How Do You Make A Hello Kitty Mug Out Of Clay?

This article provides a detailed, step-by-step guide to making a cute Hello Kitty mug out of clay at home. With just some basic supplies and polymer clay, anyone can create their own custom Hello Kitty mug to drink their morning coffee or tea out of.

The process will cover everything from preparing the clay and sculpting the Hello Kitty figure to properly firing and glazing the finished mug. By following the instructions here, you’ll be able to make a sturdy, food-safe mug with a charming Hello Kitty design that looks like it came straight from the ceramics studio.

Whether you’re an expert potter or just getting into working with clay, this tutorial breaks down every stage of crafting a Hello Kitty mug. With a bit of time and creativity, you’ll have a fun new handmade mug to use or give as a heartfelt gift.

Gathering Materials

Before starting your Hello Kitty mug project, you’ll need to gather the necessary materials. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Clay – Polymer clay or natural clay like stoneware or terra cotta work best. You’ll need about 1-2 pounds of clay.
  • Clay tools – A variety of sculpting tools like loop tools, rubber tipped sculpting tools, and clay shapers will help shape the details.
  • Rolling pin – To roll out the clay into an even thickness.
  • Paints – Acrylic paints work well for adding color after firing. You’ll want pink, black, white, and red paint.
  • Clear glaze – A clear glaze is necessary to seal and finish the mug after painting.
  • Kiln or oven – A kiln for firing clay at the appropriate temperatures or an oven that can reach at least 275°F.

Once you have gathered these basic supplies, you’ll be ready to start crafting your custom Hello Kitty mug!

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Preparing the Clay

Wedging and kneading the clay properly before beginning your project is an important step that shouldn’t be skipped. Start by cutting off chunks of clay from your block. The size will depend on how much clay you need for your mug. A good rule of thumb is to cut off chunks that are about the size of your fist.

Take one chunk and slam it down hard onto your work surface. Use the palm of your hand to squash the clay. Then fold the clay over on itself and repeat squashing it down. Do this over and over, turning and folding the clay each time. This process, called wedging, will help remove any air bubbles trapped in the clay.

After wedging your clay, form it into a ball shape. Use the heels of your hands to push inward and squeeze the clay. Rotate your hands around the ball as you knead it, continuing to push inward from all directions. Kneading will make the clay softer and more pliable. Keep kneading until the clay is smooth, soft, and has an even consistency throughout.

Repeat this wedging and kneading process with the remaining clay you will use for your mug. Don’t skip this step—well-prepared clay will be easier to work with and help prevent cracking and breakage once your piece is fired.

Shaping the Mug

Once you have prepared your clay, it’s time to start shaping it into a mug form. Here are the steps:

  1. Take a lump of clay about the size of your fist. This will be enough to make a standard sized mug.
  2. Roll the clay into a smooth ball shape by pressing and rotating it between your palms.
  3. Gently press down on the top of the ball to flatten it into a disc shape. This will be the base of your mug.
  4. Using your fingers, slowly pinch the sides of the disc upwards to form the walls of the mug. Pinch evenly so the walls are uniform thickness.
  5. Curve the walls inwards slightly to create the rounded mug shape rather than having straight sides.
  6. Use a spoon or other rounded tool to further smooth and even out the inner and outer surfaces of the mug walls.
  7. Create a nice clean rim at the top opening of the mug.

You should now have a basic mug form ready to sculpt the Hello Kitty design onto.

Sculpting Hello Kitty

Sculpting Hello Kitty’s cute face and details is the most important and fun part of making your custom mug. Here are some tips for getting it just right:

For Hello Kitty’s face, roll a small oval shape out of clay and attach it to the front of the mug. Use your fingers or clay sculpting tools to indent two symmetrical oval shapes for her eyes. Add a small triangular nose in the center. For her mouth, pinch and pull the clay slightly to form an arched smile.

For her bow, roll a thin snake of clay out and attach it to the top of her head, bending it into a bow shape. Pinch the center of the bow gently to define it. Roll two tiny balls for the bow center and attach.

For her whiskers, roll six tiny tapered teardrops out of clay and attach three to each cheek, spacing them evenly. Use a toothpick or clay tool to etch lines into the teardrop shapes to define the whiskers.

For her ears, roll two rounded triangle shapes and attach them to the sides of her head, angling them slightly outward. Use your tools to notch the inner ears for definition.

