If you’re looking for easy clay projects for kids, try these beautiful clay coil hearts! They are a favorite and the hearts are worthy of displaying or gifting. Clay activity and post by Danielle Falk of Little Ginger Studio.
There really is nothing like getting your hands on some clay – it’s therapeutic, relaxing and simultaneously full of creative possibilities!
I’ve been making ceramic pieces with children for years and it is always my students’ favorite activity.
And you don’t need a kiln!
Did you know you don’t actually need a kiln, fancy glazes or a degree in Ceramics to make pottery?
There’s plenty of fun to be had using air-drying clay. There are numerous quality air-drying (air-hardening) clays available. I love using an Australian brand of buff terracotta “paper” clay with kids as it has paper fibers added to improve strength. It can be fired or used as an air-drying clay. You can find paper clay in the US as well.
Easy Clay Projects for Kids
These clay coil hearts are super easy to make and suitable for all ages from 4 years and up. I’ve made them with little kids and adults and they never fail!
The technique of “drawing” with coils can be adapted to create intricate relief sculptures of different subjects. The outer heart shape helps to contain the coils and strengthen the design.
How to Make Clay Coil Hearts
- air dry or paper clay
- clay board or even just a piece of cardboard (your surface must be porous so the clay doesn’t stick)
- a wooden skewer
- wooden modeling tool or a simple popsicle stick will do!
- a small bowl of water
- an 8×10 piece of paper
- Sharpie / marker
1. Prepare the Template
Draw a heart shape on your piece of paper about the size of your hand, or a child’s hand!
2. Make the Shape Border
Roll out a coil about the thickness of your finger and try to make it as long as the perimeter of your heart.
Carefully place your coil on top of your drawing all the way around your heart shape.
Cut off any excess using your skewer as a knife.
Score (scratch into) both ends of your coil, add a little water and press together to join.
If you are using clay other than paper clay you may need to use slip (runny clay “mud”) to act as glue for joining. Smooth the join with your finger.
3. Fill the Heart Shape
Create another long, but thinner coil this time. Roll it into a spiral shape and place it snuggly inside your heart border.
Continue making clay coil spirals and adding them inside your border.
Finish by completely covering all gaps with little round squashed balls of clay.
4. Join the Coils Together
You now need to ensure all the clay is joined. You can do this by carefully scraping one side of the entire surface of the heart about 5mm deep.
Tip: You may need to add more clay at this stage if the work feels a bit thin and flimsy.
Once all clay is joined securely it’s time to flip it over and reveal your beautifully detailed clay heart!
5. Finishing Touches
If your clay has cracked at all (especially on hot days), you can smooth the cracks with a little water.
I often ask children to add more decoration by pricking designs with their skewers at this stage.
Be sure to poke a hole near the top before the clay dries if you’d like to add twine or ribbon later for hanging!
Hint: These clay coil heats make great ornaments for the Christmas tree.
6. Decorate the Heart
Once the pieces are completely dried (usually 2 weeks for paperclay) we fire them overnight in a kiln, add glazes in different colours and then fire them again.
But you can simply paint the hearts with acrylic paints and seal them with clear spray varnish and they will also keep (just don’t add water!). Another exciting technique I discovered recently (inspired by the fabulous Sunnyside Art House in Melbourne) is using oil pastels and watercolors directly on clay!
See how this is one of our favorite clay projects for kids?
I hope you enjoy making these clay hearts as much as I have over the years. Happy heart-making!
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