Clay Tower of London

London is a city that’s rich with history and the great Tower is no exception. Creating a simplified replica from air-dry clay is not only good fun, it also helps children develop their hand-eye co-ordination skills, comprehension and design skills. It’s a great start to lessons on a particular period such as the Tudors, as it can be used as a base to teach children about the function of the Tower during that time and the historical figures that were kept there.

Skill Level

Advanced

Time to Make

2 hours

Adult Supervision Needed

Yes

How to Make

  1. Please note this is a simplified version of the tower to make it easier for children to create – it is not exact or precisely to scale.
  2. Take a piece of A4 green card and lay out on a flat surface so it's arranged in a landscape orientation. This will be the base or 'green' of your Tower of London model.
  3. Take a ball of white clay – approx 3cm deep and 3cm in width – and mix it with a pea-sized ball of brown clay. When it's fully blended, mould it into a square with with your hands, then push down into the top with your thumbs to create a slight dip in the roof, as shown. Texture the roof of the main square using one blade of a pair of scissors, pressed gently but firmly into the edges of the roof, equally spaced apart, to give the appearance of turrets.
  4. Now take a ball of white, about half the size of the previous ball, and blend with a ball of brown, about half the size of the previous ball. Then, split into four equal-sized balls and roll each one into a tapering sausage, so one end finishes in a cone/point. The sausages will be towers and they need to be about ¾ cm higher than the square you just made.
  5. Secure a tower to each corner by pressing it gently to the clay square – it should bond straight away. Now take a small ball of clay and mould it into a rectangle with rounded corners. It should be approx 2cm wide and will be a smaller building at the front of your clay square, next to the left-hand tapering tower. Secure in place using the picture as a guide.
  6. Create a second rectangle in the same way but when complete, tip it onto one long side and attach it to the left-hand wall of the main tower, as shown. Texture the roof of both rectangles using the blade of a pair of scissors, gently pressing it into the clay around the edges to give the appearance of turrets.
  7. Now take a pea sized ball of white and mix with half a pea-sized ball of brown until blended. Roll a sausage, about 1cm long then flatten into a wall, about 1cm high – you might need to trim off some excess. Fasten to the main clay square on the right-hand side, just before the right front tapering tower, as shown in the picture.
  8. Now take two walnut-sized pieces of white clay and mix with a pea-sized amount of brown until blended. Split into two pieces and roll out into sausages, then flatten to create two walls, both around 1cm high and 3cm long.
  9. Secure the first wall to the smaller 1cm wall you already secured to the right-hand side of the main tower, with the wall stretching out forwards in front of the tower, as shown. You may need to press down very lightly to fix it to the card base.
  10. For the second wall, attach it to the rectangular building on the other side, stretching out forwards in-front of the tower, as shown. Again, you may need to press down on the clay slightly to secure it to the card base.
  11. Roll out a small piece of brown clay and mould it into a rectangle with a tapering roof, like a long narrow house. Secure it to the right-hand side of the wall that you just attached to the left-hand side of the tower, in the middle, as shown.
  12. Now blend white and brown clay together and mould into a cylindrical building, the same height as the wall, and place it to the right-hand side of the wall that you've attached to the left-hand side of the tower. Create a rectangle of brown and white blended clay, about 2cm across and the same height as the cylindrical tower. Press your thumbs into the roof to create a slight dip then texture around the top edges with one blade of a pair of scissors. Affix in place to the right-hand side of the cylindrical tower.
  13. Next create a long rectangle from brown and white blended clay, about 4cm long and slightly shorter than the two previous buildings you just made. Texture the edges of the roof with scissors, then secure in place to the right-hand side of the rectangular building you just added, as shown.
  14. Roll out a sausage of white and brown blended clay and flatten it into a wall that's slightly higher than the row of buildings you just created. It must be the same length as the width of all three buildings you just put in place in a row, as it's going to run directly behind them. Texture the top with scissors then secure, as shown, right behind the row of buildings, pressing the wall into the back of them to keep it in place.
  15. Create another white and brown blended cylindrical tower, slightly taller than the first and more rounded on top, and affix it to the right-hand side of the longest rectangular building and the wall you just placed.
  16. Roll out another sausage of white and brown blended clay and flatten it into another wall, about 1 cm high and 3cm long. Attach to the back of the cylindrical tower you just placed, so it stretches out behind it. Create another wall the same size and length and attach it to the wall you just placed. Curve the far end of the new piece of wall into a semi-circle shape that faces inwards, towards the main tower. Then create another small cylindrical tower from white and brown blended clay and place it inside the curve, as shown. Texture the edge of the curved piece with scissors.
  17. Roll out a flat, rectangular piece of white and brown clay about 1.5cm wide and 3cm long. Place it on the right-hand side of the tower, in the space between the two walls – use the picture as a guide. Roll four small balls of green clay – these will be trees – and position them on this flat piece in a row, as shown. Now make a long brown rectangle with a tapered roof, like a long narrow house, to fit the space between the row of trees and the curved end of the wall. Affix along the inside of the wall, as shown.
  18. Roll out a long wall piece, the same height and colour as the others, to form the back wall of the tower – use the picture as a guide, it should be over double the length of the front wall of the tower. Secure it to the cylindrical tower in the curved piece of wall on the right-hand side so it runs along the back of the tower, as shown.
  19. Create a taller cylindrical tower from white and brown clay, with a rounded top, and affix it to the left-hand edge of the wall you just placed. Now create another wall, about 1cm high and affix it to the tower you just placed, so it stretches out in front of it. Create another cylindrical tower, shorter and flatter on top than the previous one and affix it to the other end of the wall, as shown.
  20. Return to the cylindrical tower at the back, left-hand side of the long back wall. Create a 1cm long piece of wall and fix it to the left-hand side of this tower. Then create a long piece of wall and affix it to the left-hand side of the 1cm piece of wall, stretching forwards out in front – it should be about 1cm shorter than the long piece of wall it runs parallel to, as shown (Use the picture as a guide if it makes it easier).
  21. Create two small, short square-topped towers with a little rectangle in between them and affix to the end of the wall you just placed.Now create two small pieces of wall about 1cm long each, and affix a piece to the back of each of the two square towers, joining them to the long wall behind as shown. Texture the top of the two small pieces of wall to give the appearance of turrets.
  22. Now turn your attention to the flat-topped cylindrical tower that sits behind these two little square buildings. You're going to create a white and brown blended wall that's about 2cm long, textured along the top and sits behind this tower. Once this is in place, roll out a log, thin rectangle from brown clay, texture the top, and secure it in place – there will be an empty gap between the wall you just made and a flat-topped cylindrical building on the right (that is joined to the main tower behind it by two long walls) and it should fit here.
  23. Now you just have the front-most wall to create and a few little buildings to fill spaces around the main layout. Start with the wall. Turn your attention to the right-hand side of your design, where there are two little square buildings joined by a rectangle, on the front right corner of the layout. Create a small wall piece from brown clay, about 1cm long and slightly shorter than the small square buildings, and affix it to the side of the square buildings, as shown.
  24. Make a long bit of brown wall (the same height as the previous piece) and join it to the edge of the small piece, as shown, so it forms a right-angle and the long piece of wall runs along the front of the main layout. It should be about 5cm long.
  25. Make a brown rectangle, about 3.5cm long and 1cm tall and press your fingers into the top to create a dip in the roof. Texture the edges of the roof with scissors, then roll out four brown, short sausages and affix each one to a corner of the rectangle as towers. Secure this to the right-hand side of the long brown wall you just placed in step 23.
  26. Now create another piece of long brown wall that will run from the rectangular tower you just created all along the front until it lines up with the cylindrical tower on the right-hand corner. Secure it in place, then create a 1cm piece of brown wall to join the long wall to the cylindrical tower behind it.
  27. To finish, create a brown rectangle with tapering roof like a narrow house and place it in the courtyard created by the adjoining walls on the left-hand side, as shown. Create two larger square buildings from white and brown blended clay, one with a pointed roof and one with a flat roof. Place the pointed roof square directly next to the long brown house, then the flat-roofed square next to that, as shown. Create a narrow, long sausage in the same colour and flatten to create a footpath that stretches out behind these buildings. Roll six balls of green clay and place them behind the brown narrow house building, as shown.

Top Tip

If you want to make your Tower more secure, try securing each piece with a dab of glue from a cool melt glue gun before sticking it together/to the card base. This will make the project slightly more advanced.

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