How to Make Pottery Clay

Last Updated on March 17, 2021

Are you new to making pottery clay? Don’t be intimidated the process is not that bad and it’s pretty fun too. After reading this article you’ll know everything you need to start making pottery clay that you can use for your own art projects.

woman throwing clay on pottery wheel

If you are fortunate enough to have naturally occurring clay in your local ground you are ready start making your own pottery clay. I find the process to be quite relaxing and it’s one of my own meditations. I neglected making my own for more years than I care to admit as I was in fear that the process would be more challenging that it actually. But don’t let that stop you from doing art projects from your very own homemade clay.

first off if you are looking for naturally occurring play the best places to go look are in areas where there are natural water sources. Look on Riverbanks and streams Mayberry well fine great natural clay deposits. Another excellent place to look is in new construction areas and in canyons and gullies. Always make sure that you have permission to extract naturally occurring clay from any location where you go looking. If it is on private property always ask permission before digging and if it’s on public ground check with your local laws to make sure that it is okay for you to take play with you.

must understand that the Quay you grab from the ground is not the same as the clay that you buy from your local art store. obvious differences that when you dig clay from the ground there are going to be numerous foreign objects that need to be removed from the clay. This includes everything from sticks and rocks and other soil types mixed in with the clay.

Step One

First you must let all of the clay that you have  to dry completely. I do this by leaving it in the bucket that I took it from until I get home and then I lay it out onto a big piece of plywood.  you can use whatever method you want but be sure to keep your clay in a place where you’re not going to have a spill or other contaminants to get into your play. Once your Clay is completely dry you will sift it and filter it through a window screen. This is to remove all of the Twigs rocks and other foreign objects from your clay. You wanted to passes is more than enough to remove all the foreign objects from the clay.

Step Two

Next you need to lay out your clay onto plaster much as you do when claiming plate. This is when you will be able to test on your play to figure out what the firing temperature will be. 

And That’s It

clay in bucket

I promised you it was easy,  and with just a couple simple steps you are now ready to grab your best pottery tools, throw your clay on your pottery wheel and start your own ceramics projects with your home prepared clay. Every time you do this you will get a little more fishing in the process will become quicker and easier. Like I said preparing my own clay has become one of my real Choice. From going out and finding the clay to going through the filtering process I find it to be incredibly relaxing and I love taking clay from the earth and taking it all the way till my finished art project. So get out there and get your hands dirty and show me what you make! 

P.S. If this just doesn’t sound like your thing fear not! You can find my recommendations for the best clay for sculpting and skip making your own clay:)