Make a Ceramic Pottery Mug with a Handle on the Potters Wheel - Beginning Clay / Ceramics Courses | Steve McDonald | Skillshare

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Make a Ceramic Pottery Mug with a Handle on the Potters Wheel - Beginning Clay / Ceramics Courses

teacher avatar Steve McDonald, Excel and Photoshop Geek

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

4 Lessons (26m)
    • 1. Introduction to Pottery Mug Throwing Course

    • 2. Making a Pottery Mug Step 1 Throwing the Mug Body FINAL

    • 3. Making a Pottery Mug Step 2 Forming the Handle

    • 4. Making a Pottery Mug Step 3 Attaching the Handle

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About This Class

Making a mug in ceramics is one of the most satisfying things you can do. In this course, you'll learn how to throw the mug body on the wheel, how to create a handle from scratch, and how to attach the handle and finish your mug. 

Pottery mugs are not exceptionally hard, but completing one and drinking out of your own mug is extremely satisfying. 

Join the course today, and let me show you how to make your own awesome pottery mugs!

Meet Your Teacher

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Steve McDonald

Excel and Photoshop Geek


Learning is easier if you are given the right tools and instruction. In every one of my courses I take you step-by-step through the tools and knowledge you need to accomplish your goals. 

My talent is taking complex subjects (like Exce... See full profile

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1. Introduction to Pottery Mug Throwing Course: hi and welcome to the making A month course how to make a pottery mugs from start to finish . This course is divided into three sections in the first section will make the body of the mug in the second section will make the handle and in the third section will connect the handle to the mug and finish everything off. And when you're done with this course, you'll know exactly how to make your own pottery mugs from scratch with all the parts and steps. So, first, in this little introduction, I want to just show you three examples of mugs that you could potentially make with this technique. So this 1st 1 is kind of a more straight mug you could see as a bit of a flared ram. And this is the exact handle that I'm going to demonstrate for you in the course kind of an I C shape in those little ribs. The second mug is similar, but it's going to have more of a curved bottom, and it also has a little bit of a different styling on the handle that you can see. And then this third mug is just a little bit more of like a tapered neck with a flared rim and ah, little variation on the styling on the handle, a swell you could just see. I put some little kind of dense along the handle to kind of give it a unique look, but that's what the course is going to be about, and I'm really excited to teach you how to make a mug, so I'll see in there. 2. Making a Pottery Mug Step 1 Throwing the Mug Body FINAL: Okay, welcome to making a mug. Step one. In this video, we're going to be throwing the body of the mug. And if you're watching this video, you probably already know how to center and make a bowl or some basic pottery structure, so I won't go all the way into the details. But I still will give you some tips on centering and throwing just to help you along. Also, all focus on bringing things up a little bit taller into more of a mug shape. But the first thing you want to do is wedge. A piece of clay that's about the size of a large apple or slightly bigger than a baseball is kind of a good rule of thumb. Make sure it's free of air bubbles or inconsistencies, and then, when you have your clay wedged up will jump on the wheel and we'll get started. So the first thing you want to do is put your ball of clay on the wheel and give it a little press and then get your hands nice and wet, and I'm actually going to stop for a second and give it an extra good press. While the wheel is not spinning. You want to make sure it's really well stuck to the wheel head so it doesn't come off. And then you're gonna put the palm of your hand on your right hand and the thumb of your hand on your left hand on the clay and start pressing your right hands, pushing in on the side and see my left hand. The thumb is right over the center, some pushing down with the pad of my thumb, and then you'll notice I'm stopping and getting water every couple of seconds. It's really like every 3 to 5 seconds because I'm pressing really hard, and as you press hard, it's gonna basically squeeze you the water off the surface and make you start sticking. So you're just pushing these short increments of like 3 to 5 seconds and then get water. And then we're going to make the hole in the center, embracing my finger. Notice how embrace it with my other hand and my arms were also braced against my body and keep adding water. Then, of course, stop about a centimeter from the wheel head to leave the base of your pot. Then we'll open it up just a little bit. Don't go too far. That's almost too far. But if you go too far, you'll pull it off the foundation that I'm gonna press into the bottom of it with a sponge . You can use just your fingers, but that compresses the bottom of the pot. And then I'm going to drizzle just a little bit of water with my sponge to keep the law stamp. And then we're gonna do the crab claw impressing with my thumb notice. I'm embracing it with my other hand. Had some water when you need to, and you can use your sponge to kind of compress the rim as you go. But mostly you're pushing him with your thumb and just bringing up doing one pass to pull your walls up and compress your room a little bit. Tour is a little bit more water. See how loaded that sponges and I squeeze the water out to keep going. Now we use the sponge down in the bottom instead, and we keep pushing mostly again from the outside so it doesnt splay out into a bowl and