How To Build Clay Monster Pinch Pots for Kids

Do you need another fun ceramic project for kids? Look no further. We have yet to meet a kid that hasn’t liked making a pinch pot monster.

clay pinch pot monster project for kids.

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Have you ever seen the excitement on a child’s face when they learn it is clay day? From simple clay owls to more advanced clay fish art project, clay can be used to unleash children’s creativity. This clay monster art project from a basic pinch pot is no exception.

What ages can complete this project?

Clay monsters are an awesome art project for second graders and older. However, as with most projects with a little adult assistance, I am sure a 5 or 6 year could build their own monster. As a child’s skills increase they just may be able to add more details to their clay pinch pot monster.

Also, younger children can use the same concepts but build a clay monster with air dry clay or model magic.

Model magic is amazing because you won’t even need to score to attach items. It just works together. Or have fun using homemade playdough to practice these steps before actually using clay!

Why create pinch pot art with kids?

Pinch pots or thumb pots are the most basic clay-building technique. When children are pinching clay they naturally are helping not to have air pockets in their ceramic pieces. 

hand holding clay pinch pot.

Can you use air-dry clay?

Yes, most regular clay pieces can be done with air-dry clay. You would just have to use acrylic paint to add color and not glazes.

Tips To Build Clay Monsters

  • Make sure pinch pots are not too thin but still create a hollow form to start with. If they are too thin, it will make it hard to attach facial items.
  • Encourage kids to add texture to their monsters. A simple wooden skewer and/or popsicle stick will work or you can also provide other clay tools if you have them. 
  • Kids should use a little homemade slip when attaching items. The image below shows how the scoring and water method can work.
  • If possible, students should blend the seam with their fingers after attaching the clay.
  • Let projects fully dry before loading them into the kiln. 
  • Make sure children do not make details that are too thick.
clay monster eye attached using scoring and water on kid's ceramic art project.

Recommended Supplies

  • White Art Clay (or air dry clay if you do not have a kiln)
  • Wooden Skewers or other clay tools
  • Small container of water
  • Clay placemat or work surface
  • Glazes or acrylic paints
  • Paintbrush
  • Kiln

How To Build Pinch Pot Monster

Step 1: Pass Out Clay

Start with a ball of clay that can fit inside a child’s hand.

amount of clay used to build clay monster in hand on top of clay placemat.

Step 2: Split Clay Into 2 Parts (on larger than the other)

Split a little bit off the hunk of clay. The bigger chunk of clay can be rolled into a ball.

hand with two amounts of clay in front of it with wooden skewer and water cup.

Step 3: Push Thumb In The Middle

Have kids push one hole with their thumbs as far as they can go without going through. 

hand holding ball of clay with thumb hole pushed in.

Step 4: Make Pinch Pot

Use your hands to pinch around the edge and make sure not to make walls too thin. The walls should probably be around 1/8” thick to support the shell when flipped on its side.

hand pinching clay to create a pinch pot.

Step 5: Place Pinch Pot On Its Side

Step 5: Put the clay pinch pot on its side.

clay pinch pot on its side on clay placemat with cardboard background.

Step 6: Sculpt Monster Details From Extra Clay

Begin sculpting eyes for your monster. Make sure the eyes are not too thick. Use a skewer to poke in the pupils. This will also help to ensure eyes are not too thick.

two small balls of clays to become clay monster eyes in front of pinch pot on its side.

Step 7: Attach Items By Scoring and Adding Water

Attach eyes to pinch pot monster face by scoring the eyes and where you are attaching to the face of the monster.

lines being drawing on clay pinch pot where clay eyes will go.

Use one finger dipped in water to add “slip” and secure.

water added on top of score lines on clay eye with clay monster head in the background.

Use your finger to help blend the seam where the eyes are going if possible.

clay monster eyes attached to pinch pot head.

Step 8: Sculpt and Add More Unique Monster Facial Features

Create monster details. Roll a coil for eyebrows. Add texture by drawing lines with a skewer. Make sure to score and add water when attaching to clay.

eyebrow for clay monster scored on to clay project.

