10 Easy Slab Pottery Ideas & Projects For Beginners

Mastering the art of throwing a pot on a wheel requires persistence and practice. It’s not uncommon for beginners to struggle with creating symmetrical pieces. In contrast, slab pottery offers an accessible entry point, sans the need for expensive equipment or advanced techniques.

To embark on this journey, you’ll only require the following essentials:
* Air-dry clay, a cost-effective and low-maintenance alternative to traditional clay;
* A rolling pin to shape your clay;
* Wax paper for smoothing out creases;
* A craft knife for trimming and shaping;
* A pottery tool kit for additional details.

While air-drying clay eliminates the need for a kiln, you can opt for regular clay if access to a firing service is available. The choice ultimately boils down to personal preference and artistic vision.

With these fundamental tools in hand, here are five slab pottery ideas that cater to all skill levels, from absolute beginners to those looking to refine their craft.

Decorative Leaf bowl

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Create stunning leaf-shaped bowls that exude professionalism with ease, even for beginners. These functional pieces can be used to hold jewelry, pocket change, or fruit in various sizes.To get started, venture out and collect leaves with unique shapes that inspire you. Once back at your workspace, roll out the clay onto a flat surface covered with wax paper. For a more authentic look, aim for a finer thickness of around 7mm to reduce the risk of breaking.Place the leaf firmly onto the clay, then carefully remove it to create an imprint on the clay. Use the tip of a sharp knife to trim along the edge of the leaf and discard any excess clay.To shape your bowl, place the slab into a bowl to dry or use aluminum foil to create a ring and curl the overlapping edges up or down for a lifelike appearance. Allow the piece to dry completely by flipping it over every 24 hours for two days.For an expert finish, gently sand the surface with ultra-fine sandpaper and seal it with outdoor satin sealer. With these simple steps, you’ll be left with beautifully crafted leaf-shaped bowls that rival those of a professional.

Self-draining Soap Dish

While this soap dish shares similarities with the first one, it requires a bit more finesse to execute. To start, select a smaller leaf with a sturdy stem. You may want to roll out your clay thicker as well to ensure a durable final product.Once you’ve cut out your leaf design, place it on a flat surface, but elevate it slightly by stacking it on top of a book lined with wax paper. This will provide a stable base for the next steps.Next, use your modeling tool to carefully hollow out the stem, which serves as the drainage area for your soap dish. Then, taper the furrowed stem over the edge of the book, making sure it only touches the wax paper and not the surface below.If you have access to a bisque fire, consider using it to enhance the durability of your finished product.To add visual interest, you can paint the leaf design, add texture or apply a decorative glaze. Once you’ve added any desired details, coat the entire piece with a waterproof glaze and let it dry.Finally, fire the soap dish again to complete the process.

Textured Cell-Phone Holder Scrolls

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To keep your phone secure while charging, consider using these handy holders. While they can be purchased on Etsy, making them yourself is also a viable option. However, crafting one requires some care to ensure a snug fit for your device.One way to achieve this is by working with clay. Begin by rolling it out onto wax paper to a thickness of approximately 5mm. Next, cut the clay into a rectangular shape measuring 30cm x 5cm. Place a doily or textured material on top of the rectangle and smooth it out.To maintain the scroll’s form, roll either end using a small strip of toilet paper. Then, add more toilet paper on either side to prevent the scroll from unrolling during the drying process. Gently test your cellphone to ensure it fits comfortably within the gap.If you’re looking to create a personalized gift, consider carving the recipient’s name into the finished product before allowing it to dry. Alternatively, you can paint the holder using the same method described earlier and let it air dry.

Slab Flowerpot

Beginners, don’t worry! This flower pot project may require a scoring technique, but it’s still an accessible DIY endeavor that can be easily customized with paint or decorations. Start by rolling out the clay to a thickness of 1 cm. Cut a rectangle measuring 30 cm x 5 cm and a circle with a diameter of 5 cm from the clay. Smooth out the surface using a sponge. Next, score both pieces using a pottery tool to facilitate their joining. Create a thin cylinder of clay, approximately the same length as the base of the pot, and score it for attachment purposes. Mix a small amount of clay with water to create a slip, which will serve as the adhesive for assembling the pieces. Line the areas where the pieces meet with a layer of slip, then place the cylinder on the circumference of the base, scored earlier. Wrap the slab around the circle, ensuring the edges align seamlessly. Smooth out any overlapping edges to seal and secure the area with additional slip, guaranteeing a firm hold. To maintain the planter’s shape as it dries, fill the interior with crumpled kitchen paper. Allow the pot to dry completely before use.

