Diving Whale Sculpture


The blue whale is the largest animal ever to have lived on earth! Create a life-like, miniature sculpture of this fascinating creature.


1. Whales are warm-blooded, air-breathing mammals that live in every ocean. Many of them make long migrations. Some species hum so loud that the sound can travel thousands of miles through the water to other whales. There are two types of whales--baleen and toothed whales. Baleen whales eat plankton such as krill and small fish. Toothed whales may eat fish, squid, crabs, shrimp, sharks, seals, sea lions, penguins, and even other whales, dolphins, and porpoises.

2. The part of the whale that people most often see is its fluke or tail as it surfaces for air and dives back into the ocean. Create a unique sculpture that shows a whale in its natural habitat. Work on a clean, dry surface such as a paper plate. Use your imagination and photos of whales to design your sculpture. This is how the sculpture in the picture was made.

3. Press a chunk of Crayola Air-Dry Clay into an ocean-like base. Smooth the edges with a dampened finger. Or roll your base with a rolling pin and cut the edges with a modeling tool such as a craft stick or plastic knife. If you like, roll more clay into a coil. Place it around the edge of the base to create a lip. If your clay is a little dry, moisten the pieces with a wet finger.

4. Use a modeling tool to cut out mountain ranges, islands, glaciers, or another background from more clay. Add texture by using your finger, a craft stick, or a clay stylus. Attach the pieces to the edge of the base. Form a whale’s tail and attach it. You can even add misty splashes coming from the whale’s blowhole!

5. Paint your mountains, ocean, and whale with Crayola Washable Watercolors and brushes. Gently wash the color on the wet clay. To create deeper colors, air-dry the first coat and repaint. Air-dry the finished sculpture for at least 3 days.

6. Paint your mountains, ocean, and whale with Crayola Portfolio® Series Watercolors and brushes. Gently wash the color on the wet clay. To create deeper colors, air-dry the first coat and repaint. Air-dry the finished sculpture for at least 3 days.

Safety Guidelines

Adult supervision is required for any arts & crafts project. Observe children closely and intervene as necessary to prevent potential safety problems and ensure appropriate use of arts and crafts materials. Some craft items, particularly beads and buttons, are potential choking hazards for young children. Avoid use of such small parts with children younger than 3 years. Craft items such as scissors, push pins and chenille sticks may have sharp points or edges. Avoid use of materials with sharp points by children younger than 4 years. Read all manufacturers' safety warnings before using arts and craft supplies.

Crayola Modeling Materials including Crayola Model Magic®, and Model Magic Fusion™, Crayola Air-Dry Clay, and Crayola Dough—

  • Keep away from open flames. Do not use to make candleholders, hot plates, trivets, or other similar objects that will be used or placed near fire and other heat sources.
  • Do not put in an oven, microwave, or kiln.
  • Do not make into vessels/containers that will hold unpackaged food.
  • The use of modeling material to make items that look like food is discouraged for children younger than age 5 to avoid their confusion with real food.
  • Unless sealed with a water-resistant glaze, do not make projects exposed to or immersed in water, such as boats or outdoor bird feeders. They would disintegrate when exposed to moisture.
  • Crayola Dough—contains gluten (wheat flour) as an ingredient.
  • Crayola Air-Dry Clay, Crayola Model Magic and Model Magic Fusion are gluten-free. However, they are produced on the same machinery as Crayola Dough which does contain gluten. Although the machines are cleaned prior to the start of each production run, there is a slight possibility that trace amounts of gluten from Crayola Dough may be present in the other modeling compound products. For information regarding specific ingredients or allergic concerns, please call our Consumer Affairs department at 1-800-272-9652 weekdays between 9 AM and 4 PM Eastern Standard Time.

Crayola Washable Paints—Not for use as body/face paint.

Modeling Tools—Use the least dangerous point or edge sufficient to do the job. For example, craft sticks, plastic knives and forks, and cookie cutters can cut or carve modeling materials.

Wood—By its nature, wood is rough and may contain splinters or sharp points


  • Many whales’ species are being placed on, or are near to being placed on, the endangered species list. Find out what is causing their demise such as noise, development, and pollution. How does global warming affect whale habitats?
  • Investigate the role that sound plays in keeping whales together in groups. Find out how they communicate with each other.
  • Research Project Jonah to learn how the group rescues stranded whales.
  • Find out about how indigenous cultures such as people living in the American Pacific Northwest, relied on whales to survive. How were whales hunted and used? The Macah Nation is the only tribe who has a treaty granting it the right to hunt whales.
  • Some students with special needs may find it helpful to work with a picture nearby to observe details. They may also prefer to sculpt just the fluke, or the whale, rather than an entire scene.
  • Assessment: Create a Venn diagram/poster that lists the various species of whales divided into two categories, toothed whales and baleen whales. Record their similarities and differences.

Related Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

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crayola supplies
  • Watercolor Brushes with Plastic Handle
  • Washable Watercolors
  • Air-Dry Clay
household supplies
  • Party Express paper plates
  • craft sticks
  • paper towels
  • modeling tools
  • plastic dinnerware (optional)
  • container(s) of water



  • Grades 4 to 6
  • Grades 7 to 12
  • Special Needs


  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Visual Arts


  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Multiple Sessions


  • Students identify two types of whales: toothed whales and baleen whales, and understand that whales come to the surface for air.

  • Students recognize that whales are mammals (they nurse their young and are warm-blooded). They research whale’s eating habits, parenting, migration, and means of communication.

  • Students create an accurate, detailed sculpture to show a whale living in its natural habitat.


Research Canada Standards
Research UK Standards
Research U.S. Standards