Saturday, May 14, 2011

Clay rattles

Freshly fired fourth grade rattles

We begin with two pinch pots

We roll up small clay beads in paper towel and place them inside the pot

Next we score, slip, and seal the pots to form the rattle

We press stamps and clay tools in for texture and decoration, also adding a small hole in the top


  1. I love the idea but what exactly is a 'rattle'? I mean, I know what a baby rattle is and that sort of thing is, but do the kids put anything in it? Is there a specific cultural reference for this type of clay rattle?

  2. You could also call it a maraca... it makes a sound when you shake it. It could be considered a musical instrument - different sounds are made by different size rattles and clay beads inside. I am planning on coordinating with the music teacher for a co-taught lesson using these.

  3. oh, and also it can be tied into the art of Mexico. One year we designed them around the figural sculptures of Josefina and you can also design them as a Oaxacan brightly painted carved animal.

  4. I have been making rattles with my 7th and 8th graders where they make the rattle from a slab. I found the project on Dick Blick, but made some adjustments. One change was the amount of clay used. After doing these with the first class I made the amount of clay much smaller so that they did not become too big.Some were rain stick shaped, pods, and burrito shaped. This was a very fun, challenging and successful project.

  5. I gave each student a handout from Dick Blick that explained that rattles are a musical instrument that are used everywhere in the world. They are given to babies, used in ceremonies, dances, etc. In some cultures they are thought to have magical powers. The different sounds are amazing. We put 20-25 small clay pellets dusted with cornstarch (to avoid sticking) inside our rattles.

  6. Can you do this with air drying dough?


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