Make a Clay Ocarina




Ever since "Legend of Zelda : Ocarina of Time" came out, everyone associates ocarinas with Zelda and there fore, anyone interested in ocarinas is considered a die-hard Zelda fanatic!! There is alot more to Ocarinas than Zelda you know. With this Instructable, you can learn how to make wonderful masterpieces THAT SING!! And you will learn a little about the history of the Ocarina but that is besides the point...

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Step 1: The Clay

Well, obviously you need clay to make a clay ocarina. It is possible to make it out of wood but that will come some other time when i have the time, money and patience... Ocarinas have been around since the stone age. Aztecs used them for ritual purposes.

Step 2: The Mold

I made a simple, carrot shaped mold and with this, you just wrap the clay around and seal it up. The mold can be made by taking a large chunk of clay and rolling it out on a slant to make it a sort of "Carrot" shape.

Step 3: Wrapping the Mold

Take a hunk of that Clay and flatten it out about and inch longer than your "Carrot" mold. It must be at least 1cm thick too. You have to make it wide enough to wrap around the mold and have a bit extra.

Step 4: Making the Mouthpiece

While the main chamber of the ocarina is firming up around the mold, We are going to make the mouthpiece. Roll out a piece of clay how ever long you want to make the mouthpiece. Take a "slot stick" (i just use a Popsicle stick with the end cut off) and force it through the mouthpiece like in the picture. Shape it however you want. Ocarinas arent just made of clay. They can be made of wood, metal, plastic, or just about anything that can be molded and will hold its shape.

Step 5: Getting the Mold Out of the Ocarina

Cut the mold in half lengthwise and pull the mold out of the ocarina body.

Step 6: Optional Step

Look closely and notice the grooves put in the edge of the body halves. These help to grip the wet "slip" clay and make a proper seal.

Step 7: "Slipping" the Body

Slip is a muddy clay mixture. To make it, just put a bunch of small clay pieces in a bowl and fill it up with water just over the clay. Let it sit for a day or so. Put the slip on the grooved edges of the body and then smush the two halves together!! In medival times, ocarinas were made of wood and shaped like a stone. They were called Pendant ocarinas. We are making a Sweet Potato Ocarina.

Step 8: Marking the Voicing

Place the mouth piece up to the bottom of the ocarina. Trace around the bottom and about 1/3 a ways up the ocarina. This is the outline for the voicing or voice box. The voicing is what makes the noise.

Step 9: Cutting and Perfecting the Voicing

Put the popsicle stick into the mouthpiece and put the mouthpiece into the hole with the popsicle stick in it. push the popsicle stick into the clay in front of it and cut on a slant towards the popsicle stick. This slant makes noise when air is blown onto it.

Step 10: Making the Holes

There is a chart on making the holes at green vurdigo Green vurdigo has instructions on making ocarinas without a mold if you don't have a mold.

Step 11: Sanding

After it is dried out (may take a few days depending on the size of it...) you can sand it with a low grit sanding pad and then if you really want to make it look good, you can burnish it by taking a metal spoon and rubbing the back of it on the clay in little circles. It makes it really shiny and it is quite interesting. Believe it or not, Ocarinas are on Wikipedia. There are multi-chambered ocarinas that make a polyphonic noise. it is kind of like bagpipes. The bass and tenor drones work at the same time as the chanter. the bass and tenor sound chambers on the ocarina work the same time as the one with the finger holes.

Step 12: Finishing Touches

After your done your optional burnishing, you can engrave it with something, keep it on a shelf as is, get it fired, glaze it and then get it fired, JUST BE CREATIVE!!!

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    153 Discussions


    11 months ago

    Does the mold have to dry before you can use it?


    Question 11 months ago

    Is 1 pound of clay enough to make it?


    2 years ago

    The green vurdigo domain is parked right now. I can't access it? Any other websites or ways around it?


    Reply 4 years ago

    OuO I have sculpey clay (and made an amazing ocarina out of it!) and it is non-toxic, making it perfect for this!


    Reply 4 years ago

    Yes it is! I actually made one out of sculpey (and as long as you follow this tutorial, you'll be fine!) and mine's just amazing, it actually works better than the one i bought at a con :D


    8 years ago on Introduction

    im pissed the only clay i could find around town is freakin air dry and baking and they suck where can i find the good made clay >O<

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago

    Actually, oven bake clay is amazing! i made mine based off this tutorial, and it works amazingly! i use Sculpey clay (oven bake) and it's beautiful! and there's a lot of colors you can get with sculpey so you can make your ocarina any color you want.


    4 years ago on Step 11

    DO NOT BURNISH IT IF YOU ARE PLANNING ON GLAZING. Glazes need texture to be able to stick to the piece, but burnishing smooths the surface, so do one or the other, but not both


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I want to make this in my art class, but I'm wondering how you make it into a proper key with 10 holes, I have a 6 hole so I'm looking for something a bit more advanced. Also, how does one create the mold? Thanks in advance and sorry I'm a few years late


    11 years ago on Introduction

    it is also possible to make a pinch pot ocarina, its a lot easier, and your can really play with the design, you can also just take a completely solid block of clay, mold it into your shape, cut it in half and remove the inside. I've been making ocarinas for a while now, so if you need any help, just email or message me!

    3 replies

    Reply 4 years ago

    I've been planning out an art project which combined ceramics, sound, sight etc. and I love this instrument! I have been investigating how to make my own and am curious how one tunes it and how the mouth piece must be shaped to properly produce the sound. It seems tuning is in part based on sauce of the cavity in the instrument and in part where the holes are places and which ones you cover. Am I corrrect? I think I may buy some cheap toy versions and deconstruct them to look inside and play around with clay to see how I can best make my own version that goes with my project. Any suggestions would be great!

    How big are the finger holes? Also, where did the edges go in steps 6-8? One last question, ccan this be made if oven-bake clay? Sorry about all the questions, just want to get it right with minimal expenses.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I am in the middle of making an ocarina, and I am having trouble getting it to play high notes. Low notes come out nicely, but the higher you go, the more airy it sounds, until no sound comes out at all. On, it says to lower the mouthpiece so that it is closer to the lip of the voice box to get stronger high notes; but when I do that, the low notes become airy as well, or no notes come out at all.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    This doesnt really work. Im using the correct methods and items but after taking the mould from the clay, every thing just flops and doesn't work. Why?

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I think you didn't let the clay harden enough. I feel like this is a longer project, that takes maybe a week to do (for hardening/dry time).


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Yo, I just wanted to know if it was okay if I used a few of your ideas in an ocarina I want to make for an instructables contest. It is really a lot different, but a few things on your ible are really useful for me (popsicle stick, etc.). I utterly failed at this in 8th grade so congratulations to you. I will definitely direct my readers to you ible, because it is really helpful and genius. I hope this is no problem.

    P.s. Think of it a receiving inspiration for a song, then mentioning the inspiration in the lyrics (citing).