Thursday, March 1, 2012

Milk Carton clay houses

This was a great project that I did earlier in the year with my fifth graders.  I got the idea from one of my teaching colleges.  These cute clay houses are constructed using a milk carton.  I created a pattern for the students to trace onto their rolled out slab of clay.  The pattern is a long rectangle that is the height of the carton (just the square sides-not the top) and the length of all the 4 sides together.

After students cut this rectagle out they wrap this piece around the milk carton to form the walls of the house and join the two ends together.  *Make sure to have the kids wrap the milk carton in a paper towel first so you can easily slid the carton out before the clay hardens*
I required that students cut in a least one door and one window and create a texture on each side.  We discussed additive and subtractive menthods.  Then they rolled out one more slab and cut another rectangle for the roof.  This piece was draped over the top of the closed milk carton and joined to the walls.  Some students even went a step further an added chimneys! 

After the houses start to dry, pull the milk cartons out before they get stuck.  Remember clay shrinks as it dries so don't wait too long!  I would typically pull the cartons around lunch time (2 hours later).

Tips for success: 
-Use slats when rolling the slabs so the clay is an even thickness (rulers work for this).  Make sure kids slip and score when joining clay.

-When wrapping the long clay piece around the carton, have the students lay the milk cartons on the side and rotate it as you wrap.  This will help prevent the clay from stretching or loosing it's shape.

-Smooth edges!  We used our fingers with slip on them to make sure all connetions were smooth.

-Encourage creativity!  Some of the students went above and beyond by adding chimneys, snowmen, holiday wreaths, etc!

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