Clay vase DIY with pottery painting ideas!

Lucy Davidson shows you how to make artisan-looking pottery with her clay vase DIY. Her pottery painting will make your creations go from a 5 to a 10!

pottery painting ideas clay and vase pot

Hand-built ceramics are hot property right now (just look at The Great Pottery Throwdown’s success!) and the good news is you don’t have to be a master potter to get the look. Roll up your sleeves and get stuck in with air-dry clay, then embrace your inner artist and decorate your vessels with splashy, painterly patterns. Lucy’s pottery painting ideas will give your pots an artisanal look that will make them look professional and beautiful. We’ll be filling ours with pens, knitting needles, or dried blooms, arranging them just so to show off our handiwork.

Bear in mind air-dry clay isn’t watertight, so pop any live plants into jars before placing them in your fancy new pots.

This project was created by Lucy Davidson for Mollie Makes magazine – for more easy-make craft projects and creative inspiration, subscribe to Mollie or click here to find out more.

You will need:

  • Two packs of air-dry clay
  • Clay tool
  • Rolling pin
  • Craft knife
  • Masking tape
  • Chopping board
  • Greaseproof paper
  • Glass jar, 7.5cm (3″) diameter
  • Glass jar, 9cm (35/8″) diameter
  • Sandpaper
  • Plain paper
  • Dust mask
  • Acrylic craft paint
  • Metallic craft paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Varnish

If you’re new to the world of pottery don’t worry! We’ve got a beginners guide to pottery which runs through loads of pottery techniques.

Clay vase and pot DIY


You Will Need

  • Air-dry clay
  • Craft paint
  • Pottery tools
  • varnish
  • Sandpaper
  • Glass jars

Total time:

Step 1

Pottery painting ideas ClayVaseAndPot_step1
Start by rolling out the air-dry clay on the chopping board. Roll it out to roughly 0.5cm (1⁄4″) thick, then cut a 25 x 10cm (97/8 x 4″) rectangle to make the smaller pot.

Step 2

Pottery painting ideas ClayVaseAndPot_step2

Wrap the small glass jar with greaseproof paper to prevent sticking, then wrap the strip of clay around the jar and seal the short edges together, using your fingers or the clay tool to merge the two pieces. Keep pressing together until there is a clean join.

Step 3

Pottery painting ideas ClayVaseAndPot_step3
To make a base for the pot, roll another piece of clay out, roughly the same thickness and slightly bigger than the base of the jar. Trim the base into a circle.

Step 4

Pottery painting ideas ClayVaseAndPot_step4

Secure the base to the sides by pressing them together. Roll out a thin piece of clay from the leftover bits and push it into the join – this will help to strengthen it.

Step 5

Pottery painting ideas ClayVaseAndPot_step5

Turn the pot over and make sure all the edges are smoothed down. Take your time with this step and make sure you’re completely happy with the shape.

Step 6

To make a matching vase, repeat Steps 1-5, this time cutting a 25 x 15cm (97/8 x 6″) rectangle of clay and shaping it around the taller glass jar. Once finished, remove the glass jars and the greaseproof paper, and leave the pot and vase to dry for at least 24 hours.

Step 7

Pottery painting ideas ClayVaseAndPot_step7

If there are any rough edges, use a small piece of sandpaper to sand the pieces down for a smooth finish. Wear a dust mask for this, as sanding causes a lot of dust.

Pottery painting ideas

Step 1

Pottery painting ideas ClayVaseAndPot_step8

To keep a clean edge on the lower parts of the pots and vase while painting, wrap a strip of plain paper around the bottom of each vessel, as shown, and secure it in place with masking tape.

Step 2

Take the first paint colour and water it down slightly. Working around the pots, paint on some loose brush strokes. Repeat this process, watering down another colour. Keep the strokes natural and not too neat to achieve a painterly look, as shown.

Step 3

Pottery painting ideas ClayVaseAndPot_step10

Remove the paper and masking tape and add some metallic paint strokes to create a shiny look. Apply a little too much paint so it drips down the pots, adding to the natural design. Once the paint is dry, apply two coats of varnish and leave to dry for 24 hours.


We hope you’ve enjoyed our clay vase DIY and you can use the pottery painting ideas on your other pottery projects! We have plenty of clay DIY’s here on Gathered including our DIY coasters, clay salt spoons and our clay trinket dish DIY.