How to Make Greek Pottery

Updated March 23, 2017

Greek pots are unique because they reveal much of what is known about ancient Greece. The pottery often includes depictions of hunting, wars, nurturing and various religious gods. The simple black designs on clay pottery have become a style in itself and can easily be recreated using terra cotta pots and black crafting paint. Not only do they look great, but each pot tells a story.

Plan the design that will be on the pots. Greek pottery often depicts daily activities as decorations on pots. For example, Greeks drinking wine, fighting, hunting, playing with children and making clothing are all relevant designs for the pot.

Purchase terra cotta-coloured pots of various sizes and shapes that are suitable for the designs chosen. If it's not possible to purchase terra cotta-coloured pots, buy pots of choice and terra cotta-coloured spray paint and start by spray painting the pots and letting them dry before continuing.

Use newspaper and masking tape to cover the body of the pot. Leave the rim exposed. Create a rim near the bottom that goes all the way around. The height of the rim is a personal choice but can be the same height as the pot’s top rim. Leave this rim exposed as well. The remainder of the pot should be covered in newspaper.

Spray paint the top rim and the bottom rim black. It is optional to spray paint the bottom and the inside of the pot. Allow the pot to dry again.

Remove the masking tape and newspaper from the top. Use a small paintbrush and terra cotta-coloured paint to touch up any lines that are not straight or any stains that may have resulted from the black spray paint.

Use the small paintbrush with the terra cotta paint and decorate the rims of the pot. Since the rims are elongated, a Greek leaf pattern or braids could be an option. For more inspiration, visit the Ancient Greek Pottery website.

Use a pencil to sketch the outline of the main design of the pottery. Use the black paint and a small paintbrush to paint on the design and to fill in any parts or figures in the design. When done, let it dry.

Use the terra cotta-coloured paint to make small details on the black figures, such as outlining clothing folds or face details. This step is optional but may add nice features to the pot, depending on the designs chosen. When done, let the pot dry.

Finish the pot with a coat of the finish glaze. This will give the pot a nice finish.

Things You'll Need

  • Terra cotta pots of various sizes and shapes
  • Terra cotta coloured matt spray paint
  • Terra cotta paint for touch-ups
  • Masking tape
  • Newspaper
  • Black spray paint
  • Black and terra cotta coloured acrylic paints
  • Fine and medium tip paintbrushes
  • 2 copies of the design you would like to paint on your pot
  • Matt finish glaze
  • Pencil
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About the Author

Based in Toronto, Mary Jane has been writing for online magazines and databases since 2002. Her articles have appeared on the Simon & Schuster website and she received an editor's choice award in 2009. She holds a Master of Arts in psychology of language use from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.