How to make a Black-Figure Greek Vase: Classics for Kids

We made this as part of our Discover Greece unit šŸ™‚ Ancient Greek black-figure vases are both beautiful and they help to provide insight into the culture, mythology, iconography, and daily activities of the time. You can read details of the artistry process here or here.

This black-figure pottery activity for kids is a simplified version that can be done with just a few cheap materials!

Materials

  • Small terracotta pot (i.e. from a garden store)
  • Pencil and eraser
  • Black permanent marker (fine tip)
  • Red crayon
  • Black acrylic paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Rubber bands
  • Something to scratch with (like a dull nail or a metal crochet hook)

Directions

  1. If your terracotta pot doesn’t have a natural lip, use rubber bands to create top and bottom strips. Colour these strips in with a red crayon.
  2. Lightly water a small amount of black acrylic paint into a smooth paste. Paint this over the crayon (the rubber bands should help to keep the paint neatly in line). Allow to dry.
  3. Look at photos of Greek vases online and think about what story you want to tell. Will you draw figures? animals? daily life? a mythic adventure? Begin by drawing with pencil in the untouched inner band of pottery. Make adjustments as you go. When you are happy with your work, trace the outlines with black permanent marker and then colour them in as solid shapes.
  4. Choose a Greek geometric pattern to scratch into the painted top band of your project. Use a metal tool (like a dull nail) to carefully scratch away the paint – revealing the red crayon beneath.
  5. Display your art work!

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