1st grade Coiled Clay Hearts

This was a big hit! I wanted to try something new, and the last time I made anything with clay coils was in my college ceramics class, so…I was just a little rusty on the concept. I researched it and tried to make it myself to see if I could do it. I figured that if I could make a coiled heart, I could teach the students to make it too. I made one pretty easily, and lots of other teachers posting online (Mrs. Jahner’s Art Room and Green Bay Art Room) have proof that their classes figured it out too, so I gathered up my courage and tried it out in my classes. (Early enough in the year that we could make something else if it was a total flop…)


In my first 3 classes, I demo’ed how to make a long skinny cylinder (like a snake), and create an outline of a heart shape.  Then we made 10 more skinny cylinders (snakes), and rolled up the cylinder on itself so it turned into a coil (like a snail.) Once you have 10 coils, push them inside the heart shape as close as you can get them. If you have extra space inside your heart outline, make more snails and push them in until it’s full.


You’ll see a few tiny gaps of space in between your coils. Roll a small sphere of clay and push it into the gap. Continue until all the gaps are full.


Now you’re ready to flip your heart over – carefully! – and smooth over the back side so all the coils, spheres, and the outer border heart shape all connect.


Then, write your student’s name and their art address.  Let it sit for at least 3 weeks uncovered, then bisque fire.  Glaze, then glaze fire…and voila!  Gorgeous clay coiled hearts – perfect for any time of the year.


However, for my 4th class – my Thursday class – I tried something different that was even more successful. Instead of asking the students to create their own heart outlines, I used some foam hearts I found at Michael’s. These hearts were a little too big, so next year I’m going to free-hand draw a heart just about half and inch smaller than these. The students used these as heart templates and all their hearts became more “hearty.”

 When we glazed, I let the students glaze exactly how they wanted. I told them how they needed to glaze three layers for each color. One of the students was absent when we glazed, so I glazed his heart for him so he would have a completed project. I discovered that monochromatic hearts turned out sooooo much better than hearts with tons of color because they were already so busy with the coiled patterns. All the colors on the pattern-heavy hearts looked too busy, but the monochromatic hearts looked gorgeous.


Next year, we’ll all glaze ours with just 1 color. šŸ˜‰ Enjoy!




***Update below – same project but with premium tempera paint instead of glazing. Great glaze alternative!***

I loved seeing how metallic and neon tempera paint worked with fired clay as a glaze alternative. They loved the ease of one coat paint color vs 3 glaze coats, and they loved the flexibility of being able to paint both sides without worrying about fusing the their piece to kiln (since there’s no firing paint.)

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