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Why Didn’t I Think of That? Pottery Tips, Tools, and Techniques from Ceramic Arts Daily Readers

We get a lot of great studio tips sent to us from readers, and every month Ceramics Monthly publishes some of them in their Tips and Tools section.


Readers seem to like them, so we also have been sharing them on the Daily. Here’s our latest installment from potter Janie Varley. Enjoy! – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.


P.S. If you have a great tip to share, email it, along with photos, to editorial@ceramicsmonthly.org. If we use your idea in the magazine, you’ll receive a complimentary one-year subscription to CM!



1 Auto body trim tape is very flexible and is available in several widths. 2. The tape stretches and holds very well around curves.

Getting a super fine line when glazing your pots is often difficult—and even more so when you’ve had a few cups of coffee before heading into the studio. Try using this tape resist technique to glide over curves and around handles when decorating your next great set of coffee cups.


Auto trim tape is a flexible adhesive used in auto body detailing. You can generally buy it anywhere auto paint is sold. It comes in 1⁄8-inch, 1/4-inch, 1/2-inch, and 3/4-inch widths.

Be sure to wipe your pieces with a damp cloth and allow them to dry before applying the tape; it doesn’t stick well to dusty bisque.




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To apply, set the tape end where you want to start, and then pull to stretch the tape as you press it to the surface. Press firmly. I run my thumb over it to be sure the edges are tightly adhered to the bisque. It is very easy to apply the tape in curves, just remember to continue to stretch and stick the tape as you go. I cut the end, rather than tear or break it off, to insure that it will lie flat, especially if my line will start or end independently of other lines.


3 Glaze over the resist using your typical methods. 4 Allow the glaze and pot to dry, then remove the tape with a needle tool or sharp point.

The pot is immediately ready to dip, brush, or spray with your choice of decoration—from glaze and slip to underglaze and terra sigillata. When the coating is dry, use a needle tool or an X-Acto knife to lift the tape and pull it away from the surface.


You can also use the tape on greenware; you just have to take extra care when pulling, stretching, and pressing. This resist technique is great for layering glazes or slips too, as long as you fire each layer before adding another round of tape.



For more great tool tips, be sure to download your free copy of Pottery Throwing Tools: A Guide to Making and Using Pottery Tools for Wheel Throwing.