How to make clay pots

Written by hannah rice myers
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How to make clay pots
Make a useful clay pot and then customise it with paints and glazes. (Getty Images/Thinkstock)

Clay can be used to make plates, cups and cooking pots, as well as decorative flower pots. Making clay pots is also a terrific family project that your kids will enjoy. It gives them something they can take pride in creating. The materials are easy to find and the process is straightforward, making it a great option for all those who enjoy creating unique objects that reflect their own style and personality.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Air-dried or oven-fired clay
  • Hard surface
  • Glass surface
  • Towel

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  1. 1

    Buy the clay from arts and craft shops. It will be sold as clay that will either need to be air-dried or home-oven fired.

  2. 2

    Knead the clay. Kneading your clay not only warms it, making it easier to work with, but also removes any air bubbles that may cause it to collapse when you are forming your pot. As you are kneading it, try keeping it in a ball. This will prevent air pockets from forming. You can also toss it back and forth between your hands or throw it down on a hard surface. Continue this process until the clay is soft enough to work with.

  3. 3

    Roll out the clay. Once the clay is soft and warm, begin rolling it into a long snake shape. This should be about 30 to 60 cm (12 to 24 inches) long, with the diameter being even in its thickness. The diameter will determine how thick the walls of the pot will be. A good goal for the diameter is between 3 to 6.5 mm (1/4 to 1/2 inch) thick. This step is best performed on a glass surface for easier cleaning.

  4. 4

    Make your base. Taking one end of the snake you just rolled out, begin making a circle. It will resemble a rope coil. Since the size of the circle will be the base of your pot, you need to decide how you will use pot. This will help you create the base accordingly. If your pot collapses during this process, simply knead the clay again to remove the air bubbles and begin again.

  5. 5

    Smooth your pot. As you continue coiling your clay upwards, building your sides, smooth your pot with your forefinger and thumb as you go. This will help prevent your pot from cracking and falling apart. Also keep in mind that you do not want your sides larger than your base. Otherwise the base will be unable to support the pot.

  6. 6

    Dry your clay pot. Once you have formed your pot, you need to allow it to dry. If you have bought air-dried clay, you should dampen a hand towel and place it over the clay. This prevents the clay from drying too quickly and cracking. If you have opted for the home-oven dry clay, bake the pot at 120 degrees C (250F) for 30 minutes, depending on the pot you have made. The package should also have baking times and temperature information.

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