There are numerous different recipes for making clay at home. Many simple clay recipes have been created using ingredients that can be found in your own kitchen. These clay recipes are fine for basic activities and homemade decorations, but to make a long-lasting clay body that can be fired into pottery, you must use a legitimate pottery clay recipe with ingredients that can be purchased at your local hardware or home improvement store.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Clay body recipe
- Container for weighing materials
- Scoop for materials
- Large bucket with a lid or a barrel with a locking lid
- Electric drill with mixing attachment or a long wooden instrument for mixing
Find an appropriate clay body recipe for the type of clay you want to make and gather the ingredients. Clay body recipes can be found at several retailers and are generally broken down by clay type, colour, surface quality and firing type, such as low-fire, mid-range or high-fire clay recipes (see link in Resources).
Scoop each material into a measuring container on a scale until you have the required amount of material. Carefully dump the weighed material into a bucket if you are making a small amount of clay or a barrel if you are making a large amount of clay.
Mix all the dry materials together thoroughly. Put the lid on the bucket tightly and gently shake it. If you are mixing larger portions, the bucket or barrel can be rolled on the floor. Do this for several minutes to ensure the materials are well mixed.
Add water slowly to the mixed ingredients until they are completely saturated. Let the mixture sit in the water for several hours to a day to let the water sink completely into the materials.
Mix the water into the clay. This can be done by hand, using a long wooden mixing instrument or with an electric drill with a mixing attachment. The clay mixture will have excess water in it.
Spread the mixture out onto a flat surface. A porous surface that allows moisture to leak through, such as plaster, will work best. Let the clay sit until the excess water has evaporated, leaving it the typical consistency of pottery clay.
Knead the clay to get all remaining lumps out. Separate the clay into manageable pieces. Knead each piece on a non-stick surface, such as canvas.
Tips and warnings
- Using a clay recipe created specifically for your firing type will greatly improve your results.
- The dust created by clay-making materials can be hazardous to your health over time. Be careful when mixing powdered material and wear protective wear, such as a surgical mask while mixing.
- When scooping the clay, dump the contents slowly to prevent dust clouds.
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