compress the room a little bit. Take some water out of the inside. So it's not just sitting there soaking into your clay squeezer a little bit of water on the rim again and then back to using the sponge. My fingers are supporting it from the inside. I'm gonna wet my hands. I'm gonna close it up just a little bit, make it a little more vertical and just continue thinning and you're just bringing your fingers, pressing them together. But not just pushing through the clay or just pushing them to a set distance apart and then coming straight up and off the top takes more water out of the inside to keep that from puddling. And we'll go again if you need to stop and add some water down where you're inside. Hands are conduce that there we go a little drizzle and then keep going and we're going to try and make this fairly thin so we don't have to even trim it on the wheel. Slow and steady all the way up. Leave a little thickness in the room that gives it a little bit of strength and then you can just refine this shape. You see, it got a little dry right there, so you have to be careful about that. You can see where my fingers kind of chattered. And now I'm just gonna kind of try and thin the ram a little bit, Kind of make it a little bit narrower. You don't want it to be super rounded on the top of the rim because it tends to dribble down your chin when you drink out of it. So I'm just kind of tapering it a little bit, but also kind of compressing it, which is just like pushing on it gently to strengthen it. Then we'll give it a little bit of flair outward. You can see I have a little bit of a wobble here, which we're gonna fix in just a second. First, I'm just gonna smooth and take some of that water out of the inside. You don't want to be soaking what? You can't have to go back and forth between adding water and taking water away, smooth everything and then we'll grab our wire won't give it a little cut. So you want to get it like dental floss. So you're gonna hold it really tight, So your thumbs were really close together. Slow your will down quite a bit on. I'm not quite cutting deep enough there. See what I left off. It didn't take it all. See, I go a little further to get nice, even cut, and they could just lift it right off. If it doesn't come off to stop your wheel, pick it off with a needle and will come off. So now we have to refine that rim again, just basically tapering it, using my fingers in the sponge. It's a little tricky because when it's squared off like that, it takes some work to get it tapered again. But just take your time with that, even it out nicely. They were starting to get a good taper on it, but I just need to smooth the very top of it. So that blends. There we go. Close it in a tiny bit, knows I'm wedding my hands when I close it in so I don't stick and make it out centered. Always again, taking water out of the inside. I'm going over the surface with sponge. Sometimes you need to wash your hands a little bit when they get all gunky a little more with this room. I just got to do some really subtle refining to this shape, the walls, the way that the rim flares and a lot of that's personal opinion. And then we can shape the outside with a rib. This is not a necessary part of it, but what it does is takes the slip off of the surface so it will dry faster. It makes it easier to take off the wheel because it's not so slippery, and you can kind of put a little weight line right here underneath the rim. I'll see what I push a little bit harder. See, it just puts that little bit of a weight live, and they're also not necessary, but can be kind of fun and kind of nice. Then I'll even do a little bit of like a bottom lip shape to this rim. Give it a little outward curve, so your bottom lip kind of rests in there, and then we'll stop for a second. Don't grab a shammy. Well, this is a fake sham. It's just a piece of plastic that I tore off a plastic bag and these air awesome to me. They were even better than sham ease. And normally you don't want to have all these little strings on here. You just want a nice, smooth piece. But I'll just tuck those away so they're out of the way. It's not the best piece of plastic. If you can actually cut a square piece, you'll be better off. But you just wrap it like a shammy and you just wrap it over the wall, right on the rim like this. You just do it gently, but see how it just polishes that room. It makes it so smooth and so nice. And then I'll just use my finger toe smooth up a little slip on the inside. But that gives you a really nice grim surface when you're gonna put your lips on, okay? And then we're gonna do a little undercutting to get rid of that excess weight down there and let me bring it around here so you can see it better. Yeah, there we go. And you cut in and you could be surprisingly aggressive with this. It usually makes for a lighter, nicer shape to your pot. Scrape that away and a little finger right here just to smooth that transition. And you're done. You take your wire. Now you want to grab it over the metal and then have the would hit the sides of your hands , spent super slowly and pull with your thumbs. Keep it tightened. Fly all the way through. I just kind of dry off your hands. You can go washing if you need to, and then you can just grab it and lift it off. There's your mug, so we'll set this aside to dry, and we'll start making our handle in the next video. 