Clay Bird Nest Family Portrait

Want to learn how to build a clay bird’s nest? It looks intimidating but it’s not once you figure it out.

I learned to to make the nest and eggs by reading and practicing the techniques taught on @redandthepeanut’s blog. It was extremely helpful.

First you make a pinch pot. Then you wet a sphere of clay down and stuff it into a handheld garlic press.

You squeeze the garlic press as hard as you can to extrude very thin clay cylinders. Here’s the magic part – you don’t need to scratch and attach it to get it to stick to your pinch pot nest. You just gently press it on! The wetness you use with each extruded clay cylinder batch adheres it.

You do need to gently push it down, but don’t push so hard you misshape the clay cylinders.

Arrange the noodles on the top, inside, and outside of the nest. Just don’t put them on the base of the nest.

Roll and shape your eggs. For this project, since first grade and second grade in Texas have art TEKS (like common core standards but for Texas) about families, we formed an egg for anyone currently living at home with you. We talked about how everyone’s families are different.

When I made my teacher example, you better believe I added an egg for our puppy also. I invited the kids to do the same if they wanted. They could choose.

When I loaded all of the student nests into the kiln, there was about 5% clay noodle “shed” for each nest. This shedding dropped into the kiln, so in the future I am going to pick up and put down each dried nest before I put it into the kiln so the shed stays out of the kiln.

Little bird nest/gnome cross promotion

My garlic presses are metal, and I discovered that it’s so much harder to clean for use if you let the clay dry in all the cracks and crevices of the garlic press. It saves a lot of time and annoyance to clean out the clay before it dries.

This was a very big hit. I made it with first grade and the other grades saw them in the classroom and wanted to make them too. Grades three through five got to choose their own clay, so a few students in each grade chose to make it and were successful.

Happy nesting!

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