How to Make a Terracotta Warrior School Project


The discovery of the Terracotta Warriors, a vast army of more than 8,000 clay soldiers in China, was a major find for anthropologists and art historians worldwide. Each sculpture is different, possibly modeled after individuals in Emperor Qin's army around 220 BC. In addition to the soldiers, the tomb of Emperor Qin also contained some of his court's entertainers. Doing an elementary school project about the Terracotta Warriors can be both fun and educational for students and teachers alike.

The Terracotta Warriors were discovered in 1974.
(terracotta warriors 01 image by Bohanka from

Things You'll Need

  • Old newspaper
  • Paint brushes
  • Water
  • Flour
  • Gray paint
  • Black paint
  • White paint
  • Bowls
Step 1

Teach students the history of the Terracotta Warriors. Read passages aloud from your selected source.

Molds were used to make the faces of the warriors, but each one was enhanced by hand.
two terracotta soldiers from china image by Cosmic from
Step 2

Talk about the purpose of the army. Let students propose possible reasons for creating the sculptures.

The warriors were painted, but they turn gray when exposed to air.
terracotta warriors 05 image by Bohanka from
Step 3

Talk about Chinese culture from the Qin dynasty. Explain that much of China's legacy was destroyed and why it is important for a culture to preserve artifacts when it finds them.

China's ancient culture was very different than its modern one.
china image by Luisafer from
Step 1

Tell students that they will be making their own version of the Terracotta Warriors -- Paper Mache Warriors.

Paper mache is a great standard for children's crafts.
grunge paper pale paper image by Andrew Brown from
Step 2

Have each child make a list of three important people in their lives. They should write a page about each person.

Writing about people they know is a great character writing exercise for children.
notebook image by Danil Vachegin from
Step 3

Give each child three balloons (one for each head they will be making) and set up their workstations. Have them mix two cups of flour with six cups of water to make the glue.

This "glue" is less messy.
bottle of glue on black marble image by phizics from
Step 4

Have the children blow up the balloons and place strips of newspaper coated with the glue mixture over the balloon until it's covered. They should do this with three balloons each.

Balloons help make a nice round shape.
balloons 1 image by Pix by Marti from
Step 5

When the paper mache is completely dry, have students use the gray, black and white paint to paint the faces of their three chosen people. Now they have their own Paper Mache Warriors.

According to ancient historians, it took more than 700,000 people over 36 years to make the warriors, although this is now being disputed.
terracotta warriors 04 image by Bohanka from


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