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How To Make Homemade Clay For Pottery

How To Make Homemade Clay For Pottery

Making your own clay for pottery can save you money, as well as being fun to do! In this step by step guide Ricky Grimes, professional potter, shows you how to prepare the clay, and how to test it to see if it will be suitable for pottery.

You Will Need

  • mud
  • 1 plaster bat or piece of wood
  • 1 mask
  • 1 80 mesh sieve
  • 1 large brush
  • 2 buckets
  • 1 ruler


Scoop your mud onto the plaster bat or piece of wood and leave it for about 3 weeks, putting it in the kiln at the end to dry it out completely. Wearing your mask, scoop the dry clay into a bucket of water and let it soak up the water overnight. The reason for drying it out, then soaking it in water, is to make it all the same consistency.

Decant some of the water into the sink, then place the sieve over the other bucket and pour the clay into it. Push the clay through the sieve using the brush.

Dry the clay on a plaster bat or piece of wood, turning and manipulating the clay a few times; after a couple of days the clay should be soft, but not too wet. Knead the clay to get rid of any air bubbles.

There are a couple of things you can do to the clay to check its usability. You can check its plasticity by rolling a piece into a snake; it should loop and fold up without any breaks on the surface.

You can do a shrinkage test by rolling out a piece of clay and marking 10 cm. Once it's dry you can measure it again and see how much it has shrunk; it should not have shrunk by more than a 6th.

The last test is to see how it fires in the kiln. Start off with about 1100 degrees and see what it looks like.