Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Clay Projects - Nativity Plates

Grade One started these plates a month ago....Christmas is a busy time with the kiln. With all the projects needing to be completed I have to make sure I schedule it right.

We start off rolling out a slice of clay...we want it to be about 1/2 inch thick.

We place a lunch sized paper plate on the clay and using a skewer cut out our plate shape.

You'll notice I covered the paper plate with plastic wrap....this just ensures it doesn't stick. I'll remove it in a few days and place the clay plate back in the paper plate until it is fully dry.

Lift up your clay and place in the paper plate. Using a bit of water smooth your edge so it isn't jagged or sharp.

The kid's wrote their names and the year along the rim of the plate.

They then rolled a snake shape to create their manger. We did the roof first and then added the sides.

I always tell the kids "scratch, scratch..water, water" to get them to remember the have to score the surfaces they want to stick together as well as add a bit of water.

Once the manger was created they worked on Mary and Joseph. I had them cut a body shape and a head out of rolled out clay with the skewer.

I find skewers work the best for cutting shapes...the kids have more control than with plastic tools.

Glue your people into place using the "scratch, scratch,..water, water"

You need to make a cradle, just a little banana or crescent moon shape as well as a little baby Jesus.

Then using small cookie cutters we made a star shape for the top of our manger.

Using garlic presses make some hay for the manager and hair for Joseph and Mary.

To attach just scratch the area where you want the hay/hair to go and add a touch of water...you can't really scratch the hay/hair itself.

It should look like this when you're done.

We added some star imprints to our sky.

Let it dry for approximately 2 weeks to ensure a good result in the bisque fire.

Here are some of the Nativity's the Grade Ones completed.

After the bisque fire you can glaze and then fire again. We opted to paint with acrylics and then seal with 2 coats of Duraclear.

Here are some of the finished plates...some still have wet sealer so they look a little milky but will dry to a shiny gloss.
That's it.
See you soon


  1. The sweetest little plates and a special Christmas ornament for years to come. Loved this!

  2. I love those - and I bet you could do something similar with salt dough, if you didn't have access to a kiln.

    I wanted to thank you too for your post on the advent calendar. I ended up making something different, less labour intensive, but I used your tip of putting clues in the boxes so that the kids could search for their treats. It's fabulous. It's a lot more fun for them, it's encouraging my 6 year old to read, and I have a lot more scope as to what the treaties can be. You're a genius!

  3. Wow, those are really beautiful. LOVE it.

  4. Love these! I featured this idea over on my blog today! :-)

  5. I keep coming back to this project because it is so great. I was wondering if it would be ok for me to do the project with my class? drawpaintandcut.blogspot.com

  6. Hey Brittney, feel free to do the project, If you blog about it a link would be greatly appreciated!!