Hot Ceramics & Pottery How-Tos

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: 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 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: 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: 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: Make a polymer clay spider

This cool tutorial is perfect for teachers or parents interested in keeping their little ones entertained. You'll be finding out how to make a polymer clay spider with ease. These spiders are cute and sure won't scare anybody since they're fake and too big to be real spiders. Enjoy!

How To: Throw a chip and dip pottery plate

Ingelton Pottery demonstrates how to throw a chip and dip pottery plate. First, well a ball of clay and put it on a pottery wheel. Use your hands and ample amounts of water to depress the sides of the clay forming an indented rim with a raised center. Use your thumb to define the center hub. Create a thin side to the plate. Wet your hands and press down on the center hub, creating a depression. The plate should now have a two bowls with one sitting inside of the other one. Use a blade to scra...

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: 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: Make pottery bowls

In this video series, our expert will demonstrate how to make pottery bowl forms. Throwing bowls on a pottery wheel is a wonderful and creative art form that produces useful household items. Let our expert show you how to wedge the clay for large and small pottery bowls, how to form the bowl, and how to trim a foot. This video art lesson is great for beginner potters who want to learn how to make beautiful pottery bowls on a potter's wheel.

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 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: Put a handle on a ceramic mug

When you're putting a handle on a mug, you need to think about the state of the clay of both the mug and the handle. The ceramic clay needs to be a bit harder and drier than right after coming off the pottery wheel or being sculpted, but not so dry that the clay won't stick. Check out this video pottery-making tutorial and learn how to attach a handle onto a ceramic mug.

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.

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 a terracotta long tom flower pot

You start out with putting a rater big lump of clay on the potter's wheel (the turn table if you want) and make sure you got water close by. By using your hands and your fingers you then start to shape the clay lump into the size you want it. Keeping both the clay and the hands wet all the time. Once the pot starts to get the size you want it to be, you start to give it a more detailed shape. In this case it is a bit wider in the top than in the bottom. Once your satisfied with the shape, you...

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: 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: 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: 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: Throw a beer tankard

Watch this ceramics tutorial video to learn how to throw a beer tankard using clay and your pottery wheel. This helpful how-to video contains detailed instructions that are good for beginner to intermediate potters who have used a wheel before but have never thrown a beer tankard.

How To: Do glaze trailing and pouring for pottery

Simon Leach teaches us how to glaze trailing and pouring for pottery. First, you will dip the entire pot into the glaze after you have poured it into the middle. Wind up your wrist as you are pouring it out so you cover all of the sides in it. Just dip it down a little bit so it goes over the edge of the tip to cover the mouth of it. To use a balloon wand, fill it with the glaze and then use this to glaze the pots. Simply drop the liquid onto the pot in straight lines as you are turning it wi...

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