Impressive Impressions

Impressive Impressions lesson plan

Make decorative discs by pressing shapes into Crayola® Air-Dry Clay. The possibilities for making detailed impressions are endless!

  • 1.

    Not so long ago, farmers molded butter with designs. Ask students to investigate how and why they made butter molds from clay. Sometimes today, fancy butter pats are made in small molds.

  • 2.

    What everyday items do student know that are made by molding, pressing, or printing? (coins, license plates, leather, gelatin, candles) Do you enjoy making footprints in mud, sand, or snow? Then you’ll really enjoy making prints with Crayola Air-Dry Clay.

  • 3.

    Students gather several objects such as marker caps, shells, and other items that have either a raised or indented design. Encourage them to be inventive!

  • 4.

    Using a clean, washable surface. students roll clay into a ball about as wide as the object used to make an impression. Press the ball into the object (or vice versa) and gently pull them apart. Is the design raised or indented? Concave or convex?

  • 5.

    Wash the clay off the objects pressed before the clay dries. Air-dry impression for at least 3 days.

  • 6.

    Students share their clay impressions with small groups of classmates.


  • LA: Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
  • LA: Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting or plot.
  • LA: Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.
  • LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
  • LA: Participate in shared research and writing projects.
  • LA: Tell a story or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking audibly in coherent sentences.
  • MATH: Recognize and draw shapes having specified attributes, such as a given number of angles or an given number of equal faces. Identify triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons, hexagons, and cubes.
  • VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.
  • VA: Select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning.
  • VA: Identify specific works of art as belonging to particular cultures, times, and places.


  • Possible classroom resources include: Let's Make Butter by Christian, Eleanor, & Lyzz Roth-Singer; Clarabelle: Making Milk and So Much More by Cris Peterson; Our Farm: Four Seasons with Five Kids on One Family's Farm by Michael J. Rosen; Farm by Elisha Cooper; Butter molds & stamps: A guide to American manufacturers with photo identifier by Barbara S. VanVuren
  • Working in small groups, students discuss items, other than butter, that are made in molds. Students write a list of these items to post in the classroom. Examples might include candles, chocolate candy, Jell-o, etc.
  • Provide students the opportunity to paint the dry, impressed clay sculptures with Crayola Watercolors or Tempera.
  • Students write a list of steps they practiced in making their molds. Post steps in the classroom. If writing is not possible, videotape students describing their steps and showing their artwork.