FUNKY CLAY ANIMAL – Form, Texture, Exaggeration

Students use Crayola air-dry clay over a light bulb armature to create a sculpture of an animal that communicates an idea important to them.

Required Time

180 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 7 to Grade 10


Language Arts
Visual Arts


acrylic paint air dry clay armature detail form proportion recycle reuse sculpture


Crayola Air-Dry Clay - White Crayola Acrylic Paint - 6 Count Crayola Paintbrushes - 5 Count Crayola Washable No-Run School Glue Masking Tape Tissue Paper Water Containers Paper Towels Plastic Container Lids for Palettes Crayola Sketchbooks Wire - 16 Gauge Recycled Light Bulb - 1 per student

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FUNKY CLAY ANIMAL – Form, Texture, Exaggeration - Step One

Step One

  1. Create several sketches appropriate for the lightbulb shape
  2. Choose the design you like the best.
FUNKY CLAY ANIMAL – Form, Texture, Exaggeration - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Use wire to create parts of the animal such as legs and wings.
  2. Twist the wire into shape and tape it to the light bulb with masking tape.
  3. Make sure it is good and secure.
FUNKY CLAY ANIMAL – Form, Texture, Exaggeration - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Gently press the clay onto the lightbulb.
  2. Use clay to add other details. 
  3. Smooth out the clay on the lightbulb armature as you go along.
FUNKY CLAY ANIMAL – Form, Texture, Exaggeration - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Allow the sculpture to dry overnight 
  2. Some cracking may occur (the tissue paper will cover any cracks).  
FUNKY CLAY ANIMAL – Form, Texture, Exaggeration - Step Five

Step Five

  1. When the clay is dry, cover the clay and wire with tissue paper.
  2. Mix a small amount of water with Crayola No-Run Glue.
  3. Make sure you apply the glue mixture to the clay first and then on top of the tissue paper. 
  4. Be sure to cover all the clay with glue and tissue paper. 
FUNKY CLAY ANIMAL – Form, Texture, Exaggeration - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Allow the sculpture to dry overnight. 
  2. Paint the surface with acrylic paint.
FUNKY CLAY ANIMAL – Form, Texture, Exaggeration - Step Seven

Step Seven

  1. Add embellishments to give your animal a distinctive personality.
  2. Mount the sculpture on a solid base such as a piece of wood or large rock.

Learning Goals

 Students will be able to:

  • use a light bulb as an armature to create a clay form;
  • design an animal that communicates an idea using the elements and principles of design;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creative thinking;
  • demonstrate understanding of the creative process and the need for planning;
  • understand why artists recycle and reuse materials to make art.


Have students:

  • decide which animals would work well as a group and explain their rationale;
  • work in small groups to create a comic strip based on the groups of animals;
  • share their work with the whole class.


  1. Create an exemplar.
  2. Gather containers for glue and water mixture.
  3. Have a class set of paint brushes.
  4. Designate a drying area for sculptures.
  5. Tear white tissue paper into small pieces.
  6. Collect and display images of a variety of animals.
  7. Download images from the Internet of sculptures made from recycled materials. 
    Recycled Sculpture
    Musical Horse


  1. View and discuss a variety of animal sculptures made from recycled materials focussing on why artists might choose to work with recycled materials.
  2. Show students the exemplar and discuss how it may have been made.
  3. Explain that they will be using a light bulb as an armature.
  4. Create a list of animals that would work well with the shape of a light bulb
  5. Discuss which animal speaks to them and why.
  6. Introduce the challenge


The Challenge

  1. Use a lightbulb as an armature to create a clay sculpture of an animal that communicates an idea important to you. 
  2. Add details and embellishments to exaggerate some aspect of the animal.
  3. Identify the elements and principles of design you are using in your sculpture.
  4. ​Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creative thinking.
  5. Demonstrate understanding of the creative process and the need for planning.

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:
    - explored ideas in my sketchbook
    - made and used planning drawings
    created an animal that suits the shape of the lightbulb
    - used elements and principles of art to communicate an idea that is important to me
    - added details and embellishments to exaggerate some aspect of the sculpture
    - created a sturdy, well-crafted sculpture
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  4. Observe students as they work.
  5. Part way through the process have students share suggestions with a partner.
  6. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Once all the sculptures are complete display them for a group discussion. Remind students of the challenge.
    Look closely at the sculptures.
    - Choose one that interests you for some reason.
    - Share thoughts about the work.
  2. During the discussion include references to:
    elements and principles of design – How have they been used to create exaggeration?
    - details and embellishments – How do they contribute to the ideas being communicated?
    - technique – How do the techniques used contribute to the effectiveness of the work?
  3. Ask students to reflect on their creative process.
    - What was the most satisfying part of the project? Why?
    What was the most difficult part of the project? How did you work through the difficulties?


  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 areas in the 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. (Download - ClaySculpture_tracking.pdf)
    -  Exploration of ideas and drawings in sketchbooks.
    -  Planning and following steps and proceedures.
    -  Completion of sculpture based on drawings and ideas.
    -  Understanding of the elements and principles used in sculpture.
  5. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Download- ClaySculpture_self-assessment.pdf)