot. However, if this is a stand-alone clay pinch pot then you want the walls to be an equal 1 cm or 1/2 inch. This will work for bowl pinch pots or even sculptural parts (like when we flipped ours over to be a clay turtle).
How do you make clay pots at home?
Use air-dry clay or even salt dough. You can use the same methods as traditional clay, but won’t have to put this air-dry clay in the kiln. Instead of using clay glaze, you can paint your clay pot with acrylic paint or even watercolor paint. Adding a sealer like Mod Podge will give it that same shiny feel.
There are so many different ways to practice a pinch pot technique and you don’t have to go to a ceramics class.
How much clay should you use for pinch pot projects?
This will depend on who is making the pinch pot. It is best to start with a small clay ball that will fit in your hand when making a pinch pot. This is the easiest way for children to create their own clay pot.
We have found a small amount of clay to be better than too much clay (especially if their first project).
Ceramic pinch pots are a great lesson plan for kids as a stand-alone project or as a structural base for new builds.
Here are 8 clay art lesson plans that have been very successful with our students over the years.
As with any clay or art project, encourage your kids to add their own creative ideas, textures and colors to these clay builds.
Clay Pinch Project Ideas
- Clay flower: Limited skill level is needed for this small pinch pot. Even if they make a few mistakes with their pinch pots, they still end up with a cute clay flower art project. Follow the step-by-step instructions to create a fun clay keepsake.
- Ceramic pinch pot turtle: We think this is a great clay project for kids in 2nd grade and older if done with a large class since you will have to attach some turtle body details.
- Pinch pot animals (like this elephant): Kids can design a pinch pot animal based on their own ideas. This clay project encourages students to think like artists and plan their final shape accordingly.
- Pinch pot owl project: 2nd graders and older easily understand that they need make owl details like eyes, wings and beaks to finish their little owl cup.
- Clay fish: This project is made from two pinch pots to create a hollow body. These look awesome finished with clay glaze or even just painted.
- Pinch pot bowl for kids: Just use a pinching method to create a basic pinch pot or even add a little coil to make a foot ring.
- Pinch pot monster: Turn a pinch pot on its side and add all sorts of scary or funny monster details.
- Pinch pot base of coil pot: Pinch pots are a great base for coil pots and will increase the speed at which kids are able to build a small vase or cup.
Other easy pinch pot projects we plan on making soon
- Pinch pot mug
- Pinch pot with basket handle
- Simple pinch pot
- Pinch pot bird baths
- Pinch pot shaped dishes
- Pinch pot Christmas tree dish
- Pinch pot pumpkins or jack-o-lanterns
- Pinch pot self-portrait or human
- Pinch pot ornaments
- DIY mini pinch pot planters
If you are looking for more easy clay projects check out our easy clay slab cat build young kids love.