How to Make Pinch-Pot Bird Sculptures

by Liz Meiron


  • air dry clay
  • water
  • toothpick
  • wire and wire cutters/pliers
  • scissors
  • acrylic paint, paint brush, and tooth brush
  • clear gloss spray sealant
  • feathers
  • Adhesive
  • Instructions

    Step 1

    Here are the supplies. I am using air-dry clay, but if you have access to a kiln, I recommend firing and glazing instead of painting.

    Step 2

    Begin with by rolling a ball of clay. Have your water and toothpick nearby. A plastic butter knife can also be handy, or clay tools.

    Step 3

    Next form a pinch-pot by inserting your thumb into the ball and applying pressure against the palm of your other hand. Dampen you hands with water periodically as needed.

    Step 4

    Form a pinch-pot by pinching and rotating the clay. You want the original shape of the ball to be a little larger in size and hallow with a thickness around 1/2 inch.

    Step 5

    Once the pinch pot is formed smooth it out with your fingers and water. Not too much water though!

    Step 6

    Step 7

    I smacked the bottom of it down on the table lightly to even out the base.

    Step 8

    Pinch off 7 smaller pieces of clay to be used as bird features- eyes, nose, wings, feet.

    Step 9

    Mold the small pieces into eyes, wings, beak, and feet. Kinda like this. I used the top of a pen to add pupils to the eyes. Paper clips make cool feather patterns when pressed into clay.

    Step 10

    When attaching the pieces we must first slip and score so they stay adhered to the pinch-pot. You will need the toothpick and water.

    Step 11

    Scoring is using the toothpick to scratch the surfaces where two pieces will attach.

    Step 12

    Slipping is adding a small amount of water to the score to slip up the clay.

    Step 13

    All pieces are added! I wish I had positioned the eyes and beak closer to the front of the sculpture.

    Step 14

    Use a piece of wire to make leg holes...

    Step 15

    and feather holes. Angle the feather holes upward. Don't forget ankle holes in the feet!

    Step 16

    Sign it underneath with your toothpick.

    Step 17

    Let dry at room temperature overnight. Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock.

    Step 18

    Ooooo, pretty colors. Grab some acrylic paint, a brush, water, and toothbrush.

    Step 19

    Paint your bird.

    Step 20

    I painted the inside, but it's really not necessary.

    Step 21

    A toothbrush can be used to splatter. It helps to dampen the brush and scrub it into the paint a little. Test splatter on a separate surface first.

    Step 22

    Step 23

    After the acrylic paint is dry, spray your bird sculpture with a clear gloss.

    Step 24

    So Shiny.

    Step 25

    Collect your feathers and wire. I'm using E6000 adhesive, but I think the feathers would stay put without it. Hot glue would be a good alternative.

    Step 26

    Position the feathers in the feather holes.

    Step 27

    Cut them to make them shorter if necessary.

    Step 28

    The Front.

    Step 29

    The back.

    Step 30

    Aluminum wire is very easy to bend. If you don't have wire you can use yarn.

    Step 31

    Bend the bottom for the feet to rest upon.

    Step 32

    Step 33

    Then bend the top and insert into the leg holes of the body of the bird.

    Step 34

    Use the pliers to bend the wire so it stays put.

    Step 35

    All done!

    Step 36

    Step 37

    Make a friend.

    Step 38

    The blue one looks a little perturbed.