3. Making a Pottery Mug Step 2 Forming the Handle: hi and welcome back to the making a mug course. This is step to the forming of the handle, and the first thing you want to do is take a damp sponge and wipe it over your canvas surface. What that's going to do is it's gonna keep the canvas from sucking all of the moisture out of your handle on making it dry and crack. E. You just take a small piece of clay and start rolling it out. Actually, this piece is too big, so we'll get rid of a few pieces of it. You really just need a very small piece, and you can distribute your fingers to kind of spread the clay out. And if you get to ah kind of oval shape, then you can kind of balance it on the end and deal like I'm doing here to just kind of even it and make it more round. And then you just gently roll it until it's fairly even. You can have a little bit of a taper. That's fine. I've also got this would. It's just a piece of wood that's kind of softened a little. It's been sanded a little, and I'll show you how I'm going to use that later. And then you're gonna find the thickest spot and you're gonna cut that. And that's gonna be the top of your handle. And then it can taper a little bit where it can be even and you'll find the other end and cut that. It's OK to leave it a little bit long because you can always cut some off later. And then I'm just going to use this piece of wood and I'm just flattening an angle of 45 degree angle on each side and I'll show you a better view of this so that you can kind of see where those angles are. See, it just kind of looks like a roof of a house. Now I'm gonna take the corner of the piece of wood and just press gently into the clay to create just little ribs. And this just kind of gives it some details. Um, decoration, And it also will make the glaze kind of behave better. Sometimes you have to push a little harder. Push too hard, cause you'll smash it just a little like 45 degree angle, just a little indentation and you can be creative with this and make all kinds of different patterns like you saw in some of the monks that I originally showed at the beginning of the course. And now I'm just gonna take this piece of wouldn't use as a ruler to cut the edges off. If they're uneven, they can flip it around, do the same thing on that side. Just makes it cleaner and sharper looking. You can do that free form to you. I do that a lot. It will smooth the edges a little bit where I cut it, lips slipping. This is a fairly dry piece of clay and that can help you to do this if it's what you might need to let it sit and dry for a little while. But when it's like dry enough for you to handle, you can start bending it into shape. You just want to be very gentle and gradual about this being careful not to mush it at all . And then I'm just gonna stretch it into a little C shape, little large, and then you can kind of use your hands to check how the fit is gonna be. And remember it's gonna shrink a little bit. So I want a little extra space there. But this is a three finger mug handle. So that's about right. And then we're just gonna let that handle sit for about an hour or two. Meanwhile, our mug has been drying for probably about 2 to 3 hours, and we want them to be about the same dryness and once they are, will put them together. And in the next video, I'll show you how to put your handle on your mug. 4. Making a Pottery Mug Step 3 Attaching the Handle: Okay, Welcome back to part three of making a mug attaching the handle. This is where the fun part begins, because we gotta put it all together into a finished piece. Now, the important part here is that you should have had the mug body drying for approximately 2 to 5 hours, depending on the humidity and temperature of your room. But it needs to be leather hard, which means it's strong enough that you can pick it up and hold it. But it's not dry. Same thing with handle. The handle will only need to dry for about an hour or so to become leather hard. But it's really important that they're the same dryness. If your handle is much wetter than the mug, then they will shrink at different rates as they dry, and it will crack Okay, so if you need to wrap your handle in plastic while the mug dries or vice versa, do that until you get them both at a nice leather hard and they're both the same dryness and they're ready to attach. So before we get too far, we're gonna want to finish up the bottom of our mug. Now you can trim the mug on a wheel, but you can also just do it by hand, and then we'll also smooth up the edges of our handle. And you just do that like this by just running your hands, your fingers over it and softening that edge. It's very important to do this on that inside edge, because when we cut it with needle, it's gonna leave it kind of sharp. And it might not seem so bad when it's leather hard. But once that's fired and glazed, it will be actually a very sharp edge and could be very uncomfortable to hold. So you wanna definitely soften that up and you just use very light pressure so that you don't ding or most of the rest of the handle and just keep working until it's nice and soft and smooth. Sometimes, if you need a little bit of water to help, then you can do that. But usually it's best to just kind of work it dry like that. Then we can just leave it back where it waas and we'll work on our mug body real quick. So the bottom of our mug is not finished, so we're gonna I need to work on that a little bit. You can do kind of the same thing. You're just using the pressure of your fingers, and it should be soft enough that it's a little bit pliable gonna dent this in just a tiny bit. So it kind of has this outside edge to sit on, not too much. And I'm just smoothing all over all the imperfections. And again, if you need to add a little water or, like, you know, touch your hand to a sponge to get a little moisture, that's fine, but for the most part, you just want to be working with the soft clay. There's a little water just to kind of get extra polished. You can do that. You can also, at this point, write your initials in the bottom of it. I like to use a pencil or a pen like a ballpoint pen. I'm not gonna do that for this video, but just letting you know that that's kind of the easiest tool to use. Use a needle tool. It's kind of sometimes too sharp, and then give it a little pat on the bottom to make sure it's flat around that edge of that room and then we're about ready to put the pieces together. If the body of your mug is very dry, you might want to add