Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Terra Cotta Warriors - (6th)

Chinese Terracotta Warriors (Crayola Magic Model Clay 4 oz bags)
These little warriors could guard your jewelry, CD's, books, or just look cute on your shelf.  The 6th grade art curriculum follows the 6th grade social studies program. 
Students used a pattern handout (see green sheet right below, it fits on an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet) to fashion the shape & size of the clay parts. We went step by step as a whole group.

I wasn't sure if the sixth graders could complete a clay warrior in our short art time. We did it in parts and the sections dried in-between:

Part 1 - base, legs, bottom of tunic
Part 2 - armor, arms
Part 3 - scarf, head, face, top knot
Part 4 - paint with light brown watercolor
Part 5 - Draw details with permanent black maker on front side
Draw a Chinese Character on backside
Part 6 - Paint with tempera gloss (optional)
Part 7 - Hot glue something in warrior's hand.

When we attached a fresh clay part to an older dry part we used a little "moisture"
on our finger tip (water). It really helped the pieces stick.

Students learned about the Chinese Zodiac and what animal they were born under. They wrote their animal's character or one they rather have on the back of the warrior. They also could select "Courage, Peace, or Strength."

BACK SIDE with Chinese Character



PIT #1

Part 1
Part 2

Part 3

These show the black line details.


  1. these look fab!
    just copied your technique for my class tomorrow

  2. Love these… Hope 3rd grade can come up with something close!!!

  3. My 6th grade boy and I just used these instructions and got great results. Thanks so much!

    1. Fantastic! I'm glad it worked out for you.

  4. Thank you for the pattern sheet! My 6th grader had a Social Studies Terracotta Army project and she wanted to use clay. She took it step by step and got great results! ** She did have a problem with the soldiers leaning over (and falling) so we thickened her legs (too thin) and added moistened tooth picks as dowels to better hold the parts together. ** I am concerned about it being fragile. Did you use glue once the clay dried? Also, what varnish did you use? I was thinking either Hod Podge or an acrylic sealer. Thanks again! She is very proud of her work!

    1. Super! If you used Crayola's air dry clay then it will be fragile. We used hot glue to piece broken parts. You could try those varnishes, as long as they don't wipe off the black permanent marker. I found Sax True Flow Tempera Gloss Varnish works wonderfully, but that's for use with 75 students.

  5. Is it possible to get a copy of the template?

  6. Awesome! I will try it with my 5th graders. Thank you for sharing!

  7. We are going to see the exhibit this summer and will make these at home as an extension activity. Thank you!