Clay Mug: Free Lesson Plan Download

Level: Middle School Education Lesson Plan

Art Elements: Form, Texture, Pattern

Art Skills: Ceramic

Art History: Greek Pottery

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The Greeks were famous for their beautiful red and black pottery. This lesson can be used as an introduction into the history of Greek art. You can have students create a mug in the style of the Greeks or you can have them create their own style. One option is to have students create a mug using a white clay and use a colored slip or red clay on top. Once the slip has dried, students use a mini ribbon sculpting tool to engrave the pattern, in a sgraffito style. Another option is to have students create a mug using an additive method. Students pick a theme and add lines, shapes and patterns using the clay tools.

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5 years ago


  • Douglas Lloyd

    I do a similar project with my middle school students. I would suggest wrapping the can in news paper. You will want to remove the can before the clay drys or it will probably crack. The newspaper allows for easy removal of the can.


    • Very important step, thank you for the suggestion. My students use paper towels, but newspaper would work great as well.

  • Elizabeth

    Remember to put in writing for students to take home, that they are not to be used for food of any kind unless you are using food grade glazes and have correct firing temps.Cover your bases…The obvious needs to be pointed out, there will always be one parent who will want to hold you accountable because they “didn’t know”…

  • Boyce Covert

    This lesson plan needs to be re- written for the teacher with limited experience with working in clay. The cylindrical “can” should be wrapped with several layers of newspaper before wrapping the clay around the cylindrical “can” to create a clay cylinder. The bottom should be cut out around the clay cylinder. There should be some mention of scoring and adding slip to connect clay seams. There should be some mention of removing the cylindrical can following creation. Otherwise, the clay piece will shrink and crack.

    Shouldn’t you have teachers with experience write your lesson plans?

    • Hi Boyce,
      Thanks for your feedback. Our writing team is very experienced. We have chosen to create simple lesson plans that can fit on a quick one page PDF. We don’t always include every single step, because we make the assumption that art teachers are naturally intelligent and can read between the lines. We will take your ideas into consideration and try to add as many technical details provided in the lessons, where it’s appropriate. This lesson does actually mention slip and score as an attachment method. Thanks!

    • Holly

      I think this comment is a bit harsh. The lesson plans provided by AOE are designed to help art teachers gather some ideas, but then “flesh out” the plans to include details to suit the needs of their groups of students. I love AOE’s plans as a starting point. This website is an amazing resource for art teachers, but not a substitute for doing our own research and lesson plan creation. Thank you to all of the wonderful people who contribute to AOE!