Make Yourself Some Pottery Tools

My posts on making jewelry tools have been so popular that I decided to share some ideas for making pottery tools with you.  None of these are original but they all present my twist on things.  The first one is a clay texture tool.  I found a foot massager at a thrift store, took it apart, and now I have two new texture tools plus some to share.

You can also saw up a broomstick a dowel and apply craft foam or hot glue to make patterns to texture clay.  There are some examples below.  

The glue stick makes a nice texture.


Make a clay cutter to cut canes for Nerikomi.  I cut the end off a metal plant hanger and strung  it with 24 gauge wire.  You can use any form that will keep the wire taut and if the wire breaks, it’s easy to replace.  

I love the idea of a tool that will bevel the edges of clay slabs.    Enter the beveler!    I got the idea to make my own from this site  but mine is a bit different.  The wood I used is a sidewalk find.  I trimmed the smaller piece so the edges were straight.  Then I nailed it to the larger piece so I would have two beveling angles, one shallow and a longer one.  I didn’t measure anything; I just eyeballed it.  I notched the four corners to keep  the wire in place and used a screw eye to hold the wire taut.  I tried my beveler out and it works beautifully.  It really comes in handy when you are beveling curved edges.

And finally, although this is not a pottery tool, I had to include it. I made myself a rawhide hammer from a dog chew following Charles Lewton-Brain’s directions here.  My conclusion?  Go out and buy one. The dog chews ended up costing about as much as a small hammer and it was much more difficult the make than the instructions let on.  But still, I like the way my hammer turned out and I’m using it.



Feel free to share this information and if you  want to share ideas for tools you’ve made, leave a comment.


What I am Doing This Summer


Making  veneers for vessels using white porcelain and Mason stains.  I made this one into a vessel that should be coming out of the bisque fire soon.


Making porcelain pendants and beads.  The pieces in the above photo will need a bisque firing after they dry completely, and then a cone 6 fire.


Here are some pieces that have already been fired at cone 6.  They are not glazed;  I finish them in a rock tumbler which gives them a smooth satin finish.


And here are some tiny glazed ring bowls with just a touch of gold.  I plan to make some more of these.

From Overalls to Cross Back Apron

My pottery overalls had finally bitten the dust. No wonder, they were more than 25 years old although I had not worn them for a number of years.  Saying goodbye to my overalls was a painful prospect.  What would I  wipe the clay on?  I decided to make an apron from them.


First, I cut off the legs being careful to keep all the pockets.

2.23.3 back

It was not until I turned the overalls over that I realized that I had the makings of a no-sew cross back apron!  Se my other post on how to sew one from scratch here

4.4back cut

Just cut the seam right down the middle of the back.


Make sure the straps are plenty long to accommodate the cross over.


Rear view.  You don’t have to unhook the straps to put on the apron which is what is so great about a cross back apron in the first place!



Front view.  A great, easy, low-cost no sew cross back apron!  With pockets!


What Rhymes with Origami?

I did not take kindly to Origami at first.  My brother (the same brother who mastered the paint by numbers set while I was busy flinging the paint on the canvas) got an Origami set one Christmas.  It had lovely paper squares and a little book with  picture after picture of the glorious things you could make with the paper: tiny trees, little boxes and hats, miniature animals.  The book had directions for making each and every one of them and all you had to do was  fold the  paper until the tiny creation manifested itself.  Like magic.

We sat down at the kitchen table and got to work studying the instructions and folding. And turning.  And folding. And creasing.  And folding some more. At the end of the studying and creasing and folding, my brother showed me the perfect crane he’d made.  I looked down at my creases and folds and scowled.  I had made a perfect likeness of a kleenex that someone had used to blow his nose.  My brother tried to make me feel better by showing me how his crane flapped its wings when he pulled its tail, but I only felt worse.  I vowed never to try Origami again.

I have broken many promises that I made to myself when I was younger and life seemed simpler.  I will not go into all of them now,  except to tell you that a few months ago, I went through a spell of Origami mania, watching YouTube videos round the clock, trolling used bookstores for Origami books and starting to collect exotic paper.  I even pulled out the paper I bought years ago in Japan, only because it was pretty mind you and never intending to defile it with a wayward crease.

For the next few months I folded and folded and folded and filled the living room with little boxes, ornaments,  a folded pig for Beading Yoda who collects pigs,  geometric shapes, graduating to Origami dodecahedrons and pyramids.  And then I started making Origami earrings that I sold for awhile. And then I folded, never once having  even tried to make a crane.

So when my friend Jeanne, who is the managing librarian at the Santore Library asked me to help her teach a summertime craft class in Origami, I gulped, said yes and brushed up on my mountain and valley folds.

I had a good time showing the kids how to make star boxes  while Jeanne showed them how to make ornaments.   We had a great time.  And no cranes were harmed during the folding and creasing.

Here are some pictures from the class.