Chinese Terracotta Warrior

Forever immortalized in terracotta, realistic statues of warriors and horses were buried with China’s first emperor to protect him into the afterlife. These incredible sculptures are a testament to the artistic talent of Ancient China. Create your own miniature figure or make an army as a group project!

Chinese Terracotta Warrior

Skill Level

Intermediate. Adult supervision needed

Time to Make

1.5 hours + drying time for air-clay (24-48 hours) + paints

Adult Supervision Needed


How to Make

  1. To make a base for the sculpture, measure out a 5cm x 5cm square in pen onto a cork coaster then cut it out.
    To make the base stronger, glue a 5cm x 5cm thick card square to the cork.
  2. To make a form for sculpting the warrior, glue 2 matching bamboo sticks onto a wooden person, then glue the sticks to the square base, with the cork texture facing upwards.
  3. Start covering the head, body and legs with a layer of clay. Smooth the clay with your fingers and use a modelling tool to shape the face, hair and to shape of the armour. Use a cocktail stick to define the features on the face and make patterns on the armour.
  4. Shape 2 pieces of clay into arms, score small lines in the surface of the clay on the sides of the body with a modelling tool, add some water then press the arms in place. Shape the details on the arms and hands with a modelling tool and a cocktail stick. Press small clay pieces onto the shoulders. Keep the main shapes simple.
  5. Cover the bamboo legs with clay then add 2 small clay pieces for feet. Use a modelling tool to shape the legs and feet. Scrape off any pieces of clay from the base around the feet so the cork texture is still visible.
  6. Press more clay around the joins if necessary and add some water to the clay if it starts to dry out or crack around the edges. Leave the model to dry thoroughly.
  7. Mix up some washy brown paint then brush it over the model and the base for an aged effect.
Chinese Terracotta Warrior Chinese Terracotta Warrior Chinese Terracotta Warrior

Top Tip

Position the bamboo legs towards the back of the wooden person, so they are glued slightly off-centre. This allows for the body to be balanced when the clay feet are added.

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