How To Make Pottery Mugs

Making pottery mugs is easy and fun!  If you are wanting to make pottery mugs for the first time, you won't have the basic equipment needed. You need to locate a studio that will allow you to have privileges that include the use of a pottery wheel, use of its glazes, and kiln firing.  The studio will be able to sell you the clay you need and the appropriate pottery tools for making pottery mugs.

First, get a bucket of water and place it by your wheel.  Then, start with about one and one-half pounds of clay. You will need to "wedge" it first.  Wedging is a process of kneading the clay to ensure that all the air pockets are removed.  Once the clay is wedged, form it into a ball shape.  Place it firmly on the bat, which is a plastic platform placed over the wheel head, as close to the center as you can. Get your hands wet in the bucket and pat the clay so that it is firmly attached to the bat.  The clay needs to be firmly attached so that once the wheel starts turning it doesn't fly off.

The pottery wheel is on and spinning and you are ready to make a mug!  The clay needs to be centered on the bat. The centrifugal force of the spinning wheel will help you get the clay ball centered.  Once it's centered with the wheel still spinning, put one finger in the center and press down to make a hole.  You don't want to press all the way to the bottom; stop before touching the bat so that you will have a clay bottom for your pottery mug.  Once the clay is opened, you now need to pull the opening out toward you. The centrifugal force of the spinning wheel will keep it centered as you pull the opening outward.

Keeping the clay moist, put one hand outside the mug and one inside.  Pull the sides up, slowly, as the wheel continues to turn. After one pull, check the thickness of the mug. Continue to pull, slowly each time, until you are satisfied with the height and volume of the mug. Take the bat off the wheel head and set it aside to air dry for a while.  Take some clay and roll it between your hands to form a handle. Attach the handle to the pottery mug at the top and the bottom, smoothing the clay out where it’s attached so that no cracks will form when it’s fired.


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