Porcelain figurines are beautiful collectibles that people have enjoyed for centuries. You can make your own porcelain figurines if you have access to a kiln either at home or at a ceramics shop. Making porcelain figurines can be a simple project or become an enjoyable, somewhat expensive hobby.
Things You'll Need
- Porcelain clay powder
- Pottery tools
Purchase or make your own mold. If you are new to making porcelain figurines, it is recommended that you make your first figurine using a mold that someone else designed. There are many molds for sale at ceramics stores that other people have designed, which are tested and will help you be successful with your first project.
Mix up your porcelain clay, which usually comes in the form of a powder. You can purchase your powdered clay from a ceramics shop or order through a catalog. Porcelain clay comes in a variety of colors and shades. Add water slowly to the powder, mixing it constantly until it is the thickness of heavy cream. The liquid clay is now called slip.
Pour your slip into the cavity of your mold. Molds are made of plaster and are two halves of the figurine that are secured shut by grooves, you can pull the molds apart later after your figurine is dry. Leave the slip in the mold for about 30 minutes while the plaster of the mold absorbs some of the water in the slip and the clay or the outer edges harden. Pour out any slip that is still in liquid form from the center of the mold. Your figurine will be somewhat hollow inside.
Wait another 30 minutes for the porcelain clay to dry and then gently pull apart the mold. The figurine is now referred to as green-ware because it has not been fired in a kiln yet. You should be able to lift ehe green-ware figurine easily out of the mold. Even though the figurine is dry, it is still pliable.
Smooth away all the seams, bumps or imperfections on your figurine using artisan tools. This smoothing and refining process takes a long time. Make sure every imperfection is smoothed, because it will be very noticeable after it is fired. Air-dry the figurine overnight, or longer, until all the moisture is evaporated from the figurine. The figurine will be harder when all the moisture is out.
Fire your figurine in a kiln at temperatures up to 2300 degrees F. The process can take at least 14 hours. Glaze the figurine if you want, and then re-fire it to affix the glaze to the porcelain.