Posts Tagged ‘KS2 art’


This art project was linked to KS2 Rivers. Primary school students were learning about rivers in Geography and I was asked to compliment this with an art project.

I decided that we would make clay ‘portrait’ miniatures. The Victoria & Albert Museum have a few on display and I always admired them. When Grayson Perry made the ‘The Earl of Essex’ miniature for his ‘Who Are You?’ exhibition, as part of a Channel Four programme, I really wanted students to have a go at making them.

Students were asked to research animals and plants that make their home in or by British rivers. They had to choose their favourite and paint it on their clay miniature. The Kingfisher was the most popular by far!

Hopefully the ‘how to make’ photos below are self explanatory.

Tips: I cut oval templates for students to use as a size guide.

To get clay to adhere to clay, you need to make slip. Mix some clay with water until it is like thick cream. Roughen up the surface of the two pieces of clay to be stuck together, apply some slip and use a small tool or finger to blend ‘touching edges’ together.

While the clay is still soft, press a wire hanging loop into the back of the miniature. We bent wire around a chunky marker pen to create a loop. If you bend 5mm of the wire ends 90 degrees, this will help stop the wire from dislodging from the clay when hanging.

We used gesso to undercoat the flat oval surface in preparation for painting. If you don’t have gesso, just use white water based paint.

Here are some of the finished miniatures. To complete the look, like Grayson Perry’s ‘The Earl Of Essex’, we tied a bow around the hanging loop.


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One of the most looked at posts on this blog has to be my How to make Egyptian Canopic Jars. You will find step by step photos to help you get good results with your clay modelling and with a little prep, you can deliver this activity to your class and not have a meltdown (hopefully!).

Here is a photo from a primary school teacher who successfully delivered this project to her Year 5’s.


Thank you Mrs Batchelor, I’m glad you and your class enjoyed making Canopic Jars.

*Big thumbs up from me!*

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Painted Canopic Jar showing the Head of the God Duamutef

Painted Canopic Jar showing the Head of the God Duamutef

This particular project was a school class activity with years 5 & 6. It was so good, I had to add it on the Art Cabin site. The children had to make Canopic Jars from clay. I decided that it would be a good idea if we used a polystyrene cup as an armature to help the children retain a good ‘jar’ shape.

I think the photos are self explainatory if you want to try this activity (to a degree), so I won’t list a ’how to‘. Things to mention though: We used air drying clay, the slip (clay glue) is made by mixing water & clay together to form a sticky mush. Always crosshatch areas & add slip to bits of clay you want to join together. Clay will shrink when drying and cracks may form around the jar so just fill these with slip and let it dry. We punctured holes in the polystyrene cup with a toothpick before we started. The jars were painted using poster paints. Metallic gold mixed into a light brown, makes a good base colour.

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During last term I worked with year groups 3 & 4 on the theme of habitats. The children researched their chosen animal and its surroundings and put their data into a small handmade book which they could personalise. Some children worked in groups of two/three.

To make the 3D collage of their chosen animal the children used an old box for the habitat and decorated it accordingly. To sculpt the animals, newspaper was shaped and taped in place then covered with paper maché. Once dried the animals were painted and placed in position in their respective boxes.

This project really engaged the children, there was much excitement & fun during the making, then at the end pride and sense of achievement.

Unfortunately we did run out of time for this project and some children didn’t completely finish the decorating of their boxes, which was a shame.

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