Throwing may be the most mesmerizing step in the process of making pottery, but it’s not the last. Once you’ve finished throwing, it’s time to adjust and/or get rid of the extra clay, a procedure known as trimming.
Besides skill, the secret to doing it well is to have a full arsenal of pottery trimming tools at your disposal. We’ll give you some pointers!
For Cutting and Marking
We wouldn’t recommend blindly removing whatever clay appears unnecessary. Instead, use tools specifically made to help you measure and trim with exactness.
Occasionally, you need something tiny and sharp to ensure your cuts are precise if you only need to remove a small amount of clay. They could also make spots or holes that indicate the clay’s thickness or where to put embellishments. Consider a diverse set of carvers so that you have ample choices for the shapes and sizes of your cuts.
2. Needle Point Tools
Do you want to make the marks or holes deeper? Keep needle points among your pottery trimming tools. The points are thin and long, perfect for pushing through extra thick layers. Artists who like to create detailed imagery would also appreciate how great the points are for drawing on the clay.
3. Hole Cutter
Maybe you need wider holes in the clay, especially if you want to encourage ventilation or add string, rope, handles, or other items to make your pot easy to move or hang. Hole cutters are the ideal pottery trimming tool for that. Invest in a set with four different hole sizes to suit any creative vision that may occur to you.
When your cuts need to be bigger, knives are more efficient. With these, you can easily slice off dense areas of excess clay–perhaps after using a carver or needle point tool to show exactly where to cut! Go for a set of two knives with long and short blades to better suit a wide range of pot sizes. The smaller one is also suitable for making artistic carvings.
Sometimes, you just need to make one big, clean cut all the way through the clay. Add a slicer to your list of pottery trimming tools. Whether you’re making slabs or tiles or simply need to separate the pots’ parts, this will do the trick. You can even adjust the handle depending on how large the slice should be.
For Smoothing and Scraping
The clay’s quality and shape are never perfected by throwing alone. The right pottery trimming tools will let you complete your creation without leaving behind any unwanted lumps or rough spots.
6. Silicone Ribs
If all you want to do after throwing is to make the pot as pristinely smooth as possible, grab a silicone rib. By applying it to the clay, you’ll quickly erase fingerprints and blend every area together to make a flawlessly cohesive surface. This ensures that the pot is just as satisfying to touch as it is to see.
7. Rubber Tip Pens
Do you have trouble making some parts as smooth as you’d like during the throwing process? Rubber tip pens can fix that. With a light hand, they’ll smooth out any rough or uneven areas. If you want to spice up your pots with some color, dab some paint on the pens and spread it on the clay. Get tips with a variety of shapes and sizes to keep your artistic options wide open.
8. Sponge Holder
Most of the pottery trimming tools on this list focus on the exterior clay, but let’s not forget the interior. During the creation process, pots commonly fill up with excess water and other materials. A sponge holder lets you soak up the water and gently scrape out other items without risking the interior shape. With a little pressure, it may even smooth out any uneven areas you see in there.
For Sculpting and Texturing
Many artists would argue that the way you sculpt and texture a piece is what truly defines it. You need pottery trimming tools that will aid you in bringing out the unique character of everything you make.
9. Ribbon Sculpting Tools
Since ribbon-making is one of the most popular ways to beautify clay, ribbon sculpting tools are a must-have addition to your pottery trimming tools. Not only do they refine your pottery by removing excess clay, but in the hands of an expert, they can make fascinating drawings and embellishments with varying depths. They may also help you design handles or feet.
10. Feather Wire Tools
Many people love the feel and aesthetic of feather texturing, so consider stocking up on feather wire tools. The small bristles achieve a subtle yet stunning effect, making your pottery seem tastefully worn and, therefore, imbued with the wisdom of history or experience. Alternatively, they simply produce great contrast for smoother areas!
Any veteran clay worker would say that a shaver is an essential pottery trimming tool. For freshly thrown clay, it gives you another way to add interesting texture to a pot. However, it’s also useful for old and/or leather-hard clay, as it helps you get rid of dry areas so that the clay becomes softer and more malleable.
12. Serrated Scraper
Name your need for finishing your pottery, and the serrated scraper can handle it. The edges are designed to help you scrape or cut away any clay that you don’t need, in addition to carving the shapes and textures that your heart desires. Like the shaver, it’s also excellent at softening leather-hard clay. Regard it as the jack-of-all-trades in the world of pottery trimming tools.
Grow Your Collection of Pottery Trimming Tools!
A great set of pottery trimming tools can transform your clay-working sessions. When you have what you need to give each piece the finishing touches that it deserves, you’ll be happier and more confident about everything that you create. Why not continue that streak by looking for even more crafting tips and ideas? We have more than enough to keep you busy!
With a bachelor’s degree in history and several years of professional writing experience, Ashley Morales believes there’s a story in everything. It’s her passion to tell each one that she can.
For Ashley, the home is a sanctuary. It’s where she works, rests, and spends time with her family. She believes that everybody should feel the same about their own homes, which is why she loves contributing to That Sweet Tea Life!