Grade Level



3-4 classes of 45 minute length


2-3 varieties of different colored clay bodies with the same shrinkage rate, canvas, rolling pins or a slab roller, plastic bowls and vases for draping the plastic bag, scrap pieces of plastic



Lesson Objectives

To understand a clay’s shrinking rate and successfully marble three types of clay together without over blending.
To roll out clay in a consistently even slab with a rolling pin.
To create a pot through draping the clay over an object.

Introductory Activity

Talk to students about shrinkage rate in clay, the concept of marbling and drape pots. Demonstrate the process and show any videos on marbling that you may find useful,

Lesson Process

Demonstrate how to marble clay. There are patters you can emulate by cutting and stacking the clay or you can simply wedge the different clays, being carefully not to over wedge or you will end up with one uniform color. I usually cut the clay open with a wire to see how the swirl is going.

Once satisfied with the marbling, you can slice open the slabs and place on the table in a rough circle or square shape. If using a terra cotta color, which is very staining, place a piece of plastic over and roll the clay to a 1/4 thick. Cut the edges into an organic shape.

Prepare your armature (usually a plastic bowl or a large paint container) , put some plastic or plastic wrap on the clay (it keeps the clay from sticking to armature) and flip the clay slab over the armature. This takes confidence. Adjust as needed. You want the clay fairly equal distributed or when inverted the drape bowl will tip to one side. Students can then play with the clay and add folds as desired.

Allow work dry to leather hard state and remove from armature. It should hold its own form at this point.

Occasionally places may benefit from some light sanding in the leather dry stage. This can brighten up the pattern if it has become murky. Usually the edges need a light go over to ensure a smooth clean edge.


slab, marbling, armature, shrinkage, clay body, clay, ceramics


Marble clay pottery ceramics – YouTube
How to Make Marbled Clay – YouTube

Author & Website/Blog

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