Wednesday, June 4, 2014

In the works: clay oil lamp

I've volunteered to work the crafting station of our church's Vacation Bible School this summer.  We're in the early planning stages.

One of the things we've decided to do is *not* buy the craft kits from the US.  Instead, we'll be coming up with themed crafts of our own.

The challenge?  Registration is just started, and the age range for registrants is 5-12.  That's a HUGE difference in abilities and interest!

So I've been trying to brainstorm various craft ideas that can be as simple or as complex as the abilities of the crafter, that is also thematic.  Time is limited, as groups will be coming through the stations on a rotation (I've never done one of these before, so I have no idea what it's really like; just how it's planned).  Things have to be quick, relatively easy, not very messy, and if they require drying time, won't take up much space.

Also, the themes are related to water and the sea (Jesus walking on water, calming the storm, instructing the fishermen to throw their nets one more time, etc.).

I've decided to test out an idea.  Air dry clay oil lamps, shaped like fish.  I've picked up some terra cotta modeling clay and some light vinyl - the sheet can be cut into sections for each individual quite easily.  I found using the small sheet also made it easier to move my clay shape around as needed.

I deliberately kept things simple, without attempting to go into too much detail, nor to attempt any sort of "perfection."  I wanted to see if this was something a 5 yr old could do.

This is what I've got so far, after drying over night.  The clay needs 24 hours to dry, which could be an issue, but after about a third of the time, it was dry enough that I could remove it from the sheet without breaking anything, yet still soft enough that I could smooth out a few rough spots I couldn't reach while it was still fully damp.

The tail is meant to double as a handle.  The body will hold olive oil.  The wick holder was shaped using a pencil, which was also used to mark designs on the sides and tail.

Including time to knead the clay (which would be done in advance, I think, so wouldn't be part of the crafting time), it took me less than half an hour to make this.  Now that I have an idea of what I'm doing and no longer have to pause to get things I didn't think of ahead of time, I think I could probably make one in about 10 minutes.

After it's completely dry, I will test light it.  I need to make sure the wick is held properly.

Or, someone could "cheat" and just put a tea light inside the bowl, instead.

I will likely make at least one more before our first planning meeting on Friday.

What do you think?  Older kids would easily go all out with this, if they wanted.  I think the shape is basic enough that younger children can manage it, but it's been a long time since I've done crafts with children so young.  I don't even know if we'll get kids that young!

Is there anyone who has done camp crafts that can give me some feedback and suggestions?

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