How to Make Ceramic Coffee Cup Handle


Ceramic cups designed to hold hot beverages, such as coffee, need handles to keep coffee drinkers from burning their fingers. Making and selling ceramic coffee cups can be an excellent fund raiser if you can make a few dozen at a time.

Making the Handle

Step 1

Pat ball of clay into an elongated, rounded cone shape. Hold the large end of the cone in your left hand, and dip the small end and your right hand in water.

Step 2

Smooth out and elongate the small end with your wet and slippery right hand until the round cone shape becomes a ball with a strip hanging down 4 to 6 inches. The strip should taper a little so that one end is a little fatter than the other.

Step 3

Drape the wet strip over the fingers of your right hand to give it a curve, and pinch the strip off the ball. Keep your right hand wet and slippery or you will accidentally pinch off the strip before you mean to or make it uneven and lumpy.

Step 4

Set the strip onto the drying board, bending the curve up into an arch resting on two points. The arch should look something like half a heart shape. The fat part of the handle should be the highest part of the arch.

Step 5

Pat the rest of the ball of clay into another round cone shape, and smooth out another handle. Repeat until you use up all the clay and have several handles on your board.

Step 6

Slip the board with the wet handles on top of it inside the plastic grocery bag. Leave the handles to dry to the leather hard stage. Drying times will vary considerably depending on the initial wetness of the clay and the humidity in your studio, but leaving them loosely covered overnight is usually safe. If your studio is especially dry, you should check on your handles every few hours.

Step 7

Choose the best handle for your cup. When the cup and the handle are both leather hard, use a sharpened pencil to score the parts of the handle and the parts of the cup that will touch each other. Rub a dab of very wet clay (from the bottom of your water dish) into the score marks with your fingers, and smooth the handle onto the cup using a damp sponge.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never drink out of unfired ceramic containers because they cannot be made sanitary. Never hold an unfired ceramic container by its handles alone, or the handles may break off. Never wet bone-dry greenware because it will instantly dissolve into the water.

Things You'll Need

  • 3lb. ball of soft, unfired, wedged clay
  • Dish of water
  • Drying board
  • Sharpened pencil
  • Small sponge
  • Plastic grocery bag
Keywords: ceramics, cups, handles, arts, crafts

About this Author

Rachel Moore holds a Master of Arts in English/creative writing from Kansas State University, and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Truman State University. "Truman's Windfall" published six of her poems, and she was the 2007/2008 Poetry Editor for K-State's "Touchstone." Moore reviews poetry for "Sotto Voce Magazine."

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