Make Your Own Pottery Tools: DIY Spinner Disk

You really don’t need a lot of tools to make pottery, although having the right tools make it easier and more fun. Something every potter struggles with, especially when they’re starting out, is centering the clay on the wheel. But even after the clay’s centered and the pot thrown, it has to be trimmed. That means centering it again, and trimming it without distorting it.

One tool that makes trimming pots a little easier is a spinner disk. It helps to hold the pot steady while you’re trimming and distributes the weight guarding against pot distortion. Although you can trim without this tool, once I saw spinner disks like this one and this one, I wondered whether one would make trimming my pottery a little easier. While there is no substitute for a well-designed, well-made tool. I try to make my own tools if I can get away with it, especially if it’s a new gadget that looks interesting, but might not really help me too much.

Here’s what I came up with

I had a double sided cap that came with a prescription. One side is child proof and the other side is not. But you could use any dual purpose cap you might have lying around, like this one, or any cap where the center spins and the threaded outside part remains stationary.

Center your pot to be trimmed on the wheel and place the cap, top down, in the center.

Then put something inside the lid so you can hold onto it while you’re trimming. I used a smaller cap that fit into the lid.

Some other items you might try that are lying around the house are fidget spinners, small massage roller balls, or anything else that will spin freely while you hold it on the top of a pot and trim. If you have an old water bottle with a closure like this one, that might work too. All you need is something that spins with the wheel and a top that remains stationary that you can hold onto while you’re trimming. Raid the junk drawer!

Make Stamps for Ceramic Clay with Polymer

Another thing I did at  Clay ConneCTion was to make myself a bunch of new stamps to use with my pottery.    You can make pottery stamp from ceramic clay but polymer is so much easier!   Since polymer does not shrink, you know how big to make the design.  Plus you can cure the polymer much more quickly than you can fire ceramic stamps.  And they don’t break when you drop them on the floor.  And you can use scrap clay!  All you need to do is roll sheets of clay on the thickest pasta machine setting and then cut and stack the sheets to make a rectangle about one-inch square and two inches long.  You can make designs by carving the soft clay,  adding coils and shapes, or impressing textures into the clay.  If your clay is pretty firm, as mine was, you can put a design on each end and use the sides for more designs.  After you bake the clay, you can make more stamps with the design in reverse.  I recommend that you condition the clay well and bake the stamps for an hour.

There’s another polymer stamp making tutorial on the Ceramics Network site. And there are plenty of design ideas around the Internet.   Check out Hair of the Rabbit  And don’t forget Pinterest.

 

Beads

Porcelain beads ready for the kiln.  I can’t wait to see how they come out.