Hot Ceramics & Pottery How-Tos

How To: Trim a pot

In this video, we learn how to trim a pot. First, you will want to get your pot wet and place it onto a ceramic bowl shaper. Start to spin the bowl and get it wet as you use a sharp tool to remove the trim from around the pot. Continue to do this until all of the trim you want to remove is gone. When finished, you will need to refire this and place glaze back onto it. This can be done with any type of ceramic pot, just make sure you keep it moist while you are cutting it, so it doesn't break ...

How To: Throw a large clay vase on a pottery wheel

This video pottery-making tutorial demonstrates the entire process of a large clay vase. Watch as this ceramic clay vase takes shape from the interplay between the skilled and nimble fingers of the craftsmen, the lump of clay, and the potter's wheel. The finished product is truly a work of art. Start watching and throw your own beautiful clay vase.

How To: Make a simple clay and ash glaze

This method of making glaze utilizes environmental supplies. That way there's no need to rely on a clay supply store, so it's great to save money or time if it's a distance to the nearest supplier. Watch this video pottery tutorial and learn how to make a simple ceramic glaze for firing out of clay remnants and wood ash. It's appropriate for use on raw glazing projects as well.

How To: Glaze pottery inside and outside

Watch this ceramics tutorial video to learn how to use some more advanced glazing techniques to make the inside different than the outside. The detailed instructions in this helpful how-to video are best for intermediate to advanced potters who want to glaze both the inside and the outside of their pottery.

How To: Make a plaster bat for drying out your wet clay

Simon Leach is an online pottery instruction legend, and in this three-part video, he instructs us in a procedure somewhat outside his normal area of expertise by creating a homemade plaster bat, which is basically a flat plaster block used for drying wet clay. For the hardcore at-home ceramics whiz this could be a very fun and rewarding project. Just make sure you are comfortable working with both plaster and clay!

How To: Prepare clay for wheel throwing

Georgia Tech resident pottery instructor, Trip, describes how to knead clay and get it ready for use on the wheel. First you need a piece of soft scrap or fresh clay. When kneading, or wedging the clay, try to force out all of the air bubbles. The kneading board should help to absorb excess moisture. Test the kneaded clay by slicing it with a wire cutter to check for air bubbles.

How To: Trim a round bowl with Simon Leach

This instructional ceramics video shows you how to trim a round bowl. It is much easier of you have a centered pot to begin with. It is also helpful to leave a bit of extra clay in the base so that one can trim more freely. Once the clay is semi-dry, you can begin trimming. After trimming, smooth the trimming marks out using a rubber rib. A touch of water on the rim will re-elevate the rim after trimming your round pot.

How To: Throw a big pottery mixing bowl

First of all you have to put some clay over the potter wheel. Now add some water and then press hard with your fingers at the bottom. Now slowly release the pressure of your hands and bring your hands upwards while slowly releasing the pressure. This shall form an inverted cone shape. Now apply pressure with your thumbs at the top to depress in the top and then wash your hands with water. Now use your thumbs to make this hole bigger. Now put a little water in this hole and then use your finge...

How To: Trim a ceramic pot on a wheel

English pottery instructor Simon Leach has stepped out onto his lovely deck to teach us how to trim our ceramic pots on the wheel. His example piece is small cup or pot that begins the video as plain as vanilla and ends it as a wonderfully detailed piece after only 10 minutes or so of work.

How To: Set up a kiln

Before starting out on any pottery projects, you need to set up that kiln. This video how-to series demonstrates the safe and proper set-up procedure for your new kiln. Learn where to set up the kiln, unpack, and assemble. Follow along with the video and have fun with ceramics. Set up a kiln.

How To: Throw quick ceramic plates

Watch this instructional ceramics video to learn how to throw a quick plate. Simply center your clay and create a wide disc before beginning the hole. Pull the lip of the plate out with a sponge. It is important to compress the rim. The most difficult step is to pay attention to the of the lip to widen the edge into a plate without breaking the clay or making it look like a bowl.

How To: Make models and ornaments with salt dough

In this tutorial, we learn how to make models and ornaments with salt dough. First, grab a baking sheet and place aluminum foil over it. Now, grab some gloss sealer, salt, food coloring, flour, ribbon, glitter, cookie cutters, and buttons. To make the dough, combine flour with water and salt. Mix this together until you get a dough shape, then roll out and cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Cut a small hole in the top of it, then bake until golden brown in the oven. Tie a string in the hole...

