Get Squishy With Air Dry Clay!

We LOVE a list of fun ideas here on the ClubX Blog, so I reached out to my colleague Rebecca Brown, who herself is an incredible artist, for something fun, and she immediately said Air Dry Clay was one of her favorites in her Club’s Art Room. Enjoy!

Summertime is the perfect time to get in the Art Room and get a little messy, and in my experience, a favorite messy art form for our members is CLAY! Working with clay can feel overwhelming. Drying, Baking, Glazing OH MY! And did I mention the MESS??

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Well one of my favorites to scratch the clay craft itch with less mess is AIR DRY CLAY! From big to small, this Clay will dry completely on its own if left on a countertop or drying rack, it is paintable and super lightweight. BONUS: The playdough-like consistency makes clean up a breeze! 

Here are 10 of my favorite clay projects to try with air dry clay:

Dinosaur Fossil Casts

This project is not only a super fun art project, but a great way to introduce careers like Archeology, Paleontology and Geology! For this project salt dough is used, but air dry clay is a perfect substitute! What fun fossils might you make with toys, natural objects, or other things you can find around your space? 

Fairy Garden House

I do believe in fairies! I do! Fairy Houses let your imagination soar! What features do you and your youth think fairies will appreciate most in their new abode? Once dry, this homes can be painted and added to an outdoor space.  

BONUS: Host a Fairy lookout party. Spy on your fairy houses with binoculars and try to catch a glimpse. But remember, observe only (and quietly!), our fairy friends can be very shy. 

“Score and Slip” Planter

Check out this amazing video of a planter made with air dry clay. This method is called “Score and Slip” where you join multiple pieces of clay together! Have fun exploring different patterns by pressing things like recyclables, leaves, or other textured objects into the surface!  

BONUS: Plant some seeds in your dried designs for a cool observational science experiment! 

Clay Bead Necklaces

The instructions for this project use polymer clay but it is PERFECT for air dry! Pre-mix clay colors with a cool spiral technique to make these squiggles, or paint them after they dry. You can make so many accessories with these beads, like necklaces, keychains, bracelets, or shoe charms. Designing jewelry and accessories really lets your creativity shine!

 Coil Pot or Trinket Dish

Clay Coil Pots are a classic art room project and great for beginners, especially for youth building dexterity. These pots can be made using different colors of clay or can be painted after they dry. Don’t forget to “score and slip” as you coil up so things stay stuck together. 

Dragon Eggs

What do you get when you mix air dry clay, tin foil, and some shiny odds and ends? A journey into a fantasy land with your very own magical dragon egg! This project is a great way to explore imagination.

BONUS: What kind of dragon will this egg hold? Encourage youth to draw a picture of what their dragon might look like when their egg hatches! Extend the learning further by partnering with the Education Room to write a story about their dragon’s first adventure, and check out this ClubX Blog post for other Fantasy-themed ideas.

Bangle Bracelets

These bracelets are fun, colorful and 100% customizable! Start with a loop that fits around your hand and wrist and then add dots, lines, imprints, or other baubles to make the perfect bracelet you imagine!  

BONUS: Host a design challenge where youth design a bracelet for another person in the room. Encourage the youth to interview their “client” to design a bracelet that is all about what they love!

Teeny Tiny Turtles

Did you know that most sea turtles hatch in the summertime? Create these teeny tiny clay turtles and read the book I’ll Follow the Moon together to explore the early life of our seafaring friends the sea turtle.

Potted Succulents and Cacti

The plants in this article may be mini, but you could make these any size from tiny to large! The scale is up to you. Look to real plants as examples, and copycat or create something never seen before. Make sure to check out the video tutorial at the end of the step-by-step instructions! 

I Love You Hand Clay Project

No good art room activity list can go without a handprint activity! This I Love You decoration makes a great take-home gift to parents and caregivers. Add items like cut out hearts or drawn on names to personalize the project.  

BONUS: Take some time during the class to talk about American Sign Language (ASL) and practice a few signs together. Here is a link to signs for different feeling words. 

Take advantage of the extra time and flexibility of summer to dig in, and look for ways to extend the fun across the day by having linked activities in multiple Club areas. Be sure to send us photos of your completed projects! We LOVE to see them!

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What are your favorite arts ideas? How do you coordinate themed activities across the Clubhouse? We want to share your best ideas! Comment below, on the BGCA Youth Development Facebook page, or email

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