How to Make a Ceramic Planter

Make a ceramic pot and paint for a pop of color.

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Materials and Tools:

potter's wheel
trimming tool
throwing sponge
wire tool
bucket of water
wedging board
newspaper
rib tool
low-fire white clay
kiln
underglazes in a variety of colors
clear glaze

Steps:

1. Cut off a large piece of clay. Wedge or knead the clay to eliminate air bubbles.

2. Place the wedged clay on the potter's wheel.

3. Center the clay by forcing it toward the center of the wheel with your hands. When the clay is centered it will produce a smooth texture rather than a bumpy one. Keep the clay moist while working on the wheel, keeping a bucket of water within reach.

4. Push down with your index fingers in the center of the clay. Measure the bottom of the opening to make sure you don't push down too far.

5. With your left hand grabbing the clay and your right hand supporting the clay, pull the clay toward yourself to widen it and to form the base. Hold a throwing sponge in your right hand to assist in smoothing the clay.

6. Smooth the bottom by holding the sponge in your right hand and smoothing the bottom of the clay from the outer edge of the inside to the middle. This forces the clay back to the center while smoothing the bottom and prevents cracking.

7. Holding the sponge on the outside base of the clay and your left fingers inside the clay, opposite the sponge, begin to apply light pressure while raising your hands. The clay will move upward into a cylinder shape.

8. Smooth the outside of the clay to eliminate any lines with a rib tool.

9. Smooth the inside of the piece.

10. Cut a wavy design into the rim with a wire tool.

11. Let the piece dry for about two hours.

12. Apply the underglaze design in a random pattern. Carve through some of the underglaze with a trimming tool. Make face designs with the black glaze.

13. Bisque-fire the piece for eight hours in the kiln.

14. Immerse the piece in a bucket of finishing glaze. Wipe the base and set it on newspaper to dry for a couple of minutes.

15. Secure the piece on stilts, and glaze-fire it in the kiln for about eight hours. Stilts prevent the piece from sticking to the shelf.

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