Your Peep needs to be made of ceramic clay, lowfire cone 06-04, mid range cone 4–7, or high fire clay cone 10, fired and functional (any fired clay). It must fit into a peephole’s opening (1.25-inch opening tapering to 0.75 of an inch). The tapered part of the plug should be about 1.75 to 2 inches long and needs to support the plug while in the peephole.
Step 1: Model about ½ to ¾ of a pound of clay with the plug part sized to allow for shrinkage. With the decorative part attached to the wide end of the plug, your piece should be about 3 to 4 inches long.
Modeling can be done from one piece of clay and/or attachments can be applied. Be sure to score and slip attachments well to your Peep. Those with throwing skills can throw parts or the entire peephole plug. For best results, the thickness of the clay walls should be constructed evenly to allow even drying and less cracking issues.
Step 2: Keep in mind that clay appendages that stick out too far become very fragile and will dry faster than the rest of your Peep and can crack and fall off easily. Many clay octopus tentacles and deer antlers have bitten the dust in a project like this. Plastic bags or wrap can be used to slow the drying process and help prevent cracks.
Step 3: To support your Peep while creating it, cut the bottom out of a paper or foam cup and flip it upside down. The tapered end of the Peep can be inserted into the hole, and the decorative end is accessible and can be worked on.
Step 4: Underglaze on the functional part of the Peep is okay ONLY if the plug is going to be functional and used in the peephole of a kiln that is low fired. Be careful! Some underglaze colors can melt at the cone 6–10 range, which could cause them to become attached to the inside of the peephole brick.
Also, DO NOT apply any glazes to the plunger/plug part of the Peep. If you apply glaze there, the plug could be glazed permanently into the kiln’s peephole. The plug’s decorative end that extends outside the kiln, of course, may be glazed.
Step 5: If your Peeps are solid, they should be dried and fired very slowly.
Use pinched clay supports or kiln posts to support your Peeps if needed in the bisque and glaze firings.