What could be more whimsical than a hand-crafted miniature castle? After studying medieval castle architecture, terminology and function, students came up with their own creative designs.


Beginning with clay slabs draped over newspaper armatures, each student created a “motte,” or earthwork mound on which to build their castle. Next they constructed a number of cylinders that would become tower structures with spires or crenelation at the top. Most of the castle pieces were built using slab construction to maintain hollow forms.


Once the towers were formed and attached, students carved out windows and doors and added stone or brick texture. Walls and walkways connect the towers and allow the viewer’s eye to wander through the sculpture, going in and out of doors, across bridges, and up winding staircases.


Although students started off with a general plan mapped out in their sketchbooks, the process took on an organic and spontaneous nature. Generally students worked from the center moving outward, adding details and improvising along the way. A final detail included each student’s family crest (or last name) carved into the wall of the castle.


After bisque firing, the castles were finished with an iron oxide stain and the addition of selective glaze colors. The reddish-brown stain creates an earthy natural look and highlights texture by creating contrast. The limited color palette enhances unity and allows students to experience the magical glaze transformation that happens during firing.


The three views of my example above shows a variety of sculptural detail that can only be witnessed by moving around the castle and looking from all sides. While the photos can show the general idea, these creative artworks are best viewed in person!

By Julia

26 thoughts on “Castles Made of Clay”
  1. I would like to do this project again because it creates something that you would be proud of at the end. Making a castle is something really fun and different.
    I would like to learn about making perfect art… like how to make things clean, neat straight, something like that.

    Name:Michael Amoyo
    Age: 12
    School: Kapaa Middle Schoool
    Art Teacher: Mrs. Sanderl
    Period: 2nd Period
    Art Class Symbol: @

  2. I like this art project because of the creativity that can be expressed with the use of clay. I think this would be a super cool project to do this year! This year I hope to learn more about the different kinds of art and when it was popular. I look forward to this school year 🙂 -Mazy Carlson

  3. I really like the bright colors like the really light blue and that green and yellow. I especially like the one with the design on the castle. I would like to learn how to draw faces this year.

  4. I think these castles made of clay are very interesting because I feel like you can really be creative the way you make it. Like you can make the castle the way you want it too.

    This year I hope to learn a lot about art in general, because I have been interested in art since I was in 4th grade. I also hope to learn some of the stuff my friends did last year, because they really enjoyed art last year.

  5. I think the castle are cool because they have their own unique style. This year in Art I would like to learn how to make sculpture of a tiki.

  6. I like the clay castle because most of it has so much detail in it. It’s cool when they added water and a river and stuff because that shows they put a lot of detail into it which is good. I hope one day I get to make one because they are really cool. For some reason it looks hard but I think it would be a lot of fun. My favorite one was the snake because that one has a lot of detail. This is a good project because people that like crafts can do this because its really fun. I want do this because I want to learn how to work with clay.

  7. Last year I remember doing this in Mrs. Sanderl’s class. At first I thought in my head “its gonna be hard,” but as you move forward it starts to get easy and you’ll be finished before you know it. This year I want to learn how to make pottery on the pottery wheel.

  8. I like this clay castle because it has a lot of detail and looks fun to make and I want figure out how clay works to make stuff. Also I like how cool the bridges of the castle are. My favorite castle is the mushroom cause its different. I would I love to learn how to make clay bowls and stuff like that.

  9. The ceramic castles look really fun to make, but I’m guessing they were also really challenging and difficult. Still looks like a fun project!

  10. I love working with clay and I like how precise the details are. I also love the colors and how bright everything stands out. This seems really fun and cool to do and I would love to try it!

  11. I love these castles that students made! To me, they are interesting by the realism of the castles and the cuteness of how its like a mini castles in your hand. I hope to learn how to draw manga and anime like professionals in 2015- 2016!!!

  12. The really interesting, intriguing, cool,amazing thing about this project is that the castles are made of clay and it has alot of detail and color. I really hope we could work with clay again this year.

  13. I really enjoyed the clay last year and I would love it if we could do it again this year!!!!

  14. I think the clay castles are very creative. I think that they have a unique detail and I hope we get to work with clay this year.

  15. The thing that I think is really cool about these sculptures is how simple they are, yet they’re really detailed. The rocks, the colors, and the stair cases are really detailed.

    I want to learn more about shading and shadows. For a project I want to draw or paint the reflections in an eye.

  16. I like this castle because it is has great details like the river going through the castle. I hope this year we can do pottery and make bowls or cups. I learned last year that the pottery wheel is really hard but it is also very nice in the end.

  17. I think the castles are interesting because they are all different and they all look cool in their own way.

    What I hope to learn this year is how to make a clay sculpture of a tree house.

  18. Hi Mrs. Sandrel! I love theses castles a lot! I love all the creativity that the student’s put in them. This year I would like to maybe do portraits made out of clay.
    PS: My sisters were in your class. named Sophia and Angelina.

  19. I really like this project. I would love to do something with clay this year or even pottery. I love the colors and the different styles and I would love work with clay this year in your art class 🙂

  20. I like the castles because it is very creative and it is fun to make. I hope that we can work with clay again this year.

  21. This seems really fun to do. I liked this because of all the bright colors and I like doing hands-on projects. This year I would like to make a hands-on project.

  22. Making castles of clay was so much fun. I enjoyed doing a clay project. I would love to do it again this year but I would love to make tikis or pottery on the pottery wheel.

  23. This project is amazing. Later in the year I hope I get a chance to do a clay project and learn much more about how to form clay. The colors were a great choice and shows much effort. The project is neat and looks like a real castle in my opinion.

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