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. Find out how and why they made butter molds from clay. Sometimes today, fancy butter pats are made in small molds.

  • 2.

    What everyday items do you know about 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.

    Gather several objects such as marker caps, shells, and other items that have either a raised or indented design. Be inventive! The clay is so smooth you can make very fine designs in it.

  • 4.

    Use a clean, washable surface. Roll the clay into a ball about as wide as the object you are going to use to make an impression. Press the ball into the object (or vice versa) and gently pull them apart. Is your design raised or indented? Concave or convex?

  • 5.

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


  • Students research how farmers used clay from river beds to make butter molds.
  • Students identify everyday objects that are made by printing or making impressions.
  • Students discover that when an impression is made, designs are reversed (mirror images) as they make their own impressions with found objects.


  • While the clay is still soft, poke a hole in the top of the piece. When dry, thread it with string or ribbon for a hanging decoration or pendant.
  • If you like, paint the dry, impressed clay sculptures with Crayola Watercolors or Tempera. They make wonderful paperweights or decorative pieces.
  • Young children or those with special needs could press their hands in the clay. It makes a finer handprint than other media.
  • Assessment: Students try to identify the objects that were used to make impressions in other children’s sculptures. A lunch bag could be displayed with each sculpture. Children write their ideas on small pieces of paper and place them in the bags. Which items stumped everyone? Which were easy to identify?