Slab plate

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With a solid foundation, crafting basic plates is straightforward, but as you incorporate more complex techniques to introduce texture and nuance, the process becomes increasingly challenging. However, with practice, you’ll be able to create one-of-a-kind masterpieces that will become treasured possessions for years to come.

To get started, roll out your clay to a thickness of 1/2 to 1 centimeter. Then, use a paper plate as a template and trim the clay to match its circumference. Next, place the slab circle inside the plate mold and sandwich it between a second plate, applying firm pressure to ensure a secure fit.

Allow the mixture to dry completely in the plate mold before moving on to the decoration stage.

Slab pottery cups

While pottery wheels are often associated with cups and mugs, it’s actually possible to create these everyday items using slab pottery techniques as well. One of the most interesting aspects of this process is the opportunity to get creative with the design and shape of your cup. To start, use a rolling pin to flatten a piece of clay into a workable thickness. Next, cut out a circular base for your mug using a simple cutting tool or your fingers. For the body of the cup, roll out another lump of clay into a large rectangular shape. Use a ruler and knife to trim this rectangle into a perfect square or rectangle, depending on your desired design. Once you have your shapes prepared, use a needle tool or toothpick to etch a pattern onto one side of the rectangle, if desired. Apply some slip to the etched surface and wrap it around the circular base, making sure to remove any excess clay as needed. Finally, use your fingers to smooth out the edges and create a seamless join between the two pieces. If you want to add an extra touch of elegance to your cup, now’s the time to attach a handle using a small piece of clay or a wire core. With these steps, you can create a unique and functional cup using slab pottery techniques that will be a staple in any household.

Slab pottery trays

While throwing clay with a wheel can be a swift way to produce certain pieces, it’s not always the most suitable method. In fact, when creating rectangular plates and trays, slab pottery techniques offer a unique set of benefits. For instance, making these types of objects allows for greater control over the final shape and size, as well as the ability to add decorative elements with ease. To get started, begin by rolling out a large, rectangular slab of clay. Next, cut it down to size or shape according to your specific needs. Then, one by one, bend each side of the rectangle to form the desired tray shape. If you desire an extra layer of stability, consider adding feet to your finished product.

Ceramic tray

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Creating ceramic trays is a relatively straightforward process. To get started, simply shape the clay into the desired size and form for your tray. Next, use thinner strips or coils to craft the edges of your design. This versatility allows you to create trays that can be used to store valuable items such as jewelry or keys. Alternatively, with some minor adjustments, these trays can also serve as a functional ashtray. The possibilities are endless when it comes to crafting your own ceramic trays.

Serving tray with handles

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For home cooks, having a large serving tray on hand can be a game-changer for mealtime. But what if you could create one yourself? With some fundamental pottery skills, crafting a custom serving tray that’s tailored to your needs is within reach. The process is remarkably similar to making a standard tray, but with a few key tweaks – think slightly higher edges and the addition of two handles to make serving and sharing easy. The key to success lies in ensuring your finished product meets food safety standards by using a suitable glaze and adhering to proper firing temperatures.

Ceramic baskets

Combining pottery with basic weaving techniques results in a fun and creative process when making ceramic baskets. To start, prepare a suitable mold, such as a bowl or basket, to shape your creation. Next, cut strips of clay to the desired thickness and begin placing them into the mold one by one. For beginners, the plain weave pattern is an excellent starting point, but for those looking for a greater challenge, it’s possible to experiment with more intricate designs using thinner clay strips.

More pottery ideas!

While the previous suggestions may have sparked your creativity, it’s not uncommon to crave even more innovative ways to approach pottery. If you’re still looking for inspiration, we’ve got you covered! In addition to the slab pottery ideas mentioned earlier, our collection of creative approaches includes easy-to-try techniques like coil pottery, cute and playful designs, handbuilding methods that showcase your artistic side, as well as a range of painting techniques to add a pop of color. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to mix things up, there’s something here for everyone.

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