How to Make Pottery Clay Instruments

How to Make Pottery Clay Instruments image by studiosmith, Dan Lockton, haydnseek,karpov the wrecked train, G & A Sattler, Jeff Kubina


Pottery clay instruments can add a lot to your ability to easily decorate or enhance your clay creations. Carving, attaching or stamping a plain dish, cup or bowl can make a good pot spectacular. Although there are plenty of pottery instruments out there to buy, you can make your own carving, texturizing and stamping tools with just a little know-how and an eye for the used-up things in your home.

Step 1

Gather the old toothbrushes. Old toothbrushes can add a soft texture to smooth surfaces. Just drag the brush over a smooth wet surface to create a brushed look that you can swirl or overlap.

Step 2

Make your own stamps in clay. Make a 2 by 2-inch square slab about 1/2 thick and attach a clay handle to it by making a thick coil and scratch and slipping it in place. On the bottom of the square, carve a design or attach a design to use as a stamp. Fire and use.

Step 3

Go through the kitchen drawers. Whisks, meat tenderizers, toothpicks and straws all make interesting textures in clay and can make your slabs and adornments more interesting.

Step 4

Cut the chamois in the garage. Chamois are used in clay work to smooth a surface whether it's a pot on the wheel or a slab creation. You don't need to buy specialty chamois from the pottery supply store, just cut a piece off the one you use to dry your car.

Step 5

Use old cookie cutters. Cookie cutters can be picked up at garage sales and thrift shops for pennies on the dollar and can help speed up the creation of Christmas ornaments and decorations for your vases or plates.

Step 6

Check out your old cheap jewelry. Use cheap jewelry to imprint your clay slabs, plates and bowls. Wash off brooches and rings between imprints to make clear designs.

Step 7

Carve up an old rolling pin. By using a routing tool or wood carving tools you can distress the surface of a wooden rolling pin. Using this pin to roll out slabs will give your clay work a more textured and rustic look each time you use it.

Step 8

Make some paddles. Paddles are used to texture slabs and thick creations and you can make your own paddles easily. Wrap a rope around an old ruler, twist some wire around a wooden spoon or spatula or hot glue some beads onto a small kitchen mallet.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't forget to wedge-it. When making your own stamps be sure to wedge your clay thoroughly so that your handle and stamp don't blow up in the kiln.

Things You'll Need

  • Old toothbrushes
  • Wooden spoons
  • Wooden rulers
  • Wire
  • Rope
  • Old jewelry
  • Cookie cutters
  • Rolling pin

Who Can Help

  • Blick art materials
  • A Practical Guide to Art Therapy Groups
  • Art Activities for Groups: Providing Therapy, Fun and Function
Keywords: how, to, make, your, own, pottery, tools, making, pottery, textures, making, texturizing, tools, for, pottery, ceramic, tools

About this Author

Diane Steinbach has been writing for a variety of professional, educational and entertainment publications for over 15 years. Her work consists of three books on art therapy including : "Art as Therapy: Innovations, Inspiration and Ideas" (Steinbach, 2005.) She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in art therapy and behavioral science from Mount Mary College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Photo by: studiosmith, Dan Lockton, haydnseek,karpov the wrecked train, G & A Sattler, Jeff Kubina

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