The Essential Pottery Supplies Every Beginner Needs to Start Creating

Pottery is often thought of as an expensive hobby but it doesn’t have to be. With a little savvy shopping and recycling you can get started with a relatively inexpensive supply list.

The most basic pottery supplies are clay, wate for lubrication and hand tools (shells, curved rib shapes and plastic, rubber or metal) to assist with forming or removing clay particularly from the inside. A good tool box is helpful for storing and transporting your tools.

Clay

Most pottery begins with a water-based clay that is formed by hand or on the potter’s wheel. It’s easy to work with while it’s moist, but must be cured in a kiln at high temperatures. Clay bodies can be purchased from your local pottery supply store or online. Different types of clay have varying additives that affect the finished product’s strength, firing temperature, and texture.

For beginners, we recommend starting with stoneware clay. This type of clay is the most versatile and easiest to work with. It is non-porous and does not need to be glazed. It is available in a variety of colors. Other clays, such as earthenware, are thicker and heavier, and require a glaze to make it permeable.

A few other important items are a sponge for rough cleaning your hands, plastic bags to keep your clay moist between sculpting sessions, and a large towel to lay across your knees when throwing. Having an organized workspace helps reduce stress and inspires joy when working with clay. This includes a sturdy, comfortable chair and table that is set at an enjoyable height.

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Gloves

A pair of gloves is essential for keeping your hands clean while working with clay, glazes and other pottery supplies. It is also a good idea to wear an apron as your hands will become contaminated while working and require protection from chemicals and other contaminants in the studio.

A potter’s wheel is used for creating rounded or cylindrical pieces of pottery like bowls, cups and mugs. The pottery wheel can be operated by pushing your feet along the base of the wheel or with an electric motor that offers a variety of speeds for control.

If you are a beginner and looking for a quality pottery wheel for sale that is affordable, we recommend the Shimpo VL-Lite. It is a floor-mounted, belt-driven wheel with an easy-to-use design that is perfect for beginners.

For a more hands-on experience, we also offer pottery classes at locations around the country with talented instructors ready to help you make pinch pots, functional mugs and planters (becomes waterproof/food safe when professionally kiln fired). These studio-ready kits include everything you need to get started including clay, carving tools + detailed instructions and a plantable wildflower seed coaster.

Tools

Whether you are working with hand-built or wheel-thrown clay, you will need quality tools to shape and finish your work. The basic beginner toolkit comes with a wire tool, which is useful for portioning out clay and taking pots off the wheel. You’ll want to look for a toolkit that includes a metal rib, which is great for shaping and altering a form, a wide loop tool (for trimming a bowl), a double-ended ribbon tool, and a sponge, which is essential for smoothing the surface of your ceramics.

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Having different tools at your disposal will help you create intricate details, craft unique patterns, and add different textures to your pottery pieces. Look for brushes that come in a variety of sizes and materials, so you can experiment with different application techniques.

A set of calipers is also essential for measuring the dimensions of your ceramics. Look for a pair that’s durable, safe to use with your hands, and flexible so you can measure in different widths and lengths. Invest in one that has a zirconium oxide blade, which is sharper and lasts longer than standard steel.

Kiln

Besides the clay itself, a kiln needs a few other supplies to operate properly. Bricks are a must for lining the inside of the kiln and come in two types: hard bricks that are durable and soft bricks that retain heat better. The kiln also requires firebrick kiln shelves to hold pottery pieces and a wide-three pronged electrical plug that fits the special socket shown in this photo.

A pyrometer (an analog or digital thermometer with a dial) and pyrometric cones are used to accurately measure the temperature in the kiln. These devices can help you achieve the best results for your ceramics.

There are a number of other pottery supplies that can be purchased to create various effects and improve the quality of your finished products. Silk screen supplies, for example, can be used to print images on pots. There are also underglazes that can be mixed to color your pottery and give it unique characteristics. A saggar box helps protect your work from wood ash flying in the high-temperature environment of the kiln.

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Storage

Pottery supplies require special care and storage, especially if they are sharp or dangerous. It’s important to keep all these tools and materials in a safe place where they are easily found and can’t be used by children or others who may not know how to properly handle them.

The right pottery supplies can make all the difference in your success. Whether you are sculpting, hand building or using the wheel to throw pottery, having the proper tools allows you to express your creativity and produce the highest quality work possible. Check out our selection of pottery packages that provide the essential tools for all levels of potters.

Ribbon tools are shaped like a long metal ribbon with a pointed or angled head for detailed work. They are used for trimming, scoring, and making patterns on clay. They are often included in basic pottery kits along with a metal and wood rib (metal for curves, wood for smoothing) and a wire cutting tool (crucial for removing pieces from the wheel). There are also a variety of sponges in different shapes and sizes, which are vital for

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