Making a pottery bowl is a very basic and easy project to do. It takes about one-two hours to make one. The size of the bowl depends on how much clay you use; the bigger the amount, the bigger it will be. Completing this task can earn you 50 cents per bowl (the price for an item at my pottery class Singapore), depending on your final piece itself.
Note that you can make this project at home, but it would be better if you have a pottery wheel. It makes the job faster and easier. Also, if you don’t have one at home, there are some studios nearby where you can rent one for an hour to complete this project.
For those who have been to Japan, you would have seen many cosplayers using a bowl as their makeup-brush holder. Therefore, this project is not just for you but also for those who want a simple and easy way of putting a vase in the living room. This is an especially good gift idea if there’s going to be a birthday party coming up, where you can give it to the host/hostess as your present.
You will need:
- Lots of clay. You can use whatever type of clay you prefer. Normally, the mixture would be 1/3 to 1/4 of water content to allow for easy handling and shaping
- Bowl mold (for making a circular-shaped bowl). This item is optional. The bowl mold will make it easier to shape your bowl into a circular shape though
- A piece of cloth, to be used as a surface for your clay and tools (like the paddle) to rest on (this is also optional)
- A roller pin, which is like a big rolling pin made from wood or plastic. This item will help you flatten out the clay into equal thickness. If you will use clay that contains a high amount of water, you will need this tool
- A paddle for prodding and moving the clay
- Water spray bottle. The water will help with smoothening out your bowl’s surface or part of it
- Piece of plastic for keeping the finished product safe (optional)
- Cling wrap
- A table (for making an oblong-shaped bowl)
1. Make a ball of clay, about the size of your fist. Begin rolling on one side of the ball to make it longer and thinner in shape. Do this slowly so that you can control how thin or thick you want it to be. It would be best if you can have it half a centimeter thick. The finished product should look the size of an average plate.
2. The next step is to place your plate-shaped clay onto the cloth that you have prepared for your clay and tools to rest on. Then, flatten it by using your roller pin (if there are any uneven parts, use the rolling pin to flatten those bits).
3. Place your bowl mold upside down on top of the clay (this is where the cloth will come in handy as it absorbs most of the moisture from your clay). Carefully, but firmly press onto it and make sure that you cover all outer edges and corners. Then, flip it back to its original position.
3. Cut out any excess clay on the sides of the mold (you want equal thickness around the bowl). Use your roller pin to do this if there are any uneven surfaces or dirt bits left on the surface of the bowl. The water spray bottle will help you smoothen out these parts of the bowl as well. This step is optional as some people prefer to leave it as it is, but if you want a better-looking bowl then this step is essential.
4. After completing the previous step, wet your hands and begin grabbing onto one side of the mold and slowly pull them apart from each other so that you have two halves. It will look like a clay bowl that has been sliced into two (like you see in cartoons). If some parts of the clay are stuck onto the mold, use your paddle to peel it off.
5. Carefully remove your finished product from the mold and place it on top of another piece of cloth (the paddle comes in handy again as you can use it to remove the bowl from the mold). Once again, flatten out any uneven surfaces or dirt bits with your roller pin. If you are not sure about how to do this correctly, this link will show you.
6. Grab onto one side of your bowl and rotate it so that there is an even thickness all around. You can use your paddle to help you with this.
7. Now that the thickness of the bowl is evenly distributed all around, grab onto one side and place it on top of another piece of cloth. Then, using your roller pin again, flatten any uneven surfaces or dirt bits until you have a perfectly flat surface all-around your bowl.
8. Spray water onto the bowl’s surface using the water spray bottle. then, use your roller pin or paddle to smoothen out any uneven parts of the bowl until you have a perfectly flat surface all around it. Give it some time to dry before moving on to the next step.