How to Make a Tea Cup & Saucer


A little bit of clay and a ceramic wheel are the gateway to a custom teatime. Creating a teacup and saucer does require knowledge of clay and ability to throw on the wheel. Once this knowledge is achieved, follow these steps to create your own teacup and saucer.

Step 1

Knead the clay before you begin to throw. Air bubbles in clay can cause your piece to explode in the kiln. Divide the clay into small pieces and knead more, then form them into balls of clay. For a teacup and saucer, create 1-pound to 1.5-pound balls of clay for the teacup and half-pound to 1-pound balls of clay for the saucer.

Step 2

Place a kneaded ball of clay onto the wheel and center the clay. Once the clay is centered, begin creating the teacup form. First create an opening in the center of the clay, then slowly begin to pull of the walls of the teacup. Once you are happy with the form, cut the teacup off the wheel using a wire tool.

Step 3

Let the teacup dry until it is green. A green piece will be leather hard, but not dry--the time will vary with the climate. It can take a few hours or a few days. Place the green teacup on the wheel, upside down. Center the piece and secure, using small pieces of wet clay to hold it onto the wheel. Using a trimming tool, trim the bottom of the teacup, forming a foot and finalizing the shape of the teacup. Try to keep the width of the walls even throughout the cup. Once this is completed, take a carrot shape of clay with some water and pull to create a handle in the width and length appropriate for the teacup. Set the wet handle on a table, allowing an arch to form. Let it set up, then cut off the excess clay and attach to the teacup by scoring both surfaces and adding slip as glue.

Step 4

Create the saucer. The saucer should be proportional to the teacup. Measure the bottom of the teacup using calibers. This should be the size of the indentation on saucer. Center the clay for the saucer on the wheel and continue to throw a small plate that is proportional to the teacup. Once this is complete, use your calibers to make a mark on the saucer that is the size of the teacup foot. Create an indentation using this mark as a perimeter.

Step 5

Trim the saucer once it has become green. Use the same method for trimming that you used for the teacup.

Step 6

Once both pieces are finished, let dry them dry completely, and bisque fire. Glaze the bisque ware with glaze suitable for the clay body. Be sure to wipe the glaze off the feet of both pieces and fire in a glaze fire.

Tips and Warnings

  • Check the firing temperature of your clay and glaze. Make sure they are formulated for each other and you do not over or under fire the clay. Make sure you securely fasten your greenware to the wheel before beginning to trim.

Things You'll Need

  • Ceramic wheel for throwing
  • Clay
  • Glazes
  • Trimming tools
  • Throwing tools
  • Ceramic kiln
  • Calibers
Keywords: making a teacup and saucer, tea cup saucer, throwing clay, tea time

About this Author

Virgil Dudley is an artist, designer, and urban theorist who has written, researched and designed projects in the fields of art, architecture, fashion, and design since 2001. She has written for websites such as eHow. She holds a B.F.A. in ceramics and art history and a M.Sc. in architectural history and theory and is co-owner of an environmentally responsible clothing line.

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