do it yourself: Preposterous People Pots

Inspired by SMILE, our entry bridge mural painted by Panca, this project inspires kids to get silly and creative with their art. This project was first introduced as a hands-on art project for school groups visiting the Museum and is easy enough to replicate at home. Channel your inner artist and have fun designing funny faces in your clay creation!

guidelines + materials

AGE: 6+ years old

TIME FRAME: 30 minutes


  • Clay or Air Dry Clay (an alternative) cut into small square blocks
  • Cup of water
  • 1 Fine tip brush
  • 1 Flat tip brush
  • Acrylic paints
  • Yarn
  • Plastic needle
  • Empty paint containers or dowels (approx. 1 inch in diameter)
  • Wooden skewers


1. Begin by separating a small piece of clay (about one third of the total block) and place it to the side for later use. Form a sphere with the larger leftover piece of clay.

2. Create a dent that will become the inside of the bowl. You can do this by inserting a dowel or empty paint bottle into the clay halfway through.

3. Use your hands to flatten the sides and form a bowl. Then create two small spheres out of the clay you’ve set aside. Flatten them with your fingers to create the eyes and nose of your person.

4. Use a pointed skewer to score the eyes, nose and pot. With your finger, dab some water on the areas that have been scored and connect the eyes and nose to the pinch pot. By this point, you should have the beginnings of your pot face.

5. Use the skewer to add details to your faces. You can add eyelashes, freckles and eyelids.

6. Thread yarn through a plastic needle. Then thread the needle through the middle of the pot (entering from the exterior of the pot first). Finally, thread the needle back through slightly above the original thread (now entering from the interior of the pot first). The threaded yard will serve as the base of your arms.

7. Using the last bit of clay, fold some wet pieces of flat clay slabs over the yarn (like a taco) to create arms and legs.

8. Begin painting your preposterous pot person using acrylic paint. Use the pointed tip brush for small details and use the small flat brush for bigger surfaces such as the eyes, nose and pot portion. The dowel can be used to hold the pot as you paint.

9. Once you are done painting, let it dry. Your preposterous person is finished! 

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