Clay Basic Shapes

I have chosen eight clay basic shapes for you to start with.

ball-clay basic shape


egg-clay basic shape


teardrop - clay basic shape


cone -clay basic shape


bowling pin - clay basic shape

Bowling Pin

cube - clay basic shape


cylinder - clay basic shape


pipe - clay basic shape


Among these eight basic shapes, ball shape is the most popular shape for any type of figurines. It's easy to form but the beginners may have problem rolling the clay in between the palms around and around to make the clay round.

Sometimes, the balls flatten up when you press the clay too hard. You may also have irregular ball shape  when the circular motions of your hands are not even

My suggestion is to roll the clay freely with regular movements and enough pressure to have nice and smooth ball of clay

You can get the egg shape from the ball by rolling your hand against one side of the ball to create a tapered or pointed end.  

When you continue rolling the pointed end of the egg until it comes to a point, you will have a perfect teardrop shape

And when you press the large end of the teardrops on the table,  you will have flat base. That way you will have a cone shape

To make a bowling pin shape,  again you can begin with a ball shape then make an egg. Make a dent at the pointed end of egg, roll your finger around until it form the head of the pin. 

You can also make a cube from the ball by pressing it on to the table or flat surface including the side of the ball to create four angles. 

The cylinder sometimes become an oval when the ends are round. This shape starts from the ball as well and then you extend the body. To make cylinder you can press the two ends of the clay log on the table. 

The pipe or rope shape or spaghetti is one of the most useful clay basic shapes to create figurines which starts out as a ball too. You can roll the ball to an oval shape and then roll the oval back and forth to make it longer. Keep rolling the pipe until you get the length and thickness you want. 

Clay Basic Shapes Applications:

Octopus Clay

I made a cute octopus clay figurine with 2 clay basic shapes, balls and teardrops. You can too!

clay basic shapes, octopus clay
clay basic shapes, octopus clay
clay basic shapes, octopus clay

First, roll 6 medium size teardrops and 2 small teardrops shape and arrange them according to the picture beside.

Make 1 large ball shape with diameter about 3/4 of the medium size teardrops and place the ball on top of the 8 teardrops.

Roll 1 medium size ball, press it lightly and make a hole for the mouth. Also, roll 2 small balls for the eyes and paste them on the large ball. 

You can add the eye balls or adjust the position of the tentacles to create an expressive figure.

That's it! You have just created an octopus clay.

I also have recorded my steps in video below. 

Simple Bird Clay

Here another sample to create simple bird figurine with only one basic shape, teardrop!

  • Roll 1 big teardrop shape for the body of the bird, 2 medium size teardrops for the wings and 1 small teardrop shape for the head.

clay basic shapes, simple bird clay
clay basic shapes, simple bird clay

Slightly bend up the end of the big teardrop to create a tail and press the medium size teardrops on the table.

Assemble all teardrops to form a simple bird like the picture. 

Tips: You can add details on the wings and tail and play with colors for better looking bird. 

Well, you have the idea about clay modeling and how to make simple animals.

Are you ready to play with clay? don't have the clay? How's about making your own clay as a start? Yes?

Alright then. We have quick and cheap home-made modeling clay recipes for you to follow. If you prefer to buy the clay, visit my page for guide to choose the clay.

Happy crafting! We would love to see your creation. Did you make any clay craft? Would you like to share your creation in this website? If yes, please use form below to submit your picture and short story.

Thank you in advance.

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