Serra Cactus Birdhouse

Designer: Josh Clark




  1. Wrap a piece of copy paper around a soda can. Roll the can on the diagonal until the paper is used up, then secure with a small piece of tape.
  2. Roll out clay ¼” thick. Cut a rectangle 9″ x 5″. With a pony roller, thin the clay at one of the short sides. Score the top side of the thinned edge.
  3. Lay the can on the clay on the thicker side. Roll the clay onto the can. Score the remaining side using slip (mix of clay you are using and water in a sour cream consistency) on the scored surface. Press the pieces together.
  4. Take excess clay and roll out ¼” slab for the bottom of the piece. Score the clay on the bottom portion of your cylinder adding slip in preparation to be placed on the slab. Place the cylinder shape with the can still inside on top of the slab. Cut around the cylinder leaving about an 1/8 inch extra clay. Push up the extra clay on to the sides of the cylinder sealing the bottom layer to the side walls of your tube.
  5. Leave the soda can in the clay till the walls of your vessel are stiff enough to stand on their own. If you put a little hole in the bottom it will release easier, as it can form a vacuum. When removing the can the paper should stay behind. You can remove the paper at any time. Remember to fill in the little hole of this vessel if you wish it to hold liquids.
  6. Follow the directions from 1-5, to make the cactus, tape two cans together to build the height of the structure, then proceed. the clay will need to be cut larger to accommodate.
  7. To close off the top, after the cans are removed, slump a small piece of clay over a round shape such as a tennis ball, let it set so it keeps its form, then score and slip attach to the top of the cylinder shape.
  8. To make the arms, squeeze a fat coil, then poke a dowel rod into the coil, roll on a flat surface this will keep the arms hollow. Remove the dowel rod. Pinch the ends to close, widen the base by pinching the clay, shape to make the arms shape, score the ends, slip attach.
  9. Let it rest so it can be finished. After the clay is firm, cut a hole for the opening of the bird house, poke small holes for the cactus wires, roll a coil for the hanger and the perch. Score and slip attach the perch and coil.
  10. Let dry. Fire to cone 04.


  1. Use the Soft Fan to apply three coats of EL-118 Blue Grotto to the hanger, perch and where the arms meet the body of the cactus.
  2. Use the Soft Fan to apply three coats of EL-130 Sea Green to the remainder of the cactus, brushing over the edges of the Blue Grotto.
  3. Apply three coats of EL-118 Blue Grotto to the inside – as far as you can see through the bird house hole.
  4. Fire to 06. Glue in copper wire or other material to the small holes in the cactus.



  • Low-fire clay


  • EL-118 Blue Grotto
  • EL-130 Sea Green
  • Or Elements glaze of your choice

Decorating Accessories

  • CB-604 #4 Soft Fan

Miscellaneous Accessories

  • Paper
  • Soda Can
  • Tape
  • Coil