Refine all features as needed, smoothing seams and sculpting until you’re happy with Hello Kitty’s adorable face! Add other embellishments like eyelashes or rosy cheeks if desired.

Smoothing and Refining

Once you’ve finished shaping and sculpting your Hello Kitty mug, it’s time to smooth over any imperfections and refine the details. This is an important step to create a professional, polished look for your finished piece.

First, use a moist sponge to gently smooth over any seams or cracks between pieces of clay. Apply even, gentle pressure as you blend the clay together into one uniform surface. Pay special attention to any areas that will be visible on the finished mug, like the handle attachment points or the rim.

Next, use clay sculpting tools to refine the details. For Hello Kitty’s face, carefully smooth the edges of her eyes, nose, mouth and whiskers to soften any sharp edges. Gently shape and blend her bow area to create cohesive lines and curves. You can also use a damp paintbrush to softly brush the clay and blend details.

Look over your entire mug and sculpted figure for any remaining rough spots, fingerprints, or uneven textures. Address these by gently massaging with your fingers, smoothing with a sponge, or softly brushing with a paintbrush to create an even surface texture.

Work slowly and gently during this process to avoid distorting the shape. Step back occasionally to examine the overall look. Refining the details and achieving a smooth, professional finish will take some time and care, but it’s well worth the effort for a gallery-worthy mug!

Bisque Firing

After the mug has been shaped and sculpted, it needs to go through a bisque firing. Bisque firing is the first firing process before glazing. This initial firing:

  • Hardens the clay body
  • Makes the piece less porous and absorptive so it can hold glaze
  • Burns out any small air bubbles or impurities

For bisque firing, the temperature is brought up slowly over several hours, often around 200°F per hour. The goal is to reach a peak temperature between cone 04 and cone 06 (1945-2165°F) and hold for 1-2 hours. Slow heating and cooling prevents cracking. It’s important not to exceed cone 06 temperatures to prevent over-firing the clay body.

It’s best to use an electric kiln with a pyrometric cone to measure temperature consistency from one firing to the next. Top-loading kilns work well. Place the mug on stilts or firing posts so air can flow underneath. Once the bisque firing is complete and cooled, the mug is ready for glazing.


After the bisque firing, it’s time to add color and finish to your mug with glazes. Choose glazes carefully, as the colors may shift slightly during the final firing. Neutral colors like white, brown, or gray work nicely for the mug itself. For Hello Kitty’s face and bow, opt for bright fun colors like pink, red, light blue or yellow.

There are many options when applying glazes. You can brush, pour, sponge, or dip to coat the mug and Hello Kitty sculpture. Start with the mug itself, then work carefully around Kitty’s details. Use thin consistency glazes and a small brush for precision. Apply 2-3 thin coats for best results. Leave the bottom unglazed or just wipe a thin glaze on the bottom to allow it to stick to the kiln shelf during firing. Make sure glazes don’t pool too thickly anywhere, especially on thinner areas like Kitty’s ears.

Read the manufacturer’s instructions for proper firing temperature and any special considerations. The kiln’s final firing will melt and fuse the colors to the clay, making a durable mug that’s food-safe and ready to enjoy!

Final Firing

The final step in creating a Hello Kitty mug is to complete the final firing process. This second firing hardens the glaze and gives the mug a glossy finish.

Before firing, make sure the glaze has fully dried per the manufacturer’s instructions. Carefully load the mug into the kiln, resting it on stilts or kiln posts to avoid direct contact with the kiln shelf.

Follow the temperature guidelines provided by the glaze manufacturer, generally around 2,100°F. Ramp up the kiln slowly, around 200°F per hour. Hold at the peak temperature for 10-15 minutes before allowing the kiln to cool down naturally.

The longer firing and higher heat will melt the glaze into a smooth, glassy texture. Carefully remove the mug once the kiln has fully cooled. The Hello Kitty mug is now ready to be filled with your favorite hot beverage and enjoyed!


To create a handmade Hello Kitty mug out of clay, the key steps are shaping the basic mug form on a pottery wheel or using handbuilding techniques, sculpting the Hello Kitty figure and features, smoothing and refining the shapes, bisque firing, glazing for color and texture, and a final high temperature firing to harden the clay. Proper clay preparation and taking time with the smoothing and sculpting steps helps ensure the fired mug comes out with clean, crisp lines and recognizable Hello Kitty detailing. Glazing takes some trial and error to find the right color combinations but can really bring the mug to life. With some patience and practice, clay is a very versatile material for creating custom pop culture-themed pottery.

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