How to make a pot/planter with the coil technique

This tutorial was kindly put together as a supporting material for the Macramé & Pottery DIY Kit:


Step 1: Split your clay

Divide the clay into two pieces. Save half of it for later, then roll a small ball of clay to start shaping the base of your planter

Step 2: Make your base

Slowly push your thumb into the center of the clay to start shaping it. Keep opening it until you shape the base of your planter:

It’s important to keep the walls at least 1cm thick to make sure they will hold the weight of more clay on top of it afterwards:

If possible, wait for 1h or 2h to ensure your base dries out and is resistant enough before moving onto the next step.

Step 3: Make your coils

Take the second ball of clay and split it in 3 parts. Slowly roll it on your table applying even pressure as you roll it into a long cylinder. Keep the thickness of the cylinder even and round:

Repeat these steps with the other two parts of clay. You should now have 3 cylinders (coils) that will become the walls of your planter.

Step 4: Score and slip

Dilute a really small amount of clay in water until it forms a creamy mixture. This is called slip and will work as a glue for the clay. Save this for later:

Take the base of your planter and start to make some scratch marks on the outer edge of the base. Also make the same scratch marks on your coil, on the areas where it will be attached to the base:

Apply the slip to the score marks:

Step 5: Merge your coils

Place the coil on top of the wall of your planter base. Make sure to blend them by pulling the clay with your fingers:

Continue adding coils, attaching one to another using the score and slip technique:

Support the outside of the pot with one hand when you are smoothing the inside.

Start to smooth the marks of your coils with your fingers and/or a wet sponge.

As soon as you are happy with your planter, it will be ready to start air drying.

It’s recommended to keep an eye on it every day to smooth any other cracks that will show up with a wet sponge.

This is what your pot should look like when bone-dry (before firing):

Click here to learn how to make this Macramé Plant Hanger

Do I need to get my pot fired? 🤔

If you want to use your work as a decorative piece (such as a pot for dried flowers or an incense holder), then it’s ok to air-dry your work. Your work will be quite vulnerable, so it will be important to keep it in a safe & dry spot!

If you want to use it as a functional ware, such as this planter, a mug or a plate, you will need to get it fired indeed.

The first firing (bisque-fire) will transform your clay into ceramic, so the clay will no longer dissolve in water. Follow the Firing Steps to learn more about the firing process!

Firing Steps

  1. After it dries out completely (usually in 7-14 days), your piece need to be pre-fired on what we call “Bisque Fire”. It’s when your clay will become ceramic and will no longer dissolve in water. There are multiple studios who offer firing service to the public and it usually costs between $7- 12 per kilo. Just Google “firing service near me” and you should be able to find plenty of options!

  2. Take your air dried (bone-dry) work and ask the pottery-shop staff to help you to Bisque Fire it.

  3. After it is Bisque Fired, you can glaze it with any colour you want. Ask for help finding food safe brush-on glaze options for “Stoneware Clay” - that’s the type of clay we are using on this kit! Clean your bisque-fired piece with a wet sponge to remove any dust. Apply the glaze with a brush. Follow the instructions on the glaze and apply as many coats as per instructions. Make sure to let it dry between coats.

  4. Always ensure the bottom of your pieces is 100% clear of glaze as they can melt and get stuck in the kiln!

  5. Your piece is now ready for its second firing, where the glaze will vitrify and get that beautiful final look! Ask the Studio staff to help you firing it on “Stoneware temperature”. That’s usually around 1280°C!


This tutorial was kindly put together as a supporting material for the Macramé & Pottery DIY Kit:

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