How to make a clay pinch bowl: 15 steps (with pictures)

How to make a clay pinch bowl: 15 steps (with pictures)
How to make a clay pinch bowl: 15 steps (with pictures)

Many people like to make pinched bowls because they are quite easy to make and their shape is simple. Start by choosing your clay. There are different types that require different cooking and are suitable for different uses. To shape the bowl, roll the clay into a ball, hollow it out and thin its edges with your fingers. Let the item dry completely before cooking it in a suitable way. Decorate the clay as desired with paint, enamel or varnish.


Part 1 of 4: Choosing the clay

Make a Pinch Pot Step 1

Step 1. Choose polymer clay

It is very popular with fans of creative workshops, because it is both versatile and resistant. After shaping the bowl, you can harden it easily in the oven. However, this material is not suitable for food use. If you use it to make a bowl, you won't be able to use it for eating or drinking.

  • Polymer clay can damage wood and varnished surfaces. If you do use them, cover your countertop with plastic bags or newspaper to protect it.
  • You can purchase this paste at a hobby store or online.
Make a Pinch Pot Step 2

Step 2. Buy some self-hardening clay

It hardens naturally without needing to be baked in an oven. You can varnish its surface to make it suitable for food use. However, you cannot submerge this material or fill it with liquid, because it will disintegrate.

You can buy them at a hobby store, some ceramic hardware stores, or online

Make a Pinch Pot Step 3

Step 3. Use ceramic earth

If you want to make a strong bowl that you can eat and drink in, you need a material like earthenware or stoneware. These materials can be intimidating for beginners, as they need to be baked in a ceramic oven to harden. However, you may find a pottery supply store or professional potter offering baking services. All you need to do is bring your clay pieces and collect them once they are fired.

  • Consult with a store employee to choose a type of clay and learn more about baking services.
  • If you want to glaze the bowl so you can put food in it, you will also need to buy enamel.

Part 2 of 4: shape a pinched bowl

Make a Pinch Pot Step 4

Step 1. Form a ball

Take a piece of clay the size of a tennis ball. Roll it between your hands or against your countertop to make a ball. Make sure its surface is as smooth as possible.

Be careful not to leave a hollow in the surface of the ball when pushing your fingers into it. Shape it with your palms

Step 2. Make an opening

Take the ball in the palm of your hand. Push your thumb into the center to form an opening. Leave at least 1 cm of clay at the bottom so that the bottom of the bowl is thick enough.

If you put your thumb in too far and pierce the bottom, roll the clay into a ball again and start over

Step 3. Shape the walls

Gently pinch the edges of the clay to thin the sides of the bowl. Progress in circles by going around the container to refine its edges evenly. Continue until the walls are the desired thickness. They should have a uniform thickness, without large bumps. After shaping the bowl, smooth the clay with your fingers to remove any small cracks.

  • Watch the shape of the container while shaping. Would you like it to be round, square or even tall and narrow?
  • The walls can be as thin or as thick as you want. However, if they are less than 1 cm thick, they may sag.
Make a Pinch Pot Step 7

Step 4. Allow the clay to harden

Set the bowl down where no one will touch it and cover it with a light towel. Let it dry for a few hours, checking it every now and then. Wait until the clay is cool to the touch and firm like hard cheese.

If the material starts to look powdery, it is drying too much

Make a Pinch Pot Step 8

Step 5. Smooth the surface

After the clay has become firm, but not hard and dry, smooth its surface and sculpt it as desired. Many potters choose to smooth the surface of the material with their fingers, but you can use special ceramic tools like wooden stakes. You can also cut irregular parts with a utility knife to even out the rim of the container. You can decorate the bowl in various ways, such as the following.

  • Smooth the surface of the clay with your fingers to remove small cracks and other marks.
  • Engrave a pattern with a wooden stick.
  • Slide a notched metal rib over the sides of the container to give them a rough texture.

Step 6. Let the bowl dry

Wait for it to dry completely. The clay will become hard and brittle, and its surface will become dull and powdery. Polymer clay and ceramic clay must be completely dry before firing. Otherwise, they may melt or burst.

Be careful when handling a dry ceramic object, as it can break easily

Part 3 of 4: harden the clay

Make a Pinch Pot Step 10

Step 1. Use a traditional oven

If you have used a product that cooks in this type of appliance, consult the instructions on the packaging to know the cooking temperature. When the oven has reached the right temperature, place the bowl on a baking sheet and put it in the oven. Let it cook for the time indicated in the instructions for use and take the safety advice into account.

  • Some people think that polymer clay should not be baked in the oven because it can leave harmful residue behind, but this is not true.
  • Do not use the griddle for cooking food after using it for baking polymer clay.
Make a Pinch Pot Step 11

Step 2. Let the self-hardening clay dry

There is no need to cook it. Just lay a small, light towel over the bowl and let it sit somewhere where no one will touch it while it hardens. Let it dry for 5-7 days so that it is completely dry before decorating it. If you paint the clay while it still contains water, it will not harden properly.

  • The clay will be hard and chalky when dry.
  • Better to let it dry too long than too little.
Make a Pinch Pot Step 12

Step 3. Use a ceramic oven

It is needed for pottery materials like earthenware. Firing will strengthen the clay and make it hard as a rock. When the bowl is completely dry, transport it to the cooking place. Ceramic hardware stores can provide inexpensive baking services. Leave your item there and collect it after a few days when it is cooked.

Let store employees know exactly what type of clay you used, as different materials require different firing temperatures

Part 4 of 4: decorate the surface

Make a Pinch Pot Step 13

Step 1. Paint the bowl

If it is traditional oven-baked polymer clay, you can use any water-based paint, metallic paste, chalk paint, or mica powder to decorate its surface. Then apply transparent waterproof varnish to protect the decorations. Since polymer clay is not suitable for food use, you don't have to worry about the quality of the paint and varnish.

  • Do not apply nail polish or oil paint, as these products will dissolve the surface of the polymer clay.
  • You can purchase the above products at a hobby store. Ask an employee to show you where they are.
Make a Pinch Pot Step 14

Step 2. Decorate with self-hardening clay

You can use acrylic or latex paint. If you plan to store or serve dry food in the bowl, it will need to be varnished. Buy professional varnish suitable for food use and apply four or five coats to the surface of the container.

  • You can purchase acrylic or latex paint and varnish suitable for food use at a hobby store. Ask a store employee where they are.
  • Apply the varnish according to the instructions in the instructions for use. For example, some products need to dry for 24 hours between different coats.
Make a Pinch Pot Step 15

Step 3. Glaze earthenware

After baking an earthenware or stoneware bowl in a ceramic oven, you can decorate it as you wish. If you are not going to put food or drink on it, you can simply paint it with acrylic, latex or oil paint. If you want to use it for eating or drinking, glaze it. The enamel will have to be fired in a ceramic oven. Consult with a potter or an employee at the ceramic hardware store to find out how you can do this.

  • It will be necessary to choose an enamel whose firing temperature is similar to that of clay. Ask a store employee to help you choose an appropriate product.
  • Above all, do not enamel the underside of the container, as it will adhere to the inside of the oven and be spoiled.

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