Pottery Making Ideas For Beginners
Clay is amazing! It can be shaped into pretty much anything, from mugs and vases to jewelry and beautiful pieces of art. In this article we will give you many pottery making ideas you can make at home or in your own studio. It doesn’t matter if you are an experienced artist or a beginner, we promise you you’ll find something you’ll like.
Pottery Mug Ideas
There are four main ways you can get creative when making mugs with clay: by decorating them your own way, by changing their external shape, by shaping their handles into anything you want… or a combination of all three!
For example, you can shape the mug as a fruit, vegetable or even like a face. As long as you make it big enough to fit at least 250ml of liquid, you can give them any shape you want.
Here are some ideas:
You can also get creative with just the handle of the mug:
When it comes to decorating mugs or any piece of pottery, there are many options.
The most popular one that works well on most pieces is the classic glaze. Glaze is a liquid, very much lick paint that gives ceramics a smooth, glass-like surface. It comes in any color and it’s used to decorate and waterproof pieces.
With glaze, you can achieve looks like this striped mug, this sand/sea like shape or or a fading blue/white look.
Pottery Ideas: Different Handbuilding Techniques
Look at these bowls made using a handbuilding technique called Coiling. In order to achieve this look, you must roll the clay into a long cylinder and stack them on top of each other while shaping your piece.
Slab construction is another handbuilding pottery making technique you can use to make pottery without a wheel. Slab construction consists of rolling the clay into either thick or thin sheets that can be then cut and manipulated into different shapes. This technique is commonly used for creating cube-shaped pieces, boxes or square containers.
If you want to achieve more even looks and speed up the process of making your pottery, we advise you to get a pottery wheel. A pottery wheel will allow you to make not only great looking mugs and bowls but also plates, vases, jars, teapots, containers and any kind of round items. Here are some pottery ideas you can make with the help of a pottery wheel:
- Candle holders
- Egg cups
- Matchstick holders
- Cake stands
- Butter dishes
- Mortar and Pestles
- Sponge holders
Some of those round shapes can also be achieved by mastering another old handbuilding pottery technique called pinching, in which the clay walls are thinned by pinching them with thumb and forefinger. Besides helping you make round items, the pinching method gives you the freedom to create any shape you want or give your pieces different textures.
Here are some pottery making ideas made using the pinching technique:
Pottery Making Ideas Using Hand Carving
Carving pottery is not easy and it requires extra tools. However, it’s a technique you can use to give your pieces different textures and beautiful patterns. The carving process needs to be done once the clay has been shaped but before it’s put in the kiln. It works with any kind of clay. As long as you don’t go too deep, you can create any pattern you want. It’s pretty much like drawing. Here are some pottery ideas and designs using hand carving techniques:
- Brown pot with a hand carved pattern
- Set of hand carved mugs with different patterns
- White hand carved pot
Pottery Ideas For Beginners: Pottery Stamps and Rollers
Even if you create a simple item like a mug, bowl, box or a plate, you can totally personalize it and change the way it looks with the help of pottery stamps and rollers. They are commonly made out of wood, fired clay or nonstick rubber and are super simple to use, which makes it perfect for beginners. This is how they look:
Have you heard of this old Japanese type of art called Kintsugi? Well, it was originally used to repair broken pottery using gold or silver. But don’t worry, you don’t have to wait for any of your pieces to break in order to make your own. This beautiful technique is achieved by melting powdered gold or silver and using it as a kind of glue to place the pieces of a broken item back together.
This technique was originally created to highlight and embrace imperfections. So, the pieces will not only look beautiful but they will also have a beautiful story behind it.
Here are some examples of how Kintsugi looks like:
Incorporate Glass Into Your Pottery
Mixing glass and clay is not easy, but it sure gives beautiful results. We say it’s not easy because it requires you to have some basic knowledge about pottery firing, glass fusing and how to use a kiln properly, but if you have some experience, then you’ll most likely get it right the first time.
You need to work on your pottery piece first and fire it once. Then, once the clay is dry, you can add the glass and put it back into the kiln. The exact time and temperatures needed to fire both the clay and the glass will depend on the specific materials you use, but the order in which you fire them will always remain the same.
Keep in mind that these items won’t be food-safe and should only be used for decorative purposes.
Here are some pottery ideas and projects made using clay and glass:
You can also wear pottery! By combining some of the techniques we mentioned above, you can create beautiful pieces that match your favorite outfits. Ceramic pendants are very easy to make and you can get as creative as you want by making them in any size, color or shape. You can give them a more sophisticated look by combining them with gold or silver chains and hooks, or, you can simply attach them to a leather rope to achieve a more rustic look… and, you can make ceramic rings too!
Here are some ideas:
We Have The Tools You Need To Unleash Your Creativity
If you want to make pottery like a pro, we advise you to get a kiln.
A kiln is an oven specially made to dry clay and melt glass. They come in a variety of sizes you can choose from depending on pieces you are planning to make.
If you want to learn further, here’s a guide on the best ceramic and glass kilns for beginners and another one about ceramic kilns for home use if you are just thinking about making pottery at home.
If you need help with choosing a ceramic or glass fusing kiln, please contact us and we’ll be more than happy to give you a hand. We’re experts on the matter!
- Alex Santiago