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Model Magic - Air Dry Clay FISH


From: Judy Decker (judydeckeriad_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Tue Dec 30 2003 - 13:34:59 PST

Dear Art Educators,

I found this GEM of a lesson from Susan of Long Island
in my folder. This lesson works with Air Dry clay
too.....AND firing clay (just make sure you leave the
mouth open enough to pour out the ashes after firing).
(like minds Susan - I did this lesson the same way
with air dry clay in 1987)

Model Magic fish Susan –Long Island

This Model Magic Fish Lesson is appropriate for grades
2-8, but even older students would have fun with it:

Materials: Crayola White Model Magic, newspaper,
masking tape, variety of "texturing" items such as
paper clips (paper clips impressions look great
for scales), LEGOS, lace, stamps, wooden stylus- the
kind you use for Scratch Art, pictures of fish.
Optional if you want a stand on which to display each
fish: 2x4 wood cut into 6" long pieces, wooden dowels
in varying lengths, black gloss acrylic paint (black
spray paint or stains)

Begin with a wad of newspaper about the size of your
fist. Use lots of masking tape to secure the oval
shape. Cut up the Model Magic and give each student a
piece that is large enough to fit around the armature
after it has been flattened (size of the newspaper wad
would depend on how much Modle Magic you had on hand)

Instruct the students to flatten their piece of clay
like a pancake (thick dowel rod rolling pins could be
used). Place the wad of newspaper in the middle and
roll the Model Magic all around the newspaper wad,
careful to seam on the bottom of the "fish" and leave
one end of the oval shape open, for the mouth. Next,
discuss the parts of the fish (for the little ones)
and demonstrate ways to pull the Model Magic from
the smooth oval shape to form fins, tail, gills, etc.

Give a little additional clay for the eyes, or if they
need more for fins, etc. Some kids rolled a coil and
added it around the open end to emphasize the mouth.
I showed them how to add a small ball of Model magic
on each side of the fish's head for the bulgy eyes.

I emphasized form and texture and got some really
innovative fish! Texture with gassorted gadgets,
lace, stamps. This takes 3- 40 min. sessions; one for
the armature, 2nd for the Model Magic and 3rd for the
painting. Painting : Options are watercolors, tempera
or acrylic paint. Acrylic has a nice sheen when dry
and the temperas are bright, too.
Water colors work, but not as bright. Those who don't
want to paint(those of you on a cart) can opt to use
markers to color.

Optional stands: Drill a hole on the bottom of the
finished fish. Insert a dowel. Drill a hole in a 2x4
piece of wood-about 6" in length for the stand
and insert the other end of the dowel. I varied the
height and the fish made a gorgeous display on the
counter in the front office and in our display
case. Stands could be painted with black acrylic
(stained or spray painted - spray painting by the

Back to Judy - If anyone does this lesson - send me an
image for IAD. I do have Tracy alberts second grade
I believe Tracy's are firing clay.


Judith Decker
Incredible Art Department
Incredible Art Department
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