Woodgrain Cactus Birdhouse

Designer: Carmen Allen



  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 a 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 birdhouse.
  10. Let dry. Fire to cone 04.
  11. Thin some FN-009 Black to the consistency of creamer to use as a rolling glaze (about 1 part water, 2 parts glaze). Pour into the cactus and roll to coat the inside. Pour out excess and let dry.
  12. Using a CB-604 #4 Soft Fan, apply SC-7 Leapin’ Lizard toward the bottom, SC-43 Lettuce Alone in the middle, and SC-93 Honeydew List on the top. Blend the colors into one another and repeat 2-3 times.
  13. Using a sponge-on-a-stick, apply glaze to ST-133 Wood Grain Stamp. Be sure to tap off excess glaze and keep the stamp flat on the table when applying the glaze. The stamping will cover the entire surface of the cactus so, this will need to be repeated several times. Keep in mind to have SC-36 Irish Luck on the bottom half and SC-26 Green Thumb on the top half. It works best to have the transition be on the stamp itself. So, divide the stamp and blend so the transition is smooth.
  14. Apply 3 coats of SC-89 Cutie Pie Coral to the hanger.
  15. Let dry completely.
  16. Stilt and fire to shelf cone 06/05.



  • Handmade


  • SC-7 Leapin’ Lizard
  • SC-26 Green Thumb
  • SC-36 Irish Luck
  • SC-43 Lettuce Alone
  • SC-89 Cutie Pie Coral
  • SC-93 Honeydew List
  • FN-009 Black

Decorating Accessories

  • CB-604 #4 Soft Fan
  • ST-133 Wood Grain Stamp

Miscellaneous Accessories

  • Sponge-on-a-stick
  • Soda can