some slip and I'll show you that. But first you want to match up your handle to make sure it's gonna fit. And if you need Teoh at this point, tweak it just a little bit, then you can. Or if you have to cut some off for this one, the angle will work better. If I just cut this a little bit like that and I could get that angle better too. Careful, it's not crooked. They're nice and straight. And then you just line that up, make sure it's gonna look really good on. And then what? You're gonna dio ISS? You're going to score the surface scoring just me and you cut little lines into its just. Teoh adds some texture because this texture is kind of kind of work as teeth toe. Hold it to your mug along with some slip that we're gonna use, which is essentially gonna work like glue. So we've got lined up. Now, if you have a very dry pot, you can actually rehydrate a little bit by gloving some slip on there while you're working on your handle and letting it sit. Now, this is a pretty soft mugs, so I don't I don't need to do this, but you'll notice if you have a dryer mug. Just having that slip on there for about five minutes will make it. It'll dry off and all the moisture from that slip will soak into your pot, which is a good thing that's helpful. And then you would just come back and you just scrape that off once it's dry. In this case, like I say, my mug is pretty damp, so it doesn't need that process. I've got everything lined up so I could see where the handle is gonna be attached. And then I'm gonna also score the mug. So you just put little hash marks in there. You can be fairly aggressive with this because you want to have plenty of good teeth there for them to match up. Okay, Now, I'm gonna put some brand new fresh lipped and this is just slipped leftover that I saved from when I was throwing the mug body. And you're just gonna dab that on their generously, and it's just basically your glue. If you don't have that, you can kind of make it. I just mashing up some clay with water, dab it on their pretty generously and then clean off your hands. Good. It's always nice to have this sponge right here. Just get your hands nice and clean. I'll get a better angle here so you can see what we're doing. And then I'm just gonna support the inside of the wall. I'm gonna gently wiggle that handle on there, and I'm not squeezing it hard enough to mash it. But I am pressing into that pretty hard into the clay body into the mug body and get a little wiggle. Just that just like in meshes the teeth together from the scoring and makes it a stronger attachment. Okay, And then you're just gonna look at it from different angles to make sure that straight to make sure that both of the attachments are aligned. Sometimes you get the bottom one is off to the left or the right, and it'll look really weird if you let it dry that way so you can have toe Be careful and just double check it. And then now I'm gonna grab a brush. And this is one of my favorite little techniques. They just have a little bit of water in here and a sponge, and I'm just gonna brush around this and what that does using the needle. Sorry I went off screen there. I'm just using the needle to scrape off any big chunks that have already dried. And then I'm using a very lightly damp brush. You don't want a wet and dripping down your pot, but it's just damp enough to kind of rehydrate. Or to wipe away the extra slip and you'll notice. As I go, you can almost do a little scrubbing. It's a pretty soft brush. You want a soft brush, Otherwise it will actually like scratch into the sides. But I'm just working around these edges. It's just a really good way to smooth, but you notice I depth dip it in the water. That was too much water. I got a little drip there, but I dab it off on the sponge, and that kind of keeps it a little cleaner and a little less wet. Just really keep working. It you can see how it's coming together already. That's just such a really easy and kind of effective way to create really nice transitions between your handle and your pot. I'm even working into some of the grooves to get this slip out just to make it look really good. You can do this with your hands to, or sometimes even with a sponge. But this brush is just so much better because once you do this a little bit, everything will just be it'll just look really professional. Eso just put a couple little finishing touches along the edges here, and you kind of go for a drier and drier brushes together to keep kind of dabbing it off if you need to go. If you haven't cracks down the outside of the mug handle, sometimes that will happen. You can cruise down those gently like this, and that'll just kind of smoothed them up. Fill in the cracks and, by the way, in case I don't say this later, it's really important. Once you've finished your mug like this, you're going to dry it not only upside down, because that will help it drive better, but you're also going to wrap it in plastic for a while. Uh, ideally, if you can leave it wrapped for, like, five days or a week that it's going to ensure that that handle doesn't crack off because the worst thing that could happen is your handle cracking off. But before you do that, you want to kind of tweak it a little bit. If you want it to be a little more year shaped, you can do that. Or if you want to see shape, you just shape it how you want it. And then you're gonna dry it upside down like this and again wrapped in plastic for about a week. Ideally, you can get away with less. But the longer you leave it wrapped in plastic, the mawr the moisture is gonna equalize between the handle in the mug, and you're gonna have much less chance of that handle cracking off. Okay, so that's that's it. That's how to make your mug. And then, of course, you're gonna biscuit, fire it and glaze it however you like, and you're gonna have a really awesome look. Thanks so much for watching. I hope you enjoy this, and I hope you'll run out and practice on your own