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How to make our handmade clay snake pots
Today my son decided that whilst his sister was asleep he wanted to make something cool with our leftover clay. When i handed him a chunk to model with, he immediately began rolling it out saying that he was making a snake. So, with this is mind i suggested that we make our own little snake pots. I’m not quite sure why, but i can remember as kid that every time we made something with clay at school I would always make these pots without fail as my 1st choice! I’m not quite sure why or where I got the idea, I just remember having them all lined up across my windowsill in different colours. I used to think they looked amazing and that I was an amazing potter. Truth be told, I had no idea what i was doing then and i’m still learning now!
Here’s what we used
- Clay – We used white air dry clay as we needed to use it up but for this kind of project I would usually use Scola reinforced air harden clay It’s so much cheaper and contains nylon fibres (Please bear this in mind for any child/parent who suffers with allergies) which both makes it stronger and minimises the shrinkage rate to help prevent cracking.
- Pipe cleaner
- 2 gems
Score and slip
Score and slip is a process used to join pieces of clay. It’s important to join your pieces properly to prevent breaking and cracking whilst drying. To attach two pieces together using score and slip you first score lines or hashtags across the two pieces you want to join or the pieces that will touch. You then take your slip (a mixture of very watery clay) and spread it across both sides of your lines as a kind of glue before securing your two pieces together and moulding them as one with your hands.
First take a ball of clay and flatten it into a disc shape. You will want it around 1-2 cm thick as this is going to be the base of your pot, rolled out to the width you wish your pot to be. Once you have your shape score some lines around the outside where you will stick your snake shape.
Take another larger ball of clay and using two hands roll it into a long snake shaped piece.
Add some slip to the scored part of your base, then similarly slip and score the underside of your snake where it will attach to the base. Then wind your snake slowly round and round itself, repeating the process of scoring and sitting where two pieces will attach to each other. You may also need to use your fingers to work the two pieces of clay together.
If when you have wound your snake around your pot, you find that it is not long enough you can roll out and add another. Just remember this is again joining two pieces so you will need to score and slip both sides and then work them together with you fingers.
Once you reach the top, take a ball and roll out the shape of your snake’s head. Attach it your body by scoring and slipping then working the pieces together by hand.
Bend your pipecleaner into a Y shape and press it into the centre of your snake’s face to make the tongue. Then press a gem/bead either side of your tongue to make two eyes. Now it’s time to leave your pot to dry. You’ll want to make sure it drys evenly, to do this we normally pop a plastic bag over the top and leave it for a day or two until hard.
Once your pot is dry you can add your base coat. If you find your paint is not thick enough to cover in one go just let it dry before adding a second. When we painted ours we just popped the tongue out to stop it getting covered.
Once your base coat is dry you can paint on any additional decoration. When your pot has dried you are finished! Don’t they just look amazing, you can use them for so many different things too! We have a tall one as a pen pot and a short one as a jewellery dish.