Clay at home
We developed our clay at home scheme during the covid lockdowns. Although nowadays most people choose to come to the studio, using clay at home is still a great thing to do, particularly if you want to work with the clay at the "leatherhard" stage.
Making pottery is a fantastic and fun thing to do! Why not buy some clay from us and take it home to use? The price includes firing in our kiln. We have put a series of instructional videos on YouTube and we have tools for hire if you need them. We have prepared everything you need so that you can make something amazing.
Making pottery at home is a lovely activity that can be enjoyed by adults and children of any skill level. Share the clay or have it all for yourself—but whatever you do, enjoy it!
Scroll down for details of painting on ready made items at home.
There are two stages to making ceramics at home
NB Lots of people do stage one (making) at home and come to the studio for stage two (glazing).
Stage One: Make some great things out of clay and then bring it back to the pottery after it has been drying for two weeks. We will do the first firing in the kiln. Click here for our YouTube video about using clay at home.
Stage Two: After the first firing the clay is ready to paint with glaze. Follow our instructions and then bring your pieces back for their final firing. Ready to collect in a week’s time! Click here for our YouTube video about glazing at home.
NB There’s no pressure to continue on to stage two after the first firing—you could leave your creation white or decorate it with whatever you have at home. But if you want the full effect you’ll need proper ceramic glaze.
Stage One: Clay at home £15
Take a ball of clay home for £15—the price includes firing in our kiln. This picture will give you an idea of how much you could make with the clay we’ll give you, but you can make anything you like!
Tools for using clay at home
You will find that your kitchen cupboards and toy boxes will probably provide all the tools you need!
The minimum tools required to make pottery at home are…
A board to roll clay on— clay will stick to tables and messy mats so you will need to roll on fabric—something like a pillow case will work well. It’s important that the fabric is not fluffy as you don’t want bits to stick to the clay. The fabric needs to be taut and flat (like an ironing board) so you don’t roll creases into your clay. Although an ironing board would work perfectly, we’re not recommending it as you’ll never be able to iron again!
A rolling pin—a wooden roller is best. If you are using a rolling pin from your kitchen its very important that it’s clean. You may not discover that the clay has been contaminated until something dramatic happens in the kiln! Vice versa clay is really not a recipe ingredient.
A box to store clay in to stop it drying out—with damp cotton wool. Our YouTube video explains it best.
A knife and a brush—the kind of blade on a dinner knife, not too sharp or serrated is best for cutting wet clay. A paint brush, not too soft, will be good for putting a little water onto pieces of clay that you are joining together.
You will also find that any of these will come in handy:
Paper plate and bowls (or small bowls with paper towels or cling film)
Cookie cutters—make sure your smallest finger fits in the cutter so you can push the clay out without stretching it.
Something clean and flat to put your finished articles on while they dry
Follow these links for advice about storing clay and rolling clay.
During Lockdown we offered tool kits to hire. This is no longer available as we are back to needing our stuff in the studio!
However, we thought it would be helpful to keep the lists here of what was in the kits to help you plan the equipment you need for your own home studio...
1. Basic kit
Wet box (for storing clay)
Board for rolling clay on
Wooden rolling pin
Knife and Brush
Plus free gifts (non returnable!)..
6 paper bowls, 2 paper plates, 2 .cocktail sticks
2. Accessory kit
Pottery Rib (for smoothing)
2 circle cutters (13cm and 11cm)
2 heart cutters
1 star cutter
3. Extra Accessory kit
Fine patterned roller
5 assorted shape (cookie) cutters
2 circle cutters (8cm and 6.5cm)
If you are planning an at-home pottery party and you wish we still hired out tools and equipment, have a word with us as it might still be possible for short term loans!
After the clay has had its first firing it will be white and much stronger. At this point you could just leave it, or paint it with your own paints at home. However, you may decide to move on to Stage Two.
Stage Two: Glaze at home £20
The price includes the cost of the second (glaze) firing in the kiln.
Our minimum charge is £20 and gets you 3 little pots of glaze. This should be enough to paint all that you have made. If you wish you had a bigger variety of colours you can swap one of your pots for two half size pots
Additional pots cost £7.
To be honest, you will get a lot more choice of colours if you bring your pottery to glaze in our studio - either book a lesson (£30) for our full attention, or if you've done glazing before you can go it alone in studio time (£18).
We offer two glazing options— don’t use them on the same piece because they fire at different temperatures…
There are lots of colours available. You can mix them if you want to. Underglaze acts very much like normal paint and needs a transparent glaze over the top
There are lots of choices for these more traditional glazes—examples are on our youtube channel. You can’t mix these glazes but you can paint them in layers. Click here and here for our YouTube videos about glazes.
Scroll down for details and tips.
We use Amaco’s Velvet underglaze. These are the easiest way to glaze at home as they work very like other paints. You can even mix them to make new colours.
To make the colours strong and not to see your brush strokes, paint three coats—allow each coat to dry before the next one goes on. Lumps and bumps of glaze don’t work well—try to paint even and thin layers.
Don’t paint underneath your object. If any glaze touches the kiln shelf it will melt and as it cools it will set and your piece will be stuck FOREVER!
You can take a white underglaze home but it’s probably only necessary if you want to mix with other colours. If you’d like a part of your piece to be white you can leave it unpainted and we will add a shiny transparent glaze to that part before firing—but make sure you tell us as it’s too late once it’s in the kiln. There are two heat settings for underglaze - the lower temperature will leave the white bits more white but your piece will be decorative and not functional ie it won't be waterproof. The higher heat setting makes the pottery fully glazed and waterproof (unless there are holes of course!) but the clay is darkened a bit in the hot kiln so you may want to paint white bits with a white underglaze. Other than spaces that you want to remain white for us to make shiny, don’t leave any other bits unpainted (except the bottom of course!) - unless it’s part of your design—random bits of unglazed pottery on ceramics don’t look good.
We use Amaco’s Potter’s Choice glazes. These are more traditional in their look than the underglazes and there are more things to consider. Nevertheless, with a bit of thought you can get great results. There are lots of options—examples are on our youtube channel. It’s important not to mix these glazes—but you can paint them in layers for interesting results.
Some of our glazes “break” over texture and some even look like you painted two colours when you only painted one! Watch our YouTube video to make your choice.
Paint three coats—allow each coat to dry before the next one goes on. Some colours work well in layers but others look terrible! The Amaco website has examples (but be careful as we don’t have all of the hundreds of glazes they make). We have a video on our website showing our favourite layering.
Lumps and bumps of glaze don’t work well—try to paint even and thin layers.
Don’t paint underneath your object. If any glaze touches the kiln shelf it will melt and as it cools it will set and your piece will be stuck FOREVER! Remember that glaze can run and if a run sticks to the shelf your pottery will be destroyed.
Make sure you don’t leave any unpainted gaps.
DO NOT ADD ANY HOME PAINTS TO GLAZE.
It will go horribly wrong in the kiln.
You can use underglaze and glaze on the same piece but it must be fired at the higher glaze temperature. Make sure we understand what you have done before we blow your creation up in the kiln!
How much can you make with one clay kit?
The pictures below are close-ups of everything we made with one clay pack and glazed with one glaze pack. You can see that there's plenty of clay in one kit whether you want to share or have it all to yourself!
Paint on Ready-Made Pottery at Home
We have a lovely selection of ornaments, dishes, mugs etc that are ready to be painted with glaze. The smaller items are about 8cm (3 inches) high and look really great after glazing. Usually people come to the studio to paint them so that the whole range of glaze colours is available. See our activities page for details. However, we can provide a set of six colours with pieces to paint if you prefer to do it at home. In that case, the price includes the cost of firing in our kiln with a transparent glaze overcoat.
Just choose your pieces, choose your glaze colours, and give us a phone call or send an email to arrange to pick everything up from the studio. You can use your own brushes - glaze washes off brushes easily in water - but make sure you start with clean brushes that you don't contaminate the pottery. The price includes firing so just bring your pottery back when it is finished and we'll pop it in the kiln to make it bright and shiny. Items are usually ready for collection a week later but with advance warning so that the kiln is ready to go, the finished fired items can be ready to collect after 24 hours.
Choose two of these ornaments for £25 which includes the cost of six colours and firing in the kiln. There are lots of other options - just talk to us.
This star plate costs £25 to paint with a choice of six colours. Alternatively it is a great size for toddler or baby hand/footprints. Click on the picture to be taken to our YouTube channel to see the film with tips on capturing your baby's handprint - it's a Christmas film but the technique is year-round of course. If you want to choose the star plate with only one colour of glaze it's £20.
Notes about Painting on Ready Made Pottery
1. Clay that has been fired once but not yet glazed is called 'bisque'.
2. When painting on ready made bisqued items, it is best to paint three layers of each colour. Try to keep the paint layers even and not lumpy - lumps of glaze can react in the kiln and make pinholes or blisters.
3. It's fine if you leave bits of the bisque on a ready-made piece unpainted as we will be adding a layer of shiny transparent glaze so any unpainted bits will become shiny white.
4. The ornaments start at £30 for two but any ready-made items are available to purchase with glaze and firing. You could ask for one piece for £15 but three colours might be a bit restricting. Talk to us about what is in stock and what you would like to take home.
5. The star plate is a great surface for handprints because it is flat but we have other things that are flat - like tiles, plates and even mugs if it's a small hand. Flat surfaces work well for painting images and patterns as well.
6. Click on this link to choose your underglaze colours.
Paying for Clay at Home, Glaze at Home, and Painting on Ready-made Pottery at Home
There are several ways to pay:
* Phone us on 01360 770106 to pay by card.
* Post a cheque or put an envelope with cash through our letterbox. It is essential you include your name so we know who paid.
* Pay directly into our bank account,
please use your name as a reference so we can identify your payment:
sort code 826932
account no 50105403
* Pay by PayPal by choosing from the options below and then clicking "pay now".
*To pay by card, choose the appropriate button below and it will take you to the payment page.