This art project offers kids the opportunity to create their own rock art petroglyphs using terra cotta clay scraps and white paint. And the best part is that the project takes less than 45-minutes.
To start, read your favorite ancient rock art book. I picked up a copy of Ancient Dwellings of the Southwest in Arizona but there are many other books that illustrate the art of our earliest inhabitants.
This is a project that is perfect for air dry clay. Sometimes with air dry clay, the small details in a work of art can be chipped off, but this flat shape is safe from the typical perils of it dry clay.
Purchase terra cotta clay and you’ll make the project even easier to do (and more authentic).
I gave each student a handout of petroglyph drawings. If you don’t have one, you can download one from a site similar to this one or make your own.
We practiced etching with a wooden dowel on clay and then they drew their petroglyph on their clay square (about 3″ x 3″). It would be far easier to just paint the image on the square but it didn’t really occur to me at the time, so etching is what we did.
After the students etched their design, they use white underglaze to paint on top. If you are using air dry clay, using acrylic paint or even liquid tempera paint would work very well.
I fired the clay rock tile since they were dry. No glaze is needed.
Here’s what my group of second graders created:
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I LOVE this! How much clay do you recommend per student for this project? It’s my first time ordering clay and with 600 students, I need to get the quantity right. thank you!!
Very little…about ¼ lb per student or about the size of a half of a deck of cards (or less). One 25-lb bag of clay will cover 100 little rock art tiles.