Lesson Objectives: To create a sunshine wall hanging with a face from a slab of clay using scoring and hand building techniques.

Artist & Print: Paul Gaugin, Head with Horns



Time Required: 2 sessions 

Materials (Day 1):


Paper bag or cardboard placemats

Paper plates

Water cups with a small amount of water

Carving tools

Texturizing tools (e.g. garlic press for “hair”)

Plastic knives

Scrap paper

Materials (Day 2):



Dixie cups


Discuss form and hand building techniques, emphasizing scoring and the use of slip.

Procedure, Session 1:

  1. Use the slab roller to make a slab of clay for each child measuring approximately 12 inches square. Put each one on a paper bag or cardboard placemat.
  2. Have the students draw their sunshine design on a piece of scrap paper and then cut it out.
  3. Use the paper sunshine as a template to cut their shape out of the clay slab. This prevents them from needing to add the sun’s rays on afterwards.
  4. Put the clay sunshine onto a paper plate marked with their name.
  5. Use the leftover clay to add on facial features such as a nose, cheeks, eyes and a mouth (remind them to score the surfaces before and use slip to stick pieces on), or just draw them into the clay with a scoring tool.
  6. Use the scoring tool to add pattern details if desired, particularly to the rays.
  7. Make a small hole at the top to allow the sunshine to be hung.
  8. Have an adult volunteer carefully create a 3-dimensional effect by putting a small ball of paper under the face of the sunshine and forming the clay around it. Some rays can be bent up or down to increase the 3D effect.
  9. Let them dry for at least 14 days before removing the paper and firing in the kiln.          

Procedure, Session 2:

  1. Have several different colors of glaze in Dixie cups. Each cup should have its own paintbrush.
  2. Allow each child to take one Dixie cup at a time – they must return it in order to get a new color.
  3. Remind them to apply three coats of glaze for vibrant colors, and not to overlap the glaze colors because it will show after firing.
  4. It is important that the glaze only be on the top surface of the sunshine. Check each piece when the child is finished and wipe off any glaze that is underneath. If any glaze cannot be removed, the piece must be fired on stilts.
  5. Return any unused glaze to the correct containers.
  6. Let the sunshines dry overnight before firing in the kiln.


Sunshines made by fifth graders