How To: Glaze ceramics

Simon Leach teaches the secret to glazing the inside of a bowl. You will need: brush, glaze, sponge, water, stick or whisk. Using a brush, dust the inside of the bowl to be glazed. Remove any clay that remains stuck on the bowl by using a blade or knife. Stir the glaze from the bottom using a stick or whisk Add water to the glaze if it appears too thick and stir again from the bottom. Pour the glaze into the bowl, careful not to get any over the edge. If any glaze goes over the edge of the bo...

How To: Install fiber to the exterior cage of a Raku kiln

This intriguing video is part of a set by Simon Leach that teaches anyone at home to create a Raku kiln. In this video, he takes you in a simple, step by step guide from attaching in the fluffy fiber to the exterior cage with specialty buttons and wires. All the steps are very clear, and he even repeats them just in case so that even the most novice craftsman can follow along. It's both practical and educational, as he explains why things need to be done and what purpose they serve for the fi...

How To: Make a ceramic slab plate

In this video, we learn how to make a ceramic slab plate. First, roll out the ceramic. After this, place the clay on butcher or newspaper and smooth it out with a plastic card. Repeat this on the other side. Next, use a paper template to help cut your design or use a circular object. Cut slits to help remove the surrounding clay. Use the excess clay to build support pieces then curve the edges of the plate up and place the support pieces underneath. Use a piece of leather to smooth the edges....

How To: Mix your own clay at home

This video tutorial shows how to mix your own clay body. Covered are the basic types of clay, fluxes, and fillers. When testing clay body mixtures, make 1000 gram batches dry, then add water to that. This way a percentage recipe can be taken and just by moving the decimal point can convert it to grams (25% = 25 grams or 250 grams, etc). Here is a clay-body recipe is as follows for those of who might care. Also, much of the mixture of a clay body is designed to match the glazes. It needs to me...

How To: Throw a wide bowl with Simon Leach

Watch this instructional ceramics video to learn how to throw a wide bowl with Simon Leach. As a preliminary step, one should throw a flat piece of clay onto the pad to assure easy lifting off of the bat. Centering is quite difficult with a larger piece of clay. Leach's visual guide allows one to view the delicate steps required to throw a wide ceramic bowl without letting it collapse.

How To: Throw a tall cylinder on a pottery wheel

Watch this instructional ceramics video to throw a tall cylinder on a pottery wheel. Using one hand to act as a brace, it is necessary to keep to a careful process of slowly pulling the clay upwards with even pressure until the clay walls are about 1/4" thick. The tall cylinder can then take on a more unique shape.

How To: Center on the potter's wheel with clay

Perfect your ability to center on a Potter's wheel with these tips from Andy Ruble. There are several different ways to go about centering, but the general principle is to put equal pressure on the top and side of the ball of clay and clay has no choice but to go in the middle. This instructional ceramics video is designed to help the beginning through advanced ceramic student improve their throwing skills.

How To: Decorate raw clay pottery with white slip

In this video pottery-making tutorial, Simon uses a white slip made from half china clay and half stoneware clay. Slip is an alternative to glaze for finishing a potted project. Simon also demonstrates an easy project to make a paint brush holder that will keep tools in place while using them. Watch this video demonstration to pick up a few ways to decorate a raw clay pottery piece with white slip.

How To: Fit a lamp base into pottery with Simon Leach

In this video by Simon Leach, we learn how to fit a lamp base into pottery with Simon Leach. First, you will take the lamp base that has all the wires inside of it. From here, you will wire the cables through the proper fittings for the light. Then, you need to put a hole in the bottom of the lamp base so you can string the light base through and then place the light bulb on top. When you are finished, the pottery can sit on top of the base and then you can add a light shade to finish up the ...

How To: Wedge two types of clay together

Wedging two types of clay can give you a new color, which you can then use to further decorate your pieces. Make sure that the two kind of clay require the same firing temperature. You can mix your own personal clay to work with simply by selecting qualities in standard clays and kneading them together.

How To: Decorate ceramics with a torch

Try using a blowtorch to dry the outer portion of a ceramic pot. While the clay is still on the pottery wheel, cut light marks into the outer wall of the pot. Dry the outermost layer of wet clay with a blowtorch. When you continue to stretch and form the wet clay on the wheel, witness an interesting cracking effect.

How To: Recuperate clay to soften it

Watch this ceramics tutorial video to learn how to soften clay by recuperating it. This helpful how-to video teaches several techniques to recuperate and soften your clay that are easy enough for beginners. You'll never be stuck again when your clay gets too hard after you watch this instructional video and learn how to recuperate and soften it.

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