A Beginners Guide to Pottery Making Tools and Equipment

Craftsman worker clay

Pottery is amazing- but also slightly intimidating for someone who is just starting. To give you a smooth head start, here is a beginner-friendly equipment checklist for pottery making

Have you been thinking about trying pottery for a while now? Or maybe you have already enrolled in a pottery course without having any idea about how it works and what tools you will need for it. Well, fret not, because, in this blog, we will tell you about everything that you need to know before you step into the uncharted territory of pottery making.

As a beginner, there are not many tools that you will need for pottery. The most important tool is your hands and they are great for creating curves or crevasses in your pots. However, there is some basic equipment that you will need to begin with

A Beginner’s Equipment List

  1. A KILN

A kiln is the first piece of equipment that you need to have to start pottery. Although you can also use air dry or polymer clay, a kiln is a must if you are interested in making more robust pottery like tableware and vases. Most kilns use wood or gas to fire pottery however as a beginner, we will recommend an electric kiln as it is the easiest and safest option for you and can fire to the maximum temperature of 1,280 degrees Celsius.

When buying a kiln for beginners, another factor that you should consider is the size. The size of your kiln does matter if you are just starting as a potter. Smaller kilns are more portable and can easily be plugged into your socket.

  1. A POTTERS WHEEL

If you are interested in throwing then Potter's wheel is a must. Again, an electrical wheel would work better for you if you are a beginner. However, people who are used to kicking wheels claim that they feel more in control. Whichever type of wheel you choose, choose a smaller size as a beginner. You will need a bigger when for more torque only when you are making bigger vases. Another important feature is the variable speed option. It gives you more control as a beginner if you can control the speed. It's also a plus if you have a reverse wheeling option since it will help you if you are used to throwing 'the wrong way

Here are some basic tools that you will need for the throwing method of production

  • A cut-off wire

After you finish the pot, you will need a cut-off wire to remove your pot from the wheel. Nylon wire with wooden toggles works amazingly to take your pot off the wheel.

  • A sponge

You will also need a sponge to wet the pot when you are throwing to provide some lubrication

  • A trimming tool

If you are making a pot with footings, then you will also need a trimming tool to carve the pot once the clay dries

  • Chamois Leather

You can use small pieces of chamois to smooth the rims or pots. You can easily buy these from any car cleaning site and cut them into small pieces.

  • A wooden rib

A wooden rib can be used to smooth the base of a shallow bowl or a plate

  • A pin tool

This tool is great for finishing touches. You can use it to cut the wobbly top part of your pots. It can also be used to pop air bubbles. However, when buying a pin tool always go for the thin ones. The fatter ones are not as efficient and can be hard to use.

  1. GLAZE

The third most that you need to do before starting pottery are to understand and choose glaze. Some pottery can be made without glaze but most of them are glaze. Your glaze can be glossy or matt finish or all the things that come in between. The glossy glaze is preferred for something like vases because they are easier to clean. Some glazes also come in colors which is a suitable option for you if you are using speckled clay.

As a beginner, buying a ready-made glaze powder from any ceramic supplier is the best option for you. However, make sure that the fire temperature matches that of your clay and your kiln settings. You will need to mix the powder with water in an equal ratio. Another amazing tip for glazing is using a sieve to get rid of any large particles. We recommend that you use an 80 mesh minimum if you want to get a smooth glaze on your pots.

These three pieces of equipment are a must for you if you are thinking about trying pottery. Remember that pottery is all about exploring and experimenting with your ideas.

A Beginners Guide to Pottery Making Tools and Equipment