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.
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
- Plain paper
- Dust mask
- Acrylic craft paint
- Metallic craft paint
- Paint brushes
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
- Glass jars
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.