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Products Used


Low-fire clay body (Cone 06/05)


SC-15 Tuxedo, SC-16 Cotton Tail, SC-24 Dandelion, SC-27 Sour Apple, SC-30 Blue Dawn, SC-52 Toadily Green, SC-76 Cara Bein Blue, SC-88 Tu Tu Tango, FN-031 Cornflower Blue

Design Tools

CD-1261 Butterfly Sprig Mold, CD-1075 Press Tools,   ST-367 Leafy Border Stamp, ST-338 Deco Diamonds, BT-910 Synthetic Sponge, AC-213 Sponge on a Stick, CB-110 #10/0 Liner, CB-106 #6 Script Liner, CB-604 #4 Soft Fan 

Additional Materials
Pencil, Tape, Copy Paper, Soda Can, Pony Roller, Moist Clay, Needle Tool, ¼" Wooden Slats, Canvas, Rolling Pin, Fettling Knife, Slip/Clay Slurry, Sand Bag, Small Cup, Project Template: Handle

soda can bird


For grade levels 9-12

This Bird Pitcher is a basic hand building container which incorporates the element of designing fun and whimsical birds. Birds hold a fascination with children. There are a variety of species, they can fly, and each bird has a distinct call or song that they produce when communicating.

Encourage kids to stop, look and listen. Birds sing, they protect their territory, they attract mates, they fly, and they hunt for food. This behavior is fascinating to watch. To learn more facts on birds read, “Sharing The Wonder of Birds With Kids” by Laura Erickson.


  • Students will learn the steps of creating with clay including construction, bisque firing, glazing, and glaze firing

  • Students will recognize the characteristics and beauty of birds in their community
  • Students will discover technique – Slab Building

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. Wrap a piece of copy paper around a coke can. Roll the can on the diagonal till the paper is used up, then secure with a small piece of tape.
  2. Roll out clay ¼ thick. Cut a rectangle 9x5. With a pony roller, thin the clay at one of the short sides. Score the topside of the thinned edge.
  3. Lay the can on the clay at the thicker side. Roll the clay onto the can. Score the remaining side using slip (mix of clay you are using and water in a sour cream consistency) on the scored surface. Press the pieces together.
  4. Take excess clay and roll out ¼” slab for the bottom of the piece. Score the clay on the bottom portion of your cylinder adding slip in preparation to be placed on the slab. Place the cylinder shape with the can still inside on top of the slab. Cut around the cylinder leaving about an 1/8 inch extra clay. Push up the extra clay on to the sides of the cylinder sealing the bottom layer to the side walls of your tube.
  5. Leave the coke can in the clay till the walls of your vessel are stiff enough to stand on their own. If you put a little hole in the bottom it will release easier, as it can form a vacuum. When removing the can the paper should stay behind. You can remove the paper at any time. Remember to fill in the little hole of this vessel if you wish it to hold liquids.
  6. To cut the handle, roll out a piece of clay a little thicker than ¼ inch.
  7. Use ST-367 Leafy Border Stamp to create some pattern in the clay. Use the template provided to cut out the handle. Leave it sit till it is sturdy enough to pick up without much movement.
  8. As the template shows, cut out the notch in handle so it will fit over the back of the cylinder.
  9. Using your finger, pull out the spout of the pitcher.
  10. Roll two small balls of clay for the eyes. Cut the balls approximately in half then score and slip attach to the sides of the spout.
  11. Cut a fat thick triangle for the beak. Curve to shape then score, slip and attach the beak between the eyes.
  12. Press some clay into the CD-1261 Butterfly Sprig Mold for the wings. In order to have a right and left wing, one of the wings will need to be attached backwards. Use a needle tool to score lines on the backside of the butterfly wings, add slip and attach in place. Roll small coils and slip attach to the backside of the butterfly wing. This adds strength. Use a tool to smooth in place. Add more coils if necessary.
  13. Roll small balls attach to the head of the butterfly wing. Press into place with a tool from CD-1075 Press Tools.
  14. Roll a fat coil and cut in pieces for the feet. Shape three cuts for each foot, score slip and attach to the bird.
  15. Check the handle for stiffness then score, slip and attach to the cylinder. It may need additional support.
  16. Mark lines in the clay for the breast.
  17. Allow to dry! You can tell your clay is completely dry when you place it on your cheek and the clay feels like it’s room temperature. If it looks dry and feels cold, the clay is still wet on the inside. Do not fire until it is completely dry to avoid breakage.
  18. Bisque fire to shelf cone 04.
Glazing Directions:
  1. Place FN-031 Cornflower Blue into a small cup and add a little bit of water to slightly dilute it (about 3 parts glaze and 1 part water). It should be the consistency of a coffee cream. Pour the mixture into the piece and roll around to completely coat the interior. Drain out the excess glaze and keep piece inverted until it has lost its shine. Wipe off any glaze from the outside using a damp sponge. Allow to dry.
  2. Using a CB-604 #4 Soft Fan apply 3 coats of SC-30 Blue Dawn to the body of the bird.
  3. Using a CB-106 #6 Script Liner apply 2 coats of SC-16 Cotton Tail on the chest over the SC-30 Blue Dawn.
  4. Using a CB-106 #6 Script Liner apply 2-3 coats of SC-24 Dandelion to the beak.
  5. Using a CB-106 #6 Script Liner apply 2 thinned coats of SC-27 Sour Apple on the wings.
  6. Using a CB-106 #6 Script Liner apply 2 thinned coats of SC-88 Tu Tu Tango to the handle. Sponge off the leaving the glaze in the detail the tips of the feathers.
  7. Using a CB-106 #6 Script Liner apply 1 coat of SC-27 on the wiped back area.
  8. Using a CB-110 #10/0 Liner, apply 2 coats of SC-16 Cotton Tail to the eye. Apply SC-30 Blue Dawn to the upper area of the eye to make it an eyelid. Remaining eye is SC-52 Toadily Green.
  9. Using a CB-106 #6 Script Liner apply 2 coats of SC-15 Tuxedo to the feet.
  10. Using the AC-213 Sponge on a Stick load the sponge with SC-76 Cara-bein Blue. Tap the SC-76 Cara-bein Blue onto the ST-338 Deco Diamonds Stamp then press the stamp on the middle of the body. Allow to dry.
  11. Apply S-2101 Clear Glaze to the outside of the piece. Allow to dry.
  12. Stilt and fire to shelf cone 06.

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