How Do You Make Your Own Pottery Clay?


Quick Answer

Make your own pottery clay by digging up dirt and then separating the clay from the soil particles. This process requires dirt, 5-gallon buckets or containers, water, an old bed sheet or T-shirt, and rope.

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Full Answer

Using a shovel, dig up 10 pounds of dirt, and place it in a 5-gallon bucket or clear plastic containers. If using containers, fill 2/3 with water and 1/3 with dirt. Mix the water and dirt well, breaking up any clumps. Allow the container of dirt to sit for several minutes. As it does, the water rises to the top and the heavier soil falls to the bottom with the clay suspended in the middle between the two.

Pour the top two layers, the clay and water, into a separate container. Once the soil threatens to mix with the clay, set the container down, and allow the clay and sediment to separate again. Continue this process until as much clay as possible is removed from the soil.

Mix more water with the clay in the new container, allow any sediment to settle, and pour out the clay. The more you do this, the more refined and pure the clay becomes. After the final separation of clay and sediment, allow the container with the clay and water to sit for a day so that the clay and water separate completely, and then pour off the water. Repeat this process several times until the water is completely drained off.

Pour the wet clay onto an old bed sheet or T-shirt, knot the ends together with a rope, and tie the ball of clay to a tree. Drain the clay for several days or until the clay retains its shape easily, and then use it or store it in an airtight container.

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