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Making Clay Tools

Ceramic artists are some of the most creative people out there when it comes to their tools of the trade. Nothing is off limits as a potential clay tool and no clay tool has just one use. To prove it, we’ve gathered some of the most clever tips and techniques out there for making your own clay tools. And don't forget to download your free copy of the Clay Workshop Handbook: Knowledge and Techniques for the Pottery Studio. This handy studio reference includes valuable technical references and great clay tools to help you with forming, surface decoration and firing. Plus, it has a comprehensive directory of manufacturers and suppliers that provide ceramic equipment, raw materials, clay tools and ceramic supplies.


A Homemade Clay Tool Makes Building a Graceful Slab Bowl Easier

Posted On October 30, 2015 3 Comments
Randy Johnston Shares a Great Pottery Project and Some Homemade Clay Tools When slab building, sometimes it can be challenging to get a particular shape because if you let the clay stiffen long enough to lose its floppiness, you might end up with cracks in joints. When Randy Johnston had an idea for a form… Read More »

Brace Yourself: How to Save your Back While Throwing on the Pottery Wheel

Posted On October 14, 2015 2 Comments
A Potter Shares how to Make a Pottery Wheel Throwing Brace We recently have had adjustable stand up desks made available here at CAD HQ, and it has been great! I don’t get the back and neck pains I used to get when sitting at the computer all day. I am now convinced that if… Read More »

How to Make Homemade Pottery Brushes to Make Marks that Are Truly Your Own

Posted On July 29, 2015 11 Comments

In today’s post, an excerpt from Ceramic Decorating Tool Techniques: How To Use Clay Pencils, Slip Trailers, Glaze Pens, and Carving Tools to Decorate Ceramics, David Gamble explains how he makes his own custom brushes. From selecting the right kind of bristle, to adding a hanging loop so the brushes can be stored properly, David walks us through this easier-than-you-think process.


Making the Perfect Pottery Tools with the Tools at Hand

Posted On May 25, 2015 12 Comments

Clay tools are a potter’s best friend – especially homemade tools designed to be perfect for specific tasks. Just by doing some creative searching, it’s amazing how many useful tools can be gleaned from around the home. As Deb Oliva explains in today’s post, you can use everything from beads to discarded plastic-wrap boxes to create what you need exactly when you need it. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.


How to Make Custom Clay Texture Rollers

Posted On March 11, 2015 1 Comment

Who doesn’t love a homemade texture tool? It’s such a great way to put your personal stamp on your work.

Sarah Pike loves texture and creates her own texture rollers so that she can efficiently texture her slabs before constructing her pots. In today’s post, an excerpt from the March/April 2015 issue of Pottery Making Illustrated, Sarah shares how she makes these tools. They’re super quick and easy and the marks they make are fantastic! – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

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How to Make a Texture Board for Slab-Built Pottery

Posted On March 2, 2015 4 Comments

Texture can be addictive in pottery, and there are an infinite variety of tools that can be used to create texture. Of course, the best texture tools are homemade because you can really make your own mark. In today’s post, Larry Elardo demonstrates how he makes textured boards and uses them to make slab built pottery. I must experiment with this!


How to Make Simple Handmade Aprons for the Ceramics Studio

Posted On October 29, 2014 4 Comments

We don’t really have a “pottery fashion” section on CAD, but perhaps we should considering all of the great studio aprons I have seen potters wearing over the years. I have been wanting to make one of my own for a while (especially since there is a fabulous fabric store near my house), but I am not the most experienced seamstress, so I haven’t made it happen.


But in the November 2014 issue of Ceramics Monthly, Lindsay Scypta and Jeni Hansen Gard give a little apron making tutorial that has made me realize that even I have the skills to make myself a custom apron. In today’s post, Lindsay and Jeni share their approach to simple studio apron making.



PS. For some great tips on how to further accessorize your apron to make it even more useful in the studio, see the November 2014 issue of Ceramics Monthly!



A Smart Hanging System That Helps Functional Pottery Double as Ceramic Wall Art

Posted On September 22, 2014 27 Comments

In today’s post, Annie Chrietzberg explains a clever hanging system that potter Christine Boyd developed for her functional work so it could be hung on the wall when not in use. She also describes the home-made tools Christine invented to make the system easy and quick to construct.


A Brilliant Homemade Tool That Helps Steady the Hands When Throwing Large Pots

Posted On June 30, 2014 3 Comments

Throwing really large pots, and trimming them, is hard work. This is especially true when your pot gets to be several feet tall and you need to keep your arms and hands steady as you stand to finish your pulls. In today’s post, an excerpt from the June/July/August issue of Ceramics Monthly, Jim Wylder shares the tool he invented to lend a helping hand. PS. To see an adaptation to this tool, which can help with even glaze or slip application, check out the June/July/August 2014 issue of CM!- Jennifer Harnetty, editor.


Printmaking and Pottery: Using Linocuts to Make Clay Prints

Posted On May 12, 2014 19 Comments

In today’s post, Annie Chrietzberg explains how potter Cynthia Guajardo mixes linocut printing with clay. It’s a fantastic method for creating repeatable customized texture on pottery.