5 Essential Tools for Ceramic and Pottery Making

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5 Essential Tools for Ceramic and Pottery Making

Working with clay has many rewards for the person who enjoys making ceramics and pottery. There is a lot of freedom in pursuing this craft as a hobby or a business because of the versatility it offers. One of the nice aspects of creating ceramics and pottery is that the choices for things that can be created are limited only by the person's imagination who is creating them. But even big dreams can come to a screeching halt if the crafter needs a specific tool and happens to find that they are without it. This is not only disappointing, but it can ruin a project that is being worked on as well.

Air can make the clay hard and crumbly if it is left exposed for too long, while artists have to hunt for a makeshift tool that allows them to continue working. That is why it is important to have a variety of tools that are considered essential to this craft close by in case they are needed. Ceramic and pottery tools are located at craft stores and online at eBay. Knowing which tools are essential for designing various items is necessary in order to avoid disaster.

Tools of the Trade

There are various tools that are needed when working with clay that are pretty essential to being able to maintain or create a finished product that is both satisfying and appealing. It is a good idea to have these tools available because one never knows what can happen when they are either throwing pottery or creating it by hand. Either way, it is best to be prepared for any scenario.

Some tools are meant to be used by hand, like sculpting tools and moulds, while other tools are necessary to finish a piece to the desired end result, such as a potter's wheel or a kiln. There is a large variety of tools that can be used when working with clay, and the tools needed by potters can vary depending on the project they are working on; however, there are five tools that are essential to almost any craftsman.

Tool Overview

Pottery tools are used for a variety of different purposes. Some tools are considered to be essential in the pottery and ceramic crafting arena. Some of these types of tools are used for sculpting the material, and others are used for moulding them. Some of the tools that are considered to be essential are used during the process of throwing pottery on a wheel or working without one. Still, others are considered essential in creating a finished project. How essential these tools are depends on the artists that are using them and how they work with their clay or ceramic material.

Some tools are essential to potters based solely on their individual preferences as well. One such example is the Potter's Needle, which is composed of a long needle-like body and has a handle that can be constructed out of various materials, such as plastic, wood, or metal. These heavy needles are considered to be versatile as it is also frequently used for trimming edges of clay creating while it spins on the pottery wheel. These are only a few of the uses that a tool like the Potter's Needles can be used for. Each person finds their own additional uses according to how the pottery is being formed and what outcome is eventually desired. Other essential tools are listed below.

Tool 1: Ribbon Cutter

The ribbon cutter is a commonly used sculpting tool. This type of tool is very lightweight and often has a wooden or plastic handle that has a thin metal loop or wire on the end. They come in a variety of lengths so that it is very easy to find one that is easy to hold and does not slip when in use.


It is one that is ideal for many general purposes uses, including trimming items that are crafted by hand. This type of tool is an essential one for many artists as the tool is able to make sharp, clean cuts. They are also great for making smooth, even grooves on soft materials. Although the ribbon cutter is a very versatile tool, it should not be used when throwing clay due to the fragile design.

Tool 2: Brushes

Brushes are common tools that potters use in crafting pottery and other ceramics. Bamboo brushes, also known as sumi brushes, are a favourite among many people because they are soft enough to be pliable yet still strong. They are able to hold a lot of water and still have a pointed edge to work with. They come in a variety of brush widths, so it is easy to find one that is great for any project.


One of the biggest reasons why brushes are essential for this type of craft is because of the many things that can be done using a brush. There are various types of brushes that can be used for working on pottery and ceramic items. Brushes are essential in smoothing out the surface of the clay or other ceramic material. They are also used for adding texture and are used in the painting and glazing process as well.

Tool 3: Moulds

Moulds used in crafting pottery and other ceramics come in all different shapes and sizes. They are composed of a strong outer layer that is moulded into various shapes with a hollow inner layer. Clay and other materials are poured or formed inside of the mould, which resembles the form in intricate detail if done correctly when allowed to dry and harden.


People who want to create an artistic piece and do not have the time or maybe the skill to do it by hand themselves often use moulds. Because there are many intricate designs involved in some forms of pottery, creating designs by hand can be very time consuming if a person desires to recreate another object. Ceramic moulds are also an essential item for individuals who create pottery for a living. Being able to recreate pieces that look the same is advantageous, especially when the item that is being created is one that is in high demand.

Tool 4: Clay Extruder

A clay extruder is a long cylindrical device that resembles a cookie or frosting forming mould. The clay or other material is placed inside the end and pushed through the hollow interior with a press that is usually operated by pushing a handle that is attached to the end. The tip of the extruder is what determines the size of material that is formed, and various tips can be added to achieve different shapes and textures.


