Lilypad & Lotus Flower Ceramics Lesson

lily pad lotus flower ceramic slab pinch pot lessonI LOVE ceramics & this lesson is ADORABLE! Lily pad & Lotus Flower Ceramics Lesson is targeted for elementary (2nd-5th grade) and teaches both slab & pinch pot techniques.

You could adapted this to slightly older students by adding more detail & petals to the flower (4-6th).

Lilypad & Flower Clay FULL credit for this lesson goes to Artventurous’s Clay Lilypads, please check out Artventurous-there are LOTS of great art ideas for the elementary classroom!! My third grade class did it similarly with one exception-we attached our flower to the lily pad. This made glazing a little more difficult, but the flower stays on the lilypad.

Here is my lesson plan for this project- again if you use this please give credit to Artventurous’s Clay Lilypads.




  • Identify the difference between relief and freestanding sculpture
  • Biblical Integration: God made all plant life
  • Recognize that plant life forms in art have been created by many cultures
  • Create a ceramic sculpture using slab and additive methods


  1. Shapes are 2D & Forms are 3D.
  2. Sculptures are 3D forms. They have height, width and depth.
  3. Relief sculptures can only be viewed from the front &sides.
  4. Freestanding sculpture or Sculptures in the Round have empty space all around them. Freestanding sculptures can usually be seen all the way around them.
  5. View artwork examples of 3D ceramic sculptures & reference pictures for the sculpture we will create.
  6. Ceramic process: build ceramic artwork, let dry completely for 5-7 days (until Bone dry), fire in kiln (Bisqueware), glaze with ceramic glazes, fire again (Glaze Firing)
  7. Ceramics Vocabulary:
    1. Slab: Creating a ceramic form by hand-building walls using flat rolled-out pieces of clay.
    2. Slip: muddy, liquid clay used to attach two pieces
    3. Score: to make marks on the clay to attach two pieces
  8. Score and Slip Technique: Teacher DEMO Score and slip refers to a method of joining two pieces of clay together. First, score the clay; this means that you make scratches in the surfaces that will be sticking together. Then you slip it; that is you wet the surface with some slip, using it like glue. Next, you press the two pieces together. It is very important to always score and slip If you do not, the pieces will likely pop apart when they are fired.

Activity: 3D Lily Pad with Flower Bowl Sculpture

Use clay to create a lily pad & flower bowl sculpture.

Lilypad & Flower Clay

Lily Pad Instructions:

  1. Create the lily pad by rolling out a ball of clay (size of a baseball) into a slab about 6” in diameter. Used ¼” wooden paint sticks on either side of the clay to ensure the clay when rolled out is not too thin or too thick.
  2. Optional: Use a cardboard lily pad template to trace and trim out their leaf shaped piece.
  3. Use a needle tool or a paperclip that has be straightened to cut out the “V”
  4. Use wooden skewers or the end of a paintbrush to carve in the details of the veins, be careful not to press too deep into the slab.

Teacher Guided Demo: The teacher will demonstrate the process of rolling out the clay, tracing the circle template, cutting out the “V”, then adding the texture.

Flower Bowl Instructions: There are 2 methods of creating the flower bowl-pinch pot & slab-

Pinch Pot Method

  1. Give each student a ball of clay about 1.5” in diameter.
  2. Demonstrate how to create a pinch pot:
    1. Roll the moist clay ball in your hands to form a ball.
    2. Dip you thumb in water and stick it into the middle of the ball about 1/2 way down.
    3. Hold the clay ball with your left hand if you are right-handed or with your right hand if you are left-handed.
    4. Insert your dominant hand’s thumb into the hole and wrap your four remaining fingers over the top of the clay ball (The teacher may refer to this step as “puppet hand-Kermit the frog” for young students.). Keep these fingers together and GENTLY pinch with your thumb on the inside of the hole towards your fingers. This will make the interior wall of the clay ball thinner as you gently turn the ball while pinching slowly. (like Kermit is talking)
    5. If you start to get elephant skin (small crack or splits in the clay), the dip your finger in water then rub your finger back & forth over the crack until it is smoothed out.
    6. Continue to pinch and turn until your ball looks more like a pot.
    7. Once the walls of the pot are an even thickness, (approx. the thickness of your pinky finger) shape the bottom of your pot by gently tapping it on your desktop to form a flat surface.

3. Flatten out the bottom of the bowl so a tea candle would sit on it properly.

4. Use the needle tool to cut the petals- use a “V” shape.

Slab Method

  1. Roll out a slab from a 2” ball of clay
  2. Cut out the flower shape.
  3. Drape the slab over a very small bowl or Styrofoam ball to create a curved flower form.
  4. Using different tools around the classroom they added details to the center of the flower.

Let the pieces dry 5-7 days until bone dry.

Bisqueware Fire


Glaze fire

 If you choose to use any part of this lesson (written, graphic or photo), please link back to Create Art with ME!

Additional Examples of Similar Projects:

Monet’s Water Lilies

Waterlily Clay (picture only)

In the Artroom: Monet’s Waterlilies

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