This part of the process can be quite difficult for students to get the walls to stay attached, and to stand up straight. Some students may need to start over, but eventually they are successful. They are motivated to succeed in this initial part of the process since then the fun part begins creatively of designing and furnishing the room or house. Towers can be made by wrapping the clay around cardboard cylinders and pinch pots and coils made by hand or with an electric clay extruder can be used for fancy touches such as furniture, appliances, or domed roofs and spires.
Another great classroom ceramics idea is making pinch pot animals. This process is very simple, and all of the creatures come out very differently. First have the students form small pinch pots. The students curve their hands into a letter "C" around their clay and shape it into a ball. Then they stick their thumbs down into the ball more than halfway, but not so deep that it breaks through the bottom. Keeping their fingers together and their thumbs inside, they should pinch and turn the pot in order to enlarge the hole. When it is shaped they tap the clay down onto the work surface so that the bottom flattens out. Dipping a finger into water, they then polish away any elephant wrinkles until the surface is smooth.
Then the pot can be gently squeezed into an oval shape. The top sides of the pot can be squeezed into the center, to form a figure eight. The top of the eight will become the two front legs and the bottom of the eight will become the two hind legs. Now, turn the pot over. The pot's bottom will become the animal's back. By pinching and pulling the clay, the students can form the head and tail of the animal. Suggest that the students let the clay itself tell them what kind of animal to form it into - rather than starting out with a preconceived idea. Perhaps the final animal will be a dog, cat, horse, dinosaur, or dragon. The students get ideas from one another, and they put lots of effort into the details. Make sure to caution them about making details which are too small and fragile, which might dry and fall off. After bisque firing, the animals can be painted with Acmi glazes and decorated by hand, and then re-fired.
After purchasing a flower pot, sand the pot down before painting. You should also seal the inside of the flower pot with an oil-based polyurethane to protect your painted design from water penetration. If you are painting pots for outdoor placement, use a paint specifically designed for outdoor use. DecoArt Patio Paint is water and weather-resistant and adapts well to changing temperatures. Outdoor paints also mean your pot will be easy to clean.
Cut out words and images from scrapbook papers, magazines and even junk mail to decoupage your pot. Create a theme by selecting similar words or images, for example Spring. Tissue paper is a great material to decoupage pots. You can use one color or a variety of coordinating colors for a fun, semi-transparent look.
Yarn - Wrap yarn or twine tightly around the lip of your pot, gluing as you go. Yarn-wrapping creates an interesting textured look.
Buttons - Flat buttons are a fun way to decorate pots. Paint flowers on your pot and glue buttons as the centers the flowers. Add a line of buttons around the top of the pot. Randomly glue buttons all over the pot.