Hot Ceramics & Pottery How-Tos

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 lamp base

You all the know the scene from Ghost? Where Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore are sitting and they are trying to make something using the machine? It's one of the most iconic scenes out there. Anyways, this video isn't about ghosts, or either of those actors, but rather that machine and what it can do. This tutorial will show you how to throw a lamp base easily. Enjoy!

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: 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: 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: 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 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: Make miniature gingerbread men from polymer clay

Learn how to sculpt a miniature gingerbread men out of polymer clay with this free video art lesson. While this tutorial is best suited for those with some familiarity of polymer clay sculpture, novice sculpters should be able to follow along given a little effort. For specifics, including step-by-step instructions, and to get started crafting your own mini polymer clay gingerbread man charms, watch this sculpture tutorial.

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: 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 a butter dish

Watch this ceramics tutorial video to learn how to make your own butter dish. If you don't use butter, you can follow the same process to make a slightly bigger dish for cheese. This project is easy enough for beginners. The tips in this helpful how-to video will have you making your own butter dish in no time.

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: Double dip or glaze ceramic

In this tutorial, Simon Leach teaches us how to double dip or glaze ceramic. This trick will save you a lot of time, just make sure you practice a lot. First, mix your glaze up in a large bucket and grab your pot that you want to glaze. Now, place your piece into the glaze and then flick the wrist to lift the piece up quickly. Don't let the glaze go over the base of the piece or it will become too messy. Now, dip the piece back in, getting some glaze on the inside and swishing the liquid arou...

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: Make faceted pottery

Watch this ceramics tutorial video to learn how to make faceted pottery using some common faceting methods such as wire cut faceting. The detailed instructions in this helpful how-to video are geared toward intermediate potters and will allow you to make pretty faceted pottery.

How To: Use a potato peeler as a fluting tool

In this video, we learn how to use a potato peeler as a fluting tool. First, take your wet pot and then grab the potato peeler. Use broad strokes along the side of the pot and press down hard and you peel the clay off of the sides. You will need to go over the same spot a few times to be able to see, but once you go around the entire pot you will see the different shapes in the marks. Once you are finished going all the way around the pot, your hands will be tired but it will be fluted with t...

How To: Trim using chuck

Watch this ceramics tutorial video to learn how to trim your pottery using chuck. This technique and the tips on how to do it are best for intermediate potters with some experience. This instructional video will have you trimming you pottery using a chuck in no time.

How To: Wedge and knead a piece of clay for pottery making

Wedging and kneading is essential before throwing clay on a pottery wheel, or shaping by hand, in order to get rid of air bubbles that may cause the pottery to explode while firing in the kiln. There are many different techniques to wedge and knead, but this video ceramic design tutorial shows how to wire cut wedge and spiral knead a piece of clay. Learn how to wedge and knead a piece of clay for pottery making by watching this instructional video.

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: Decorate ceramic pots

Raku pottery artist Simon Leach feels that while most people who work with ceramics are taught how to make them, very few are taught how to decorate them. Simon will show you how to draw inspiration from your ceramic pots that will lead you to the perfect decorations. He shows you both how to decorate a ceramic pot in order to enhance its shape, while also showing you that sometimes it is the decoration that truly makes a ceramic pot special.

How To: Dip tea bowls in glaze with Simon Leach

Watch skilled potter, Simon Leach, give his expert instructions on how to glaze a set of tea bowls. He also suggests some household supplies which can be used to embellish your ceramics when the clay is still soft, such as a bolt or a comb. This glaze is a combination of Scotland Hills red mud, feldspar and wood ash. He also uses white clay slip on some of the pots. This is a process wear one glazes the tea bowls while the clay is still semi-soft.

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