How To Make Ceramic Clay Pots

One of the earliest cooking vessels used by man is the clay pot. Not only were these used for cooking, clay pots also functioned as water vessels and used as storage for food like grains, nuts and even other items. On top of this, clay pots were used to decorate homes in the past. The clay pot’s function in households has not changed. It is still used today for cooking, storing things and decorating homes as well as offices and other buildings.

There are different ways to make clay pots. If you are a beginner, the easiest method is the coil method. The materials and tools you need are:

Basic stoneware clay
Spray bottle with water
Workspace or table
Wooden knife
Wooden roller (thin and cylindrical)
Small plastic bowl
Glaze, bucket and paint brushes

  • Step 1 Get a ball of clay. Using your hands, shape it into a slab. Flatten and roll out the slab using the wooden roller. The bottom slab must be a minimum of ¼” thick. This prevents the slab from folding as you lift it. With the wooden knife, cut a rounded shape from the bottom slab. This will be the bottom of your pot. The diameter will depend on the size of the base of your clay pot.
  • Step 2 Make coils of clay. You need to make the coils like long worms. The thickness of each coil must be uniform except for the first coil, which should be thicker. Start forming the pot by coiling a strand on top of the bottom of the pot you made in step 1. This should be the thicker coil because it will support the whole pot. Continue adding more coils by going around in a circular manner. Imagine how the final shape of your clay pot. This will be the basis for the way you coil the strands of clay. As the pot gets taller, the coils usually become wider. Smooth the inside portion of the coils with your thumb and forefinger so they do not break apart. If the clay is too dry, moisten it with water. Use your hands or a wet sponge in smoothing the inside and outside of the pot. Trim off any excess clay.
  • Step 3 Fire the clay pot. Let your clay pot dry thoroughly first to make sure no pockets of wet clay are in the coils. Heat the kiln to 1,800 degrees. When the clay pot is dry, place it inside the kiln for up to 20 hours. This is only the first firing.
  • Step 4 Glaze your pot. You can paint the glaze onto the pot or dip the whole pot in a bucket of your chosen glaze color. Let the glaze dry for a whole day.
  • Step 5 Fire the clay pot after glazing. Put the clay pot into the kiln. Glazed pots are placed on top of planks to protect the kiln from glaze that runs off during the firing process. Depending on the glaze you use, the temperature required for each glaze may be different.

The easiest way to make a ceramic clay pot is by using the coil method. Once you have mastered this method, you can move on to other ways of making clay pots like slab, pinch, and thrown methods. Have patience and keep on practicing until you are able to produce get looking and useful ceramic clay pots for your personal use and as gifts to family and friends.


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