A clay extruder is an essential item to have for a potter because it enables a person to make smooth elongated pieces. These pieces created with a clay extruder are often used for decorative or utilitarian purposes, such as making a coil pot or making a handle for a pitcher. One of the reasons why owning a clay extruder is valuable is that it allows a person to make a long piece of cylindrically formed clay that is uniform in depth, and there are no rough edges. This is a very important tool for anyone to own, especially if they are a perfectionist.

Tool 5: The Potter's Kiln

The potter's kiln is one that is considered by most pottery and ceramic artists as one of the most essential tools used in this craft. A kiln is constructed typically in a box-like form and uses a high heat treatment to cook the pottery or ceramic material until it is considered to be a finished product. This process of cooking the sculpted art forms is called "being fired".


A kiln can also be used to store handiwork to dry without heat and is also used to finalise the glazing process. The kiln is usually the last step that a piece of pottery or other ceramic material goes through, and it is not uncommon for a piece to be fired more than one time. Once a piece of pottery has been fired, it is unable to be remoulded.

Other Pottery Tools

There are a great variety of pottery tools that are available to meet almost any need of a potter. Some are heavy duty tools, such as items that may be used at some point before, during, or after the piece is handled. For example, a pottery wheel is considered to be an essential tool by people who enjoys this craft because it allows them to make smoother designs that can seem almost impossible to do sometimes by hand.

A pottery wheel allows a person to create a beautiful work of art that is easier to make more uniform. People who enjoy throwing clay rather than making pottery at hand also enjoy the wheel because the process of creating a piece in that way is less time consuming and they have more freedom to do things that cannot be done by hand as well.

On the other end of the spectrum, some tools can be very light and also not considered to be very important by another person who is not familiar with a potter's craft. Even though a small item like a towel seems to be inconsequential, it is indeed a very useful and essential tool for a potter. The table below lists other types of tools used when a person works with clay or other ceramic compounds.

Type of Tool

Notable Characteristics


Various types for earthenware, porcelain, or stoneware


Liquefied form of clay used to attach pieces of pottery together

Colouring Oxide

Used to change the colour of materials used in pottery

This is only a partial list of tools meant to give a people an idea of kinds of other tools are available. There are many more items that can be purchased depending on the type of crafting a person enjoys. These items can be purchased in both new and used conditions.

Used Ceramic and Pottery Tools

For many people, crafting pottery and ceramics is just a fun hobby that they do when they have a spare hour or two every now and then. There is a sense of great relaxation that can come from dabbling in an art form such as this. People are free to let themselves be creative and let their imaginations run wild. Whether a person enjoys using a wheel and throwing pottery, or they enjoy creating a masterpiece by hand, there is usually always a feeling of fulfilment that comes after seeing a newly fired piece come out to perfection.

The one drawback that often comes from taking on a new venture such as pottery is that in the beginning there is always going to be start-up costs. Also, like taking on any other hobby, getting the essential tools that allow a person to begin a hobby does not have to put them in the poorhouse. Buying used tools is a great way to get everything that is needed to start enjoying this craft and still have plenty of money to spare.

One of the best ways to save a lot of extra money is to buy the big ticket items like used kilns. There are also other ways to save money like buying used tools kits that have everything that is needed to begin sculpting a piece of clay. Buying used tools is a great way to start enjoying a fun hobby and keep more money in the bank.

Buying Essential Tools for Ceramic and Pottery Making on eBay

Buying tools for ceramic and pottery making is an essential task that needs to be performed in order to start enjoying this great pastime. One of the great things about buying these tools on eBay is that there is always a wide selection of tools available. There is almost any tool used in this craft that a person can imagine.

Finding what you want is easy on this website as well when you perform a search on the eBay home page. At the top of the home page is a search query box. All you need to do is to type in words that are relevant to the item you are looking for and then click on the search icon. It is okay if you do not know what you are looking for though. If you want to get a lot of options to choose from back in the search results returned to you, type in broad keywords such as "pottery tools" and click the search button icon. Within no time at all, numerous results are displayed for your browsing pleasure.


Creating unique pieces of pottery is easy to do if a person possesses the right tools for this type of endeavour. Depending on whether a person is going to create a piece by hand or if they instead use a pottery wheel to create their masterpieces, there are a lot of tools that are essential to get started. Some of the obvious ones are of course clay and a potter's wheel for people who are throwing clay, but also almost all people who choose to throw clay find that sculpting tools are essential in getting the look out of the clay that they are after. A kiln is also another essential tool that is used to dry and fire a piece so that is becomes durable, finished piece of artwork.

Buying used tools is not only a great way to save some extra money, but it is a great way to get a person who is just starting out off the ground quicker. There are many used tools that can be purchased in order to save some money; however, buying a bigger ticket item at a used price is a one way to get an essential tool at a great price. There are many essential tools for both a novice potter and an expert, which can add a lot of enjoyment and satisfaction to this relaxing hobby.

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