Step-By-Step Pottery Techniques For Beginners

Pottery can be an exhilarating and rewarding creative skill, from pots and sculptures to even creating human faces – it all can be accomplished with the proper knowledge and tools.

This guide is intended to assist beginners with beginning pottery techniques. From hand-building and wheel throwing, there will be plenty of inspiration here for your next project when you have some time extra from your usual online slot games on!

Pinch Pots

Pinch pots are an ideal first project for beginners as they’re easy, quick, and teach students how to manipulate small pieces of clay. In addition, pinch pots provide students with an excellent opportunity to practice basic pottery techniques such as wedging – making clay malleable by evenly disbursing moisture while simultaneously eliminating air bubbles from within it.

Begin by rolling a small piece of clay into a ball. Next, push your thumb into the center of it, pinching with four fingers around it to form a pot shape – leaving at least 3/8 of an inch (1 centimeter). Your pinch pot should have at least this thickness at its base as its support structure.

While the primary aim of pinch pots is to form circular bowl-like structures, kids love making unique pinch pot shapes such as animals, flowers and plants, jewelry trays, mugs and more.

Once they are satisfied with the overall shape of their pinch pot, children can begin adding details and textures. For instance, they could create a handle from clay coils by pressing them against its rim; or score their clay surfaces together using slip and score joining techniques – either way creating something unique and personalized!

Burnishing is another fun clay technique to try, which involves giving it a glossy sheen upon drying. Burnishing gives handmade pinch pots that professional look – children can use their hands, or other common household tools such as credit cards, dish scrapers and wooden popsicle sticks or forks are great tools to use when burnishing clay objects!

Once their pottery piece has dried completely, children can add finishing touches such as paints or stickers for decoration. It’s essential that children allow the clay to harden properly so it won’t warp or crack during its drying process; once complete, their masterpiece can be displayed proudly around the home or gifted as gifts for loved ones who appreciate handcrafted arts.

Slab Building

Slab building is an innovative handbuilding technique using flat slabs of clay to form more uniform and sturdy pots. Although more difficult than pinch and coil pottery production methods, slab building allows for greater creativity – for instance adding handles to bowls or embellishing cup bases using slabs – and it may be combined with coiling or pinching techniques to alter or enhance pieces created on the wheel.

Making a slab begins by compressing a lump of clay into a ball and rolling or pressing it flat onto a work surface using either a rolling pin or slab roller to ensure an even thickness across its entire thickness. After flattening it on this work surface, any shape desired for your project can then be cut away as required from this slab.

After cutting the slab, it is essential to score its edges to ensure strong joints that can withstand drying and firing without cracking and breaking under stress.

Once a slab has been scored, it can be assembled using slip, which is a mixture of clay and water. To create effective adhesion between its pieces, moisture levels in the clay must be suitable to hold everything together without becoming so wet that it becomes soft or soggy; too dry of clay would not adhere well and may crack during drying and firing processes.

When creating the walls of a pot using a slab, it should be aligned against its base and pressed down to ensure proper adhesion. After pressing it into place, a coil of clay should be added on top of it in order to help provide some shape to both base and sides, with subsequent turns smoothed out so it fits tightly against walls of pot.

Slabs can also be used to craft other types of pottery, like spoon rests and planters. This project is ideal for beginners since no wheel is needed – try out this hands-on experience or taster workshop on Classpop to learn more!


Coiling can be a fantastic way of creating taller pot walls for larger pieces, as it gives more control and flexibility in shaping shape, direction, thickness and thickness of wall thickness. Be mindful that coiling may take more time than slab building so make sure that you allow yourself enough time.

To begin coiling, pinch a lump of clay between your thumb and forefinger into a sausage-like shape and begin wrapping it around the base of your former. Press its outside against its interior as you pull gently on its base, pressing against and bonding them together as you go. Once fully adhered together, continue adding coils over one another on top of one another until there are no gaps or holes remaining in its coiled surface of pots and bowls.

Once your pot is completed and some coils have been added, it’s advisable to let it rest and stiffen up for at least 24 hours before adding more coils. This gives the clay time to recover while also protecting its form from becoming deformed during coiling process. You could also take this opportunity to refine its exterior by smoothing and blending surfaces using either plastic kidney or metal wire clay tools.

As soon as your pot has reached leather-hard stage, now is an excellent time to review its shape and make any necessary corrections, particularly on its interior if desired. Although this process can still be accomplished while clay remains soft, it becomes significantly easier.

Once your pot has set up, it’s time to add the finishing touches: the rim. To do this, cut a piece of coil from one of the sides that you have been working on and roll tightly inside itself into a round strip shape. Once this rounded strip is large enough, carefully push and weld it onto the rim of the pot before blending and smoothing for secure attachment and to make sure it matches up with its surroundings.


pinch pots and coiling are great hand building pottery techniques for beginners, but eventually even experienced potters may want to progress beyond these basic forms and try wheel throwing pottery. Wheel throwing pottery on a clay wheel is one of the more difficult ceramics techniques and takes some practice before becoming masterful; once achieved however, you can create stunning functional yet beautiful pottery pieces!

Before beginning to throw, be sure to mix your clay to an ideal pasty or runny texture. Achieving this consistency is vital for crafting sturdy pottery pieces without cracks and breaks; additionally, having this consistency allows easy removal from your wheel once your piece has set and been completed.

Center your clay by pressing in with the fat part of your left thumb, pressing down and up in a circular motion until it is evenly centered – this process is known as “coning up” or “coning down.”

Now is the time to begin spinning clay on the wheel! Arrange your wet clay in the center of the wheel. Rest your right palm firmly atop it with both thumbs hooking together. Some potters hook their thumbs together while others rest their back side on top of the clay for support.

Push down with your thumb and fingers until a gap appears between your index, middle, and ring fingers, known as the foot. Gently lift and move away from yourself using the middle and ring fingers on your right hand to pull clay upward. Repeat this motion until your pottery piece reaches the desired height.

Add handles, lips and decorative elements to your pottery piece before finishing it by applying glaze. Pottery is generally fired twice in the kiln – once known as bisque firing and once as glaze firing – with various methods available for applying glaze such as dipping, spraying and pouring available to choose from if you want a unique look in your piece of pottery.

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