How to Make Hand Built Pottery

In this guide you will learn how to make 3 types of hand built pottery: Pinch Pot, Coil Pot and Slab Pot.

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How to Make Hand Built Pottery
58 Steps
Supplies
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1
Pinch Pot:  One of the easiest had built pieces of pottery to make.  Start by rolling your clay into a ball.

Pinch Pot: One of the easiest had built pieces of pottery to make. Start by rolling your clay into a ball.

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Ball of clay.

Ball of clay.

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Starting at the center of the ball, push your thumbs into the clay, moving them in a circular motion around the edge.

Starting at the center of the ball, push your thumbs into the clay, moving them in a circular motion around the edge.

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Keep pinching, and support the sides with your fingers.

Keep pinching, and support the sides with your fingers.

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Add fun edges or designs to the sides, Pinch pots have endless ways of forming.

Add fun edges or designs to the sides, Pinch pots have endless ways of forming.

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Coil Pots:  Roll a slab of clay for the base of your coil pot.

Coil Pots: Roll a slab of clay for the base of your coil pot.

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The base should be a least 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.

The base should be a least 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.

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I trace around a circular object for the base but you can make your coil pot any shape.  Coil pots are easy to make custom shapes with.

I trace around a circular object for the base but you can make your coil pot any shape. Coil pots are easy to make custom shapes with.

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Roll some coils.

Roll some coils.

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You may vary the thickness of the coils depending on the size of pottery you are making.  If they are small I like to make them less then the thickness of my finger.

You may vary the thickness of the coils depending on the size of pottery you are making. If they are small I like to make them less then the thickness of my finger.

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Score the edges of the base and the coil.

Score the edges of the base and the coil.

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You can score with a needle tool or other tools.

You can score with a needle tool or other tools.

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My favorite way to score is with this tool.

My favorite way to score is with this tool.

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Scored edges.

Scored edges.

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Add water or slip to the scored edges.

Add water or slip to the scored edges.

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attach the coil going around in a circular motion, continuing to score as you go up each level.

attach the coil going around in a circular motion, continuing to score as you go up each level.

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Add your next coil where the first one left off.

Add your next coil where the first one left off.

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Side view of the coils stacked on top of each other.

Side view of the coils stacked on top of each other.

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If you want your pottery to curve inward, place the coils on the inner edge of the pot.

If you want your pottery to curve inward, place the coils on the inner edge of the pot.

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This curves in the opening.

This curves in the opening.

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Side view with inward curve.

Side view with inward curve.

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If you would like the potter to curve outward, place the coils towards the outer edge.

If you would like the potter to curve outward, place the coils towards the outer edge.

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Coils placed on the outer edge.

Coils placed on the outer edge.

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Side view of coils pushing in the outer direction.

Side view of coils pushing in the outer direction.

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Side view of the outside of the coil pot.

Side view of the outside of the coil pot.

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Smoothing may be done with this kind of tool or your fingers to blend in the coils.

Smoothing may be done with this kind of tool or your fingers to blend in the coils.

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Smoothing the outer coils

Smoothing the outer coils

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Smoothed outside

Smoothed outside

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The inside still has coils and the outside is smooth

The inside still has coils and the outside is smooth

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You may also smooth the inside of the pottery also.

You may also smooth the inside of the pottery also.

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smoothing the inside

smoothing the inside

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smoothed inside and out

smoothed inside and out

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Final coil pot.

Final coil pot.

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SLAB POT:  Roll your clay using a rolling pin.

SLAB POT: Roll your clay using a rolling pin.

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Try to achieve an even thickness throughout the slab.

Try to achieve an even thickness throughout the slab.

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The desired thickness is 1/4 to 1/2 inch

The desired thickness is 1/4 to 1/2 inch

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trace a circle again

trace a circle again

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I will show how to do both a circular slab pot and a box slab pot.

I will show how to do both a circular slab pot and a box slab pot.

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Box Pot: Cut 5 shapes that fit together as the sides of the box.  2 of the sides should be a little longer the the middle for connecting.

Box Pot: Cut 5 shapes that fit together as the sides of the box. 2 of the sides should be a little longer the the middle for connecting.

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Score all the connecting sides.

Score all the connecting sides.

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Add water or slip and fit the sides together.

Add water or slip and fit the sides together.

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All sides up now smooth it out.

All sides up now smooth it out.

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Side view

Side view

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Smoothing sides

Smoothing sides

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Slab Circle Pot.

Slab Circle Pot.

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Cut with a straight edge a very long rectangle.

Cut with a straight edge a very long rectangle.

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Long rectangle

Long rectangle

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Try it on for size, make any adjustments so the the edges of the rectangle will fit exactly together and not overlap.

Try it on for size, make any adjustments so the the edges of the rectangle will fit exactly together and not overlap.

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It should fit snugly to the edges of the base.

It should fit snugly to the edges of the base.

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Score all edges and add slip or water.

Score all edges and add slip or water.

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Wrap it around the base.

Wrap it around the base.

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Smooth over the connection points at the side and the bottom.

Smooth over the connection points at the side and the bottom.

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Completed Slap Circular Pot.

Completed Slap Circular Pot.

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