Monday, November 5, 2012

Clay Poppies

The Grade 5's made clay poppies this year.  They are currently in the display case with Grade 1's Poppy Paintings.

They are attracting alot of admirers.

The poppies turned out fabulous so here is the "how to".


- clay
- access to a kiln
- poppy reference photos
- a penny nail, wooden skewer, small canvas square to work on
- a rolling pin
- a little cup of water
- a Chinet paper bowl
- glaze
- wax resist, optional

Gather your supplies.  I have the kids work on small squares of canvas, like a placemat.  We use them over and over.  This stops the clay from sticking to their desks and makes clean-up a bit easier.

The Chinet paper bowl is to hold our poppy while it is drying to get that bowl shape.  I have 2 class sets and the get used over and over for other bowl like clay projects. The fact that it is paper allows the clay to dry out nicely.
Roll your clay out to nice slab about 1/2 inch or 1 cm thick.

Take your bowl and push down on it at one corner of your slab.

It will leave an imprint so you can cut your base the right size.  I use this opportunity to discuss with the kids how you don't want to do this in the center of the slab as you want to ensure you have plenty of room to cut your petals.

Cut out the circle base with the penny nail.  We use nails for cutting (they don't break) and wooden skewers for scratching and etching.

Place the base in the paper bowl.

I had images up on the Smartboard for the kids to look at of real poppies.  We talked about different shapes we could use.

Cut out some poppy shapes.  I always stress the use of odd numbers ( looks better design wise) so we were going for 5 or 7.

To attach the petals to the base scratch both surfaces with the skewer and add a little water with your finger.

Continue adding petals.  Have them overhang slightly and you can have some angled up.

Use a little water to smooth any rough edges from the cutting.

I gave the kids several texture tools so they could add some interest to their petals.  Quite a few also just added striations with the skewer.

Roll a ball or some other shape for the center of your poppy.  Attach with scratches and a little water.

Write the student's name on the back of one of the petals.

Leave to dry out.  It took about 6 days for ours. Remove from the Chinet bowls. Keep these for more projects.

Bisque fire in the kiln.

Before glazing I added a coat of wax resist to the bottom of the poppies.  This allows me to fire them without stilting and no worries of them sticking to the shelf.

Glaze with red, wine, and a little purple.  You also need black for the center.

The students also glazed the back of the petals but not the bottom.

Glaze fire.

That's it.  Wonderful job Grade 5!

Here are more photos of this years Painted Poppies by Grade 1.


  1. A lovely project, especially around remembrance day! Thank you :) ELizabeth

  2. I love and have used soooo many of your lessons. I just discovered the clay poppies and will definately be doing them next year. I love doing clay with my Grade 1 students. Thank you for all the step-by-step instructions. They are really appreciated, especially by a non-art teacher.