Step 9: Add Hair and Horns

Create horns and attach them properly.

in progress clay monster being built with extra clay nose and skewer on placemat.

Step 10: Continue Adding Other Details

Create a tongue, teeth and any other monster facial detail.

pinch pot monster getting final facial details added.

Finally, add any extra texture to the monster.

side view of clay monster's texture that was drawn in with wooden skewer.

Step 11: Let Fully Dry and Fire In kiln

Once your projects are not cool to the touch and completely dry, you will run a bisque fire in your kiln. We always like to wait a week before putting projects in the kiln.

final pinch pot clay monster with eyebrows, horns, togue and big eyes before going in kiln.

Additional or optional steps

  • Kids can use water to smooth out any rough areas. We always instruct them that a little goes a long way and not to make “mud pie”.
  • An adult should write the kid’s name on the bottom of the pinch pot with a sharp sewer or needle tool.

How to add color to clay pinch pot monsters

You can choose to glaze, but we know not everyone has access to that. Therefore, acrylic paints, oil pastel and ink resist or even watercolor paint can be used to finish your clay monsters.

See our tips for using glaze with children.

blue glazed pinch pot monster clay project for kids.

Looking for more easy clay pinch pot projects?

  • This simple clay flower build is a perfect clay project for a child’s first pinch pot. They will love learning about the properties of clay by exploring the textures and feels. You don’t even have to score and attach clay for this easy clay pinch pot idea.
  • Fun Clay Owl Art Lesson
pinch pot clay monster art project kids love with images of how to build clay monster.

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

final pinch pot clay monster with eyebrows, horns, togue and big eyes before going in kiln.

Pinch Pot Monsters

This fun ceramic monster project is great for kids ages 7 and up. Children will love sharing their creativity by making their own pinch pot monsters.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Arts and Crafts For Kids
Keyword: ceramic monster project for kids, clay monster, clay pinch pot monster art project, fun pinch pot project, monster art project for kids, pinch pot monster
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 1 hour
Additional Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 9 hours 5 minutes
Author: Crafty Art Ideas
Cost: Less than $5

Equipment

  • Wooden Skewer
  • Optional: Variety of other clay tools
  • Needle Tool (best for adult to write names)
  • Small container of water
  • Clay placemat or work surface

Materials

  • White Art Clay
  • Variety of Clay Glazes
  • Acrylic Paint optional if not glazing

Instructions

  • Start with a ball of clay that can fit inside a child’s hand.
  • Split a little bit off the hunk of clay. The bigger chunk of clay can be rolled into a ball.
  • Have kids push one hole with their thumbs as far as they can go without going through. 
  • Use hands to pinch around the edge and make sure not to make walls too thin. The walls should probably be around 1/8” thick to support the shell when flipped on its side.
  • Put clay pinch pot on its side.
  • Begin sculpting eyes for your monster. Make sure the eyes are not too thick. Use a skewer to poke in the pupils. This will also help to ensure eyes are not too thick.
  • Attach eyes to pinch the pot monster's face by scoring the eyes and where you are attaching to the face of the monster. Use one finger dipped in water to add “slip” and connect. Use a finger to help blend the seam where the eyes go.
  • Create monster details such as horns, eyebrows, tongue and teeth. Roll a coil for eyebrows. Add texture by drawing lines with a skewer. Make sure to score and add water when attaching to clay.
  • Finally, add any extra texture to the monster.
  • Kids can use water to smooth out any rough areas. We always instruct them that a little goes a long way and not to make “mud pie”.
  • Glaze or paint monsters after a bisque fire.

Notes

  • An adult should write the kid’s name on the bottom of the monster with a sharp skewer or needle tool.
  • Let projects fully dry before putting them in the kiln. The clay should not be cool to the touch at all.
  • Don’t build anything too large or skinny off the monster’s body. This will help ensure that it does not break.

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