• Mayco Designer Silkscreens are a great and easy way to add intricate detail to your work.
    Read More
  • Mayco Flux - SW-401 Light Flux & SW-402 Dark Flux Movement • Interaction • Beauty Mayco's SW-401 Light Flux and SW-402 Dark Flux
    Read More
  • 16 new stoneware glazes, including 6 soft mattes and 7 crystals. we also introduce a zinc-free clear that works well
    Read More
  • Convert your original artwork - or artwork for which you have the legal rights to use* - into a hand-applied silkscreen. No
    Read More
load more / hold SHIFT key to load all load all


Products Used


SC-14 Java Bean, SC-15 Tuxedo, SC-25 Crackerjack Brown, SC-52 Toad-ily Green, SC-54 Vanilla Dip

Design Tools 

CD-1072 4 Spiral Press Tools, BT-910 Synthetic Sponge, CB-202 #2 Detail Liner, CB-404 #4 Pointed Round, CB-604 #4 Soft Fan 

Additional Materials

Pencil, 1⁄2” Dowel Rod, Paper, Moist Clay, 1/4" Wooden Slats, Canvas, Rolling Pin, Fettling Knife, Needle Tool, Slip/Clay Slurry, Straight Edge Ruler, Plastic Bag, Pipe Cleaners, Glue, Box Cutting Template

animal boxes lessonplan


For grade levels 9-12

African art is as diverse as the great number of ethnic and tribal cultures living there. Like most of the world, the culture of Africa has been impacted by both internal and external forces. The arts and crafts of Africa find expression in a variety of woodcarvings, brass and leather works, sculpture, paintings, pottery and ceremonial headgear and dress. In African art, the object was not as important as the soul force behind the creation of the object. It is also of great importance that all art be functional.

In most of traditional art and craft of Africa, certain themes significant to African culture recur, including a couple, a woman with a child, a male with a weapon or animal, and an outsider or a stranger. The man with the weapon or animal theme symbolizes honor and power.

By making an animal shaped box out of clay, students honor both the vast diversity of Africa’s animal world, and also create a functional work of art! After choosing a favorite African animal, students will hand build a clay box with lid. After firing and applying color, the project is complete.


  • Recognize the characteristics and traits of animals they admire

  • Explore artistic mediums of clay and clay tools

  • Discover technique – slab building and encounter principles of color, line, shape

National Standards

  • Understanding and Applying Media, Techniques, and Processes
  • Using Knowledge of Structures and Functions
  • Choosing and Evaluating a Range of Subject Matter, Symbols, and Ideas


Construction Technique:
  1. With a rolling pin and two 3/8" dowels, roll out the slab of clay to the size a legal piece of paper (8-1/2" x 14").

  2. Place the clay on the canvas covered table, and with a dowel rod on each end of the rolling pin, roll the clay into a slab. The dowel rods serve as guides to ensure that the clay slab is of a uniform thickness.

  3. Make clay “slurry” by mixing a piece of clay about the size of a large marble with water in a cup. This will act as the “glue” to attach all the pieces together.

  4.  Following the pattern on page 3, or using a similar design, cut the sides, bottom and lid of the box out of the clay.

  5. Using a small clean up tool, cut out the pattern and save the excess clay for the head, feet and tail of the animal box.

  6. Using various stamps and press tools, design a pattern on the sides, bottom and top of the animal box.

  7. Attach the sides to the bottom of the box by scoring (scratching into the surface of the adjoining pieces with a fork or needle tool). Use the slurry as glue to hold the pieces together.

  8. To the bottom side of the lid, add a small coil of clay by scoring and slipping. Make sure the coil fits inside the box to make the lid fit securely. Place the lid on the box with a thin layer of newspaper or paper towel between the two pieces to avoid them sticking together.

  9. Let the box dry to the leather hard stage. (The clay is still visibly damp but has dried enough to be able to be handled without deformation. The clay may be gouged or incised without breaking, but will not receive impressions)

  10. Once the body of the box is leather hard, add legs, tail and head by scoring and using the slurry made earlier as the glue. Form legs by making fat coils and bending at the foot. Make a smaller coil for the tail. Using various shapes, form the head and neck of your animal. Add eyes, ears and nose. Use press tools to help in creating your animal head.  

  11. Allow to dry completely and bisque fire to shelf cone 04. 

Glazing Directions:
  1. Using a brush, slightly thin the base coat of glaze and apply over the entire piece. Wipe back with a damp sponge over the tops of the design to give the piece an antique look

  2. Further embellish your African Box using one coat of various colors of Mayco Stroke & Coat Wonderglaze for Bisque. Allow to dry.

  3. Using a brush, apply two coats of Crystal Clear Brushing glaze. Allow to dry. Wipe any glaze from the bottom of the feet. Do not apply glaze to the area where the lid fits on the box, or alternately, fire them separately.

  4. Fire to cone 06.

Who We Are

Our purpose, history, and policies

About Us

Site Map

Warranty & Freeze Policy

Where To Buy

Find the best place to purchase Mayco products

Dealers & Retailers


PYOP & Ceramic Studios 

Contact Us

 (614) 876-1171 |   (614) 876-9904


Technical Support



Newsletter Sign-up