CLAY CAT – Form, Texture, Colour

Students use air-dry clay and coil handbuilding techniques to create a seated cat. Once it is dry they paint it with acrylic paint.

Required Time

60 Minutes

Grade Level

Kindergarten to Grade 3


Language Arts
Social Studies
Visual Arts



Crayola Air-Dry Clay - White Crayola Acrylic Paint Crayola Paint Brushes Water Containers Paper Towels Pin Tools or Toothpicks Plastic Container Lids - about 15 cm (8") diameter - 1 per student

Shop Crayola Products


CLAY CAT – Form, Texture, Colour - Step One

Step One

  1. Roll a small cylinder of clay about 5 cm (2") long and the diameter of the base about 5 cm (2"). 
CLAY CAT – Form, Texture, Colour - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Use a pin tool to score one end of the cylinder. 
CLAY CAT – Form, Texture, Colour - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Paint slip on the scored edges. (Slip - watery clay the consistency of a thick milkshake.)
CLAY CAT – Form, Texture, Colour - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Roll a small ball for the head.
  2. Score and slip one end of the ball.
  3. Attach the head to the body at the scored and slipped edges.
  4. Smooth the clay pieces together.
  5. Add small balls of clay for the cheeks and chin.
  6. Push in where the eyes should be to build the cat face.
CLAY CAT – Form, Texture, Colour - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Pinch small pieces of clay to make ears.
  2. Make sure you score and slip the clay edges before joining pieces.
  3. Roll thin coils for the legs and tail.
  4. Add lots of details.
  5. Allow the clay to dry for 1 week.
  6. Place a plastic bag loosely over the cat to allow it to dry slowly.
    This will help prevent the thinner pieces of clay from drying too quickly and breaking away from the rest of the cat.
  7. Remove the plastic bag after 3 days and allow the cat to dry for 4 more days.
CLAY CAT – Form, Texture, Colour - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Place the cat on a plastic container lid so you can turn it around without touching it.
  2. Paint it with acrylic paint.
  3. Mix 2 colours together to make new colours, e.g., white + red to get pink.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • create a clay sculpture of a seated cat;
  • demonstrate skillful handbuilding techniques;
  • mix 2 colours of paint to make a new colour;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity;  
  • support their ideas with evidence found in the works.


Have students:

  • work with a partner;
  • write a story that features both cats;
  • draw pictures to illustrate their story;
  • share their stories with the class.


  1. Prior to this lesson you may want to have students explore clay techniques with the Score and Slip lesson on this website.
  2. Make a batch of slip - watery clay the consistency of a thick milkshake, enough for groups of students to share.
  3. Make, or have students make pin tools by taping an open paper clip to the end of a pencil. 
  4. Gather and make available books about cats and pets in general, for example, Little Kids First Big Book of Pets, by Catherine Hughes; The Everything Book of Cats and Kittens, by DK; and National Geographic Kids Just Joking Cats, by National Geographic Kids.
  5. Download and display the Colour, Form and Texture posters available on this website.
    - review or teach the element of colour – primary colours
    - review or teach the element of form – 3-dimensions object
    - review or teach the element of texture – the way a surface feels, or looks as if it feels


  1. Ask students to share who has a pet and list what they say on a chart paper. 
  2. Tally the number of each type of pet in your classroom.
    - cats are the most popular pet in Canada 
    - dogs are almost as popular as cats for household pets
  3. Compare the class tally with that data.
  4. Conduct a read-aloud with a book about cats such as, The Everything Book of Cats and Kittens, by DK drawing attention to the main characteristics of cats.
    - shape of ears
    - shape of face
    - length of tail
    - fur
    - length of legs 
  5. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Use your own ideas to make a seated cat out of clay.
  2. Add lots of details to the cat.
  3. Mix 2 colours of paint to make a new colour.
  4. Share your ideas with others.
  5. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.

The Process

  1. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - created a seated cat out of clay
    - added lots of details 
    - used my own ideas
    - joined pieces of clay that stay together
    - mixed 2 colours of paint to make a new colour 
    - created a cat that is in good condition
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  4. Observe students as they work. 
  5. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Gather students to view and discuss their cats. Ask students to share:
    what they learned about making a clay cat sculpture;
    how they used different shapes and colours to make their cats unique;
    - what they learned about cats;
    - what they like best about their cat sculptures.
  2. Display all the sculptures in the classroom.
  3. Encourage students to view the sculptures and notice how they are the same and how they are different.


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their sculptures – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, points to sculpture, provides accurate information, answers questions from the audience effectively.
  3. Observe students as they listen – looks at presenter, asks effective questions, supports ideas with evidence found in the artwork.
  4. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads - ClayCat_tracking.pdf)
  5. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads - ClayCat_self-assessment.pdf)