We’ve been on a bit of a dragon kick at our house. So when Pottery Cool asked if I would try out their newest kit, create a new project, and play with it with my kids, of course I said, “Yes. And we’ll make dragons.” So we did.
This is a really fun project for kids, but it is always a hard balance as a parent to include just enough oversight to make sure that the kids are happy with their project, while still staying hands-off enough that they own the project. Am I right?
How many of us want to jump in there and “do” the craft for our kids?
So in this post, I will share a few dragon-building tips we learned that will help you stay more hands-off with your child’s Pottery Cool crafting and also provide a free wing template your child can use to help add a dragon to any of the Pottery Cool project ideas. And also – I’ll show you how to make my dragon protecting his cave of marbles. I named him Ember. You can give your child the wing template I provide and let him make a dragon on any project he chooses. This is real pottery that your kids can use and clean up themselves!
So first, the tips, because you will need those before you start opening up the Pottery Cool kit. (And by the way, you can get your Pottery Cool Kit at Walmart.) The kids get so excited! If you have older kids, just let them read the rest of this post to learn how to add a dragon to any Pottery Cool project they like. Your dragon does not have to look like mine – just let him be an inspiration as you create.
Tips for Using Pottery Cool
- The pottery clay works best when wet. Start by getting it wet, and don’t try to spread it over the form of choice without getting it wet first.
- Gently mold the pottery into the basic shape of the form *before* you start the wheel turning. My boys? They wanted to turn on that motor immediately – and cracked clay was the result. The purpose of the wheel is to help you smooth out your shape, finish the shape, and add consistent lines.
- Watch a few Pottery Cool videos on YouTube before you start crafting. Seriously. We watched three videos, and it really gave us some insight into how Pottery Cool works and gave us ideas too!
- Put something underneath your surface area. Really! I know it says that in the instructions. I know. I just didn’t think it would really matter until *after* I saw how much my boys enjoyed getting messy with the clay. It matters.
- Pick a theme for your creations, and spend some time looking at images on the web. Since we wanted to make dragons, I had the boys look at clay dragons on Google images, and get an idea of the lines, shapes, and styles they preferred. This helped direct their creative process.
- Small, thin segments may break easily. Make sure you keep the pottery at the recommended thickness for your finished project.
Okay – so with a few tips to help you get started on the right foot, meet Ember:
Ember is my dragon.
To create Ember, I started with the cone form in place. I cut my clay piece from the kit in half (so that I had a half circle) and got it good and wet. Then I wrapped the semi-circle around the form just as if I was making a cone from paper. Once the clay was in place, I gently rubbed the edges where the clay didn’t quite meet and got those areas extra wet. I also pushed some clay up to the top of the cone to form a more solid point.
With the clay already basically molded to the form, I turned on the wheel and started using the motion of the wheel to gently smooth out the cone and work more clay to the joined section where it was still thin. I also worked the clay further down on the cone to create a larger shape.
I stopped and started the wheel a few times as I needed to reshape the clay without movement in the joined areas.
Finally, as I got the clay into a nice cone shape and all the surfaces were smooth, I used a knife to trim the bottom edge where it was jagged and removed the clay cone from the form using the instructions provided.
With a completed cone, I turned my attention to the dragon wings. I printed out my template at 50% of full size (this is a setting on your printer.) Then, I cut out the dragon wing template and placed it on the remaining half sheet of clay.
I could easily see that two wings would not quite fit, so I used a rolling pin to spread out the clay. Then I carefully placed the template on the clay and used the provided plastic tool to cut around the edges of my template. Before cutting out the other wing, I flipped the template over so that each wing would be facing in the correct direction. Once I had the wings cut out, I gently scored each wing where the bones would be to give it dimension.
With the wings ready, I used the remaining clay to fashion a dragon head, body, and tail. I placed the head onto the cone first, using the scoring method described to connect to pieces of clay. Any time you want to put two pieces together, you need to score both sides where they will fit together, and spray lightly with water. I used a criss-cross pattern, which you can see in this short video.
Next, I put the body behind the head and added the tail.
Turning my attention back to the wings, I decided the surface of the wings wasn’t really large enough to score and attach. Instead, I cut small slits on either side of the dragons body and inserted the wings through the actual cone. Then I used the provided tools to carefully smooth out and connect those pieces of clay.
Drying my clay dragon was the hardest part! I am so impatient. Once the dragon was completely dry, I painted him carefully using the paint and paintbrush provided. Once dry, the dragon with his cave is ready to hold marbles, jewelry, paper clips, or whatever you need to store!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.