Hot Ceramics & Pottery How-Tos

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: 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: 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 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: 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: Collar a cylinder

This video shows how to collar a cylinder. The collar of a cylinder is a plate or ring used under the head of the cylinder for a lock. Put the clay on the spinner. Mold the clay while spinning the spinner. Mold it first to the shape you want. Tighten the neck of the vase that you are molding. By tightening the neck of the vase, you are now shaping the collar of the vase. Shape it to the size and design you want. Enjoy making your own vase with the color you want.

How To: Do spiral fluting

Simon Leach teaches us how to do spiral fluting in this video. Start on the side of the bowl with a sharp edge. Then, push the edge down from the top until you reach the bottom half of the bowl. Create line next to line very close to each other, not overlapping them. Continue to do this slowly until you have reached all the way around the bowl. Make sure your lines are all equal to each other, they don't have to be perfect though. After you have made lines all the way around, your bowl will b...

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: 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: 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: 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 mini pretzels for a doll & dollhouse

Garden of Imagination presents a video that teaches how to create a miniature pretzel for a dollhouse. First, she rolls polymer clay into a tiny snake-like roll. Then, she wraps the clay to form a pretzel shape. After she gets the shape she wants, she cuts the clay to make it even. Next, she retrieves chalk. She breaks up a little to dust the pretzel. She uses a dark yellow and brown to achieve a baked look. Then, she adds sea salt from her kitchen. Last, she instructs to bake the pretzel in ...

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: Decorate bisque pottery with red iron oxide

This is a video tutorial of decorating bisque with red iron oxide. Red iron oxide can be layered, fired, watered-down, and used in many ways to add a finish to a piece of bisque pottery. Bisqueware absorbs the color easily, so the two materials work well together. Pick up some new ideas for how to decorate bisque pottery with red iron oxide by watching this video ceramic design tutorial.

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: Clean off ceramic pots before firing them

In this video, we learn how to clean off ceramic pots before firing them. First, take a knife to clean off any bits that need to be removed to make the pots completely smooth. After this, dip the top of the pot into glaze and let it dry on a flat surface. For the base, hold with your two fingers on the inside, then dip in the glaze and let dry. Once these are dry, take a knife and scrape the edges where excess glaze may be at. Then, scrape all around the edges and clean the back of the side w...

How To: Throw an upside down double walled pottery vase

In this tutorial, we learn how to throw an upside down double walled pottery vase. Start off by using water every few seconds to craft your vase. Use your fingers to press down in the middle, to make the round shape and have the vase rise up into the air. Make this into a bowl shape, which will be into the air. Next, shape the middle using your hands into a triangle shape. Raise the side bowl around it, and keep using water to increase the size of the bowl. Collar the bowl in, then start to m...

How To: Make mini drinks out of polymer clay for a dollhouse

Garden of Imagination teaches viewers how to make various drinks, such as beer, milk, lemonade, and coffee, for their miniature dollhouse. First, you need to go to the crafts store and get a pack of 5 piece filigree tubes (you can pick whatever color you'd like). Take a tiny piece of clay and stick it into the filigree tube. Smooth out the clay inside with a paintbrush to make a tiny cup. First, to make a mug of coffee you need triple thick clear glaze black chalk. Mix the two together and ta...

How To: Make polymer clay business card holders

Ilysa Bierer and Kira Slye with Polymer Clay TV demonstrate how to make polymer clay business card holders. You can work cabochons into polymer clay to create business card holders. Stamp on clay and use clay with inclusions in it for a different look. First, get a plain business card case and work the clay over it. Add pigment inks, textured stamps and canes to dress up your business card holder. The clay can be baked right onto the metal and will adhere to it. Polymer clay adheres better to...

How To: Make an incense burner out of clay

Ilysa and Kira with Polymer Clay TV demonstrate how to make an incense burner out of clay. An incense burner is a great way to use up a lot of your scrap clay. You can also use molds, embellishments and pigments to create your incense burner. You can roll up your clay in a swirl to create the incense burner or use any other desired shape. You can also do pinch pot type shapes. To make an incense burner, you'll need a ball of scrap clay, a blade, and a rod. Use the rod to flatten pieces of a c...

How To: Make painted plates & tiles with ceramic paint pens

Raid the thrift stores and the hardware stores and turn something that's old and useless into invaluable works of art. Armed with markers and your own artistic skills you can change fussy old dinner plates into something worth eating on. Watch this video to learn more about how to make painted plates and tiles with ceramic paint pens. Give the gift of your genius, and spread the smiles around.

How To: Throw a double walled vase

Follow this example to throw a double walled ceramic vase. This is a decorative motif in ceramics, and a tricky process to complete. After the pice dries a little, make sure to cut some holes in the top layer of clay, to prevent an explosion in the kiln. As shown, you can also carve decorative designs in the outer pot.

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