According to the American Ceramic Society, cups, jugs and pots are some of the earliest forms of functional pottery, dating back to 10,000 B.C. Designed to hold liquid, clay cups must be level, easy to hold and above all, water tight. Commercial modelling clay is acceptable for making clay cups, is relatively easy to manipulate and is available in most arts and crafts stores. For amateur potters without a professional kiln, look for clays that can be fired in a regular household oven. Making a clay cup is an entertaining craft project, suitable for all ages.
Unwrap the modelling clay and knead it until it becomes soft and workable. This may require some elbow grease. For tougher clays, add a few drops of water to thin the clay. The clay should be moist and shouldn't crack when bent or manipulated.
Make a tube about 6 inches long and roll it flat with a rolling pin. For stability, the clay should be around 3/8 inch to 1/2 inch thick. Make sure the clay is rolled evenly.
Sprinkle some water on the sheet of rolled clay. Using a full soda can as a form, wrap the clay around the can to form a tube. Cut off the excess clay with a knife, leaving about 1/4-inch overlap. Set the excess rolled clay aside. Seal the clay seam by gently rolling the can back and forth until the seam is flat and even.
Place the bottom of the clay-wrapped can on the excess rolled clay from before and cut out a circle to make the bottom of the clay cup. Press the can into the circle and pinch the edges of the clay tube to the clay circle. Once attached, roll the clay-wrapped can back and forth to flatten the bottom edges. The clay cup is now formed.
Lay down some waxed paper on a baking tray and stand the cup in the centre. Carefully slide out the soda can. Let the clay cup air-dry for at least 24 hours.
Paint your cup with glaze. Be creative. Use multiple colours or paint fun designs. Be sure to coat the entire surface of the cup, inside and out, with glaze to protect it from wear and tear. You do not need to coat the bottom outside of the cup with glaze.
Fire the cup according to clay manufacturer instructions and let it cool. Your clay cup is now ready for use.
Certain low-fire clays may not be microwave, oven or dishwasher safe.