15 Easy Pottery Ideas for Beginners

Jun 21, 2024

Pottery is a fun and therapeutic way to spend your free time. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a wheel or even pottery skills to get started. With air-dry clay, pottery can be as simple as 1, 2, 3. With the help of a few simple tools, such as water or a brush, you can easily create your first pottery masterpiece. Don’t believe us? Here are some easy pottery ideas for beginners that you can try today.

Before you start

The easiest way to get started with pottery is with air-dry clay. As the name suggests, these clays don’t need a kiln or heat to take shape. Usually, it takes around 24-48 hours for this type of clay to harden and remain permanently in shape. 

After you’ve completed a pottery project, you can proceed to paint it. It’s recommended to use acrylic paints to color your project. If your clay is not a neutral color (white, beige, etc.), you might want to cover it with a white base coat before coloring. 

Afterward, it’s time to create that glossy look for your work. This look is created through a glaze, a varnish that adds the finishing touch to a professional-looking piece of pottery. These glazes take additional time to dry, but once done, they will protect the color of your work for a long time. 

These are the important steps of the process you should know before entering a pottery project. Are you ready to discover all the possibilities? Let’s jump right into it!

1 - Magnets

Creating magnets from clay is a great idea to get started with pottery (and to showcase your new skills). The best thing about magnets is that they’re bite-sized projects you can get done in one sitting. 

You can create magnets of various shapes and objects. For example, create multiple small hearts in different colors. Or, try your hands at building a clay model of your pet. Don’t forget to attach a small piece of magnet to your creation once it’s dry and your work is ready.

2 - Spoon rest

Want to have a place for your spoon while cooking? Good news: you can create it yourself. A spoon rest takes little to no effort to create using clay. Simply carve out a horizontal bar (similar to how a chocolate bar looks), add an indentation in the middle that fits your spoon, and voila! 

Don’t let us stop you from letting your imagination run wild. You can also create spoon rests that resemble other objects, such as a leaf, an animal, and more. 

3 - Soap dish

Avoid leaving your soap precariously in the bathroom, and create a soap dish using clay. A soap dish is an easy pottery idea that you can make using 1-2 easy shapes. To make this, you need a bottom piece and a “border” piece to wrap around it. Join these two parts together with water, and decorate it as you wish. 

If you’re feeling fancy, you can also create a lid for the dish. Simply follow the same steps as above, but make the border piece a bit longer.

4 - Jewelry

One of the most creative pottery ideas that are also practical is creating jewelry. Create and own various pieces of custom-made jewelry using pottery clay. It’s simple, and the possibilities are endless. Take inspiration from current fashion trends, or just go off the grid with funky patterns of your own imagination.

Start with something as simple as a ring. Once you’ve become more confident, you can move on to earrings and bigger pieces such as bracelets or necklaces. 

5 - Spoon

Banking on the idea of a spoon rest, you can also make a pottery version of a spoon. The best part about this idea is that you can literally use your existing spoon to create its perfect clay replica. Simply take a spoon, press it onto the clay, cut it out using the outline, and there you have it. 

Making clay spoons requires no techniques, which can be a perfect project for kids. If you’re planning to make pottery with your little ones, consider spoons as an idea!

6 - Plates

Speaking of cooking utensils, this list wouldn’t be complete without plates. Due to their shapes, plates are perhaps the easiest project for beginner pottery crafters to take on. You can choose to test the waters by making the basic plate: a relatively flat circle accompanied by curved rims. 

However, the best thing about clay is that you’re in charge of the results. That’s why you’re free to design the perfect plate with all the functionalities that your average platter doesn’t have. For example, try to come up with a plate that has crevices for your utensils or one that’s anti-spillage. 

7 - Pinch pots / Vases

A pinch pot is the ultimate fun way to create decorations using clay. To make a pinch pot using air-dry clay, start by rolling a ball of clay about the size of a tennis ball. Hold the ball in one hand and press your thumb into the center to create an indentation (hole). Use your thumb and fingers to pinch the walls of the pot, rotating it as you go to ensure even thickness. 

Continue pinching and shaping until the walls are about 1/4 inch thick and the pot has a smooth, even shape. Once satisfied with the form, let it dry completely according to the clay’s instructions, usually 24-48 hours before optionally painting or sealing it. Pinch pots are also the perfect way to craft small vases - cute little decorations for your house or room. 

8 - Bowls

You definitely don’t need to master wheel throwing to create bowls. In fact, you don’t need a pottery wheel at all. Making bowls with air-dry clay is totally possible. To create a ceramic bowl, you can roughly follow