How to make your own pottery mug

This tutorial was kindly put together as a complementing

resource for the Pottery DIY Kit:


Step 1

Roll a small ball of clay to start shaping your piece. For reference, 400g is enough to make a mug and 1kg enough for a bowl/plate. These steps cover how to make a mug, but you can apply these principles to any other shape!

Step 2

Slowly push your thumb into the center of the clay to start shaping it. Keep in mind it will shrink around 15% when it gets fired:

Step 3:

Start to gently pinch the clay with your thumb on the inside and your fingers on the outside, aiming for the final shape you want to create.

Continue to pinch the clay as you turn it around. Ensure the walls are becoming as even as possible

Step 5

As you pinch your clay, gently push it against the table to ensure you create a flat base. If you notice stretch marks on your clay, it’s important to smooth them with your fingers (or with a wet sponge) as they can become cracks after fired.

At this stage, you can probably see pinch marks all over your clay. You can keep it as is (they give your item a beautiful handmade look!) or you can smooth them over with your sponge or with your modelling tools.

Step 6

If you want to attach a handle to your item, start by getting a small ball of clay (around 25g is enough). Roll it into a cylinder over the table. Remember to always smooth stretch marks with your fingers:

Step 8

Slowly curve it until it looks like a handle, but do it carefully to avoid stretch marks. Measure it on your mug and cut it to the size that you want using your modelling tool.

Step 9

Use a needle or the edge of your modelling tool to scratch the areas where the handle will be attached to:

Also scratch the edges of the handle:

This technique is called Scoring.

Step 10

Dilute some clay in water until it forms a liquid mixture. This is called Slip and works as a glue for the clay:

Brush some of the Slip over the areas you scored on your handle and mug:

Your handle is ready to be attached. Gently press the scored areas of the handles against the scored areas on your mug. Smooth the edges with your fingers to mix the clay and to give it a polished finish.

You can also use your modelling tools to add any special texture by drawing or carving your mug!

Step 11:

Massive congratulations finishing your first piece! It is now ready to be air dried. Cover it with a plastic bag and leave it for a couple of days and check-in every day if any marks can be polished!

Do I need to get it 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 a mug or plate, you will need to get it fired. 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!

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 a few options!

Firing Steps

  1. Take your air dried (bone dry) work to a firing service near you and ask the staff to help you to Bisque Fire it.

  2. 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!

  3. Clean your bisque-fired piece with a wet sponge to remove any dust from the firing. Apply the glaze with a brush. Follow the instructions on the label and apply as many coats as instructed. Make sure to let it dry between coats.

  4. Always ensure the bottom of your pieces is 100% clear of glaze as they tend to 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 complementing

resource for the Pottery DIY Kit:

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