How to Make a Slab Clay Teapot

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You've seen those TV shows where someone makes an ash tray in pottery class for their parent or loved one. Usually it looks nothing like an ash tray. With a few basic skills, you can learn how to make much more.

Things You'll Need

  • Clay
  • Slip
  • Cutting utensil
  • Pottery paint
  • Kiln

Making a Tea Pot.

  • Pound your clay so as to make it pliable yet tough.

  • Roll it out, utilizing a rolling pin or an even round shaft of some kind. Make sure you roll it to at least 1/4-inch in thickness. If it is too thin it could crack.

  • Decide on a pattern. To make a slab clay tea pot in the traditional sense, your pot will end up being square or rectangular. It will look very new-art.

  • Come up with a creative way to make your slab pot stand out. For instance, because it is going to be square, is there an object that you can turn it into? Perhaps you want to make it look like a house, dice, or some other square object.

  • Cut the clay to the proper and equal lengths for each side. This will largely depend on your personal preference, but the standard size is 8"x8"x8".

  • Form your handle and spout by rolling or tubing a rolled-out piece of slab. Again, the length and thickness of the spout and handle are up to you; be creative. But usually you want the handle our spout to be no less than half the size of the tea pot, in this instance, four inches long; and usually an inch to three inches in width. It can be tapered or remain the same size.

  • Mix up some slip by adding water to a bit of clay and stirring. This will act as your glue. You do not want it too runny, so make sure it has a sticky texture to it, but goes on smoothly.

  • Cut a hole in the sides of your slab where the handle and spout will fit, the handle a couple inches down from the top and bottom, and the spout about half way up. By using the base of your handle and spout as a pattern you can trace its circumference on the clay. But make sure when you cut it out to make it slightly smaller. This way you will have a tight fit.

  • Place the handle and spout ends into your holes, add clay around the gaps and paste it over with slip. This will cement the weak gaps together.

  • Cut a hole in the slab that will be used for the lid. A common mistake is to assume you will use the whole top slab as your lid. This will not work. The lid you cut out can be any shape but make sure it is no more than half the size of your top, so, again, 4".

  • Cut out from a slab a similar shape to the lid hole you just cut. You may use the existing piece you removed from the top slab as a pattern or roll it out, but always make sure it is at least 1/4" longer on all sides so it will not fall through.

  • Take a coil of excess clay, about 1/4" in height, and slip it down to the top so that it completely circles the hole for your lid. Again, make sure this lid sits back about 1/4" inch from the inner edge of the hole, so that the lid rests on the formed ledge yet fits snuggly.

  • Make some jagged patterns with your cutting utensils across the inner edges of your slab walls and wherever you will have clay slab joining together.

  • Apply slip to these jagged areas generously and fit the pieces together. Add extra clay, if needed, to fill in any gaps.

  • Take your special pottery paint, or glaze, and paint the piece to your liking. The paint will look different when it is fired so make sure you are aware of the real color.

  • Make sure to paint the inside of the pot and your spout. This may require you to paint it before you attach it, or the use of a thin and long-handled brush.

  • Place it in the kiln and fire it.

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