5 tips for learning pottery at home

Do you consider pottery as a leisure activity that is difficult to afford or even inaccessible? Don’t get me wrong! With the right equipment and a little training, it is possible to learn pottery at home, without a course or teacher. We give you all our advice to get started in this ancestral activity.


Remember, in the movie Ghost, the mythical pottery scene between Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze… This sequence made more than one person want to get involved in this activity! Practiced since prehistoric times, pottery fascinates as much as it intimidates. It is thought to be expensive, complex and even inaccessible. However, with the right equipment and the right gestures, everyone can try their hand at the pleasure of modelling! Discover all our tips for learning pottery at home.

Tip 1: Choose your dough

Before going headlong into a hobby shop and buying the first clay bread that came along, it is better to find out about the different types of dough that exist. Indeed, some require a very high temperature cooking (often more than 1000°C), so unless you have a professional oven, these last ones will not be adapted to your use. Instead, use self-hardening dough or pasta that can be baked in a traditional oven, such as Fimo dough. However, if you still want to work a soil like natural clay, sandstone or earthenware, ask about the pottery workshops near you. Some people sometimes agree to lend their ovens in exchange for a small financial contribution.

Tip 2: Buy the right equipment

If you want to make imposing objects such as clay vases, it is better to invest in a potter’s wheel that will give a regular shape to your pieces. This is often an expensive piece, but if you buy a used kiln, the price becomes quite affordable. Nevertheless, you can choose to create only small decorative objects, hand-made. In this case, the potter’s wheel is not necessary. Also invest in various accessories such as a clay cutting wire, a roller, modelling knives or a sponge to smooth the earth. To decorate your works once they are dry or cooked, you can also buy suitable paint. You can easily find all the necessary equipment in hobby shops.

Tip 3: Know the different techniques

There are different methods of shaping the earth. In addition to hand modelling and turning, you can opt for the technique of coil pottery, which consists in forming regular strands that are then stacked one on top of the other around a base. The walls are then smoothed with a finger or a wooden piece to remove the marks from the puddles. This technique is used to make hollow shapes such as bowls.

Tip 4: get the right gestures

Take the time to prepare your dough well before working it. To prevent your work from exploding during firing, it is important to eliminate all air bubbles in the clay. To do this, it is kneaded using the technique known as the ram’s head, which makes it possible to obtain a homogeneous paste.

Tip 5: Start over

Don’t be discouraged if your first works don’t live up to your expectations. The more you practice, the more comfortable you will be with the different gestures and techniques. Feel free to get advice from the many books on pottery and watch explanatory videos on the Internet. The passionate forums will also be happy to help you.