Inca Bird Bowl

Model a clay bird-shaped bowl decorated with earthy colours and simple patterns. A bird with a curved neck was a traditional feature on Inca pottery, other animal variations included llamas and wild cats.

Inca Bird Bowl

Skill Level


Time to Make

1.5 hours + drying time for clay and paint

Adult Supervision Needed


How to Make

  1. Cover an upturned bowl with 2 layers of cling film. Break off 1/3 pack of clay then shape it into a ball about the size of an orange. Wrap up the left over clay so it doesn’t dry out.
    Press the clay over the cling film then smooth it down over the top of the bowl into a shallow curve over the top. Keep the clay at least 8-10mm thick. Leave to dry for 2-3 hours.
  2. When the clay is less sticky, run a modelling tool around the edge to make it smoother.
  3. Break off a small piece of clay from the pack to make the bird’s head and neck.
    Shape the clay into a 4cm diameter ball, roll it into an 8cm length then press the end into a simple head and beak. Elongate the neck to make the whole piece about 10cm, keeping the shape chunky and not too thin.
  4. To attach the bird’s neck onto the bowl, scratch some lines into the end of the neck and on the upturned clay bowl. Press the end of the neck onto the bowl, with the head hanging upside down resting on the side of the bowl. It may help to add small amount of wet clay and water where the neck meets the bowl to help join the pieces together. Use a modelling tool to smooth over the join. Check the neck is centrally positioned in a curve then leave to dry overnight
  5. Carefully lift up the bird bowl and peel off the cling film. Turn it over and leave the inside to dry out. Smooth over any rough areas using sandpaper
  6. Lightly mark out a simple pencil design inside the bowl, you could divide it into sections or look at Inca pottery for some other ideas. Mix up some poster paints for the base colours on the bowl. Paint the bowl and leave it to dry. Paint details onto the bowl using a thin brush or use a cotton bud for printing a dotted pattern. Leave to dry. To lift the finished bowl, hold it underneath rather than by the bird’s neck
Inca Bird Bowl Inca Bird Bowl Inca Bird Bowl

Top Tip

Before you start, if the bowl has a deep ridge in the centre on the base, cover it with a jar lid or a circle of card before placing the cling film over the top.

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