Ceramic Fairy Houses Lesson (Part One-Slab Construction)

Ceramic Fairy Houses Lesson (Part One-Slab Construction)


  • Students will create an original clay house demonstrating good craftsmanship using slab and hand-building techniques.
  • Students will draw at least two preparatory sketches of ideas for their house.
  • Students will be able to define the given clay vocabulary.
  • Students will learn slab construction and hand building techniques.

Supplies: Small Cylinder to roll slab onto (we used our water cups), ceramic sculpting supplies-Sculpt Pro 11 Piece Pottery and Sculpting Art Tool Set, Masonite panels covered in canvas & secured

Preparation: Wedge the clay into grapefruit-size balls, one per child plus a few extra.


  • Two-dimensional: a SHAPE that can be measured in two ways: by height and width
  • Three-dimensional: a FORM that can be measured three ways: height, width, and depth
  • Free Standing Sculpture: a type of sculpture that is surrounded by space on all sides
  • Additive Sculpture: sculpture made by adding materials onto to the form.

Ceramic Techniques:

  • Hand-building: building pots using the only the hands and hand-held clay tools
  • Slab: clay is rolled into thin sheets or slabs and then formed into shapes or forms.
  • Pinch: shaping clay by inserting the thumb of one hand into the clay and lightly pinching/ pressing with the thumb on the inside and fingers on the outside while slowly turning the clay to enlarge the center opening of the clay.
  • Coil: creating ceramic forms by rolling out coils of clay and joining them together by the slip & score method.

Stages of Dryness

  • Wet
  • Leather hard
  • Greenware or Bone dry
  • Bisquesware (first firing)
  • GlazeWare (second firing with glaze)

The Ten Golden Rules of Ceramics Submitted by Joe Cox

This is how we made the cylinder house:

  •  Apply Texture to slab before cutting out templates (we forgot to do it first & it was hard to get nice texture afterwards)
  •  Scratch and slip:  (DEMO) To attach two pieces of clay, scratch the surfaces to be joined several times with a needle tool and apply a small amount of slip or water on both sides. Press the surfaces together. Be sure not to over-wet the clay, which will cause it to become too soft and slimy. This is important to do because as slabs dry they tend to pull apart and pieces could pop apart or off. To make an even stronger bond, roll a very thin coil of clay and push it inside the joints where the walls meet.
  • Demo Subtractive and Additive methods. Demonstrate how to cut windows & doors
  • When completely finished, scratch your name into the piece & set on a bat labeled with your name & today’s date in Kiln room to dry. Dry 5-10 days

Next is Part Two-GLAZING!

If you choose to use this lesson or to repost it, please link it back to my blog. Create Art with ME

Additional Ceramic Lessons:

Lily Pads with Lotus Flowers

Bird Bath Miniature with Glass Bead

Ceramic Butterfly Bowls Part 1 & Part 2 (Glazed)

Ceramic Box with Lid

Role-A-Beast Animal Ceramic Lesson

Funny Face Mugs Part 1-slab construction & Part 2– Jug History & Glazing

  1. Kim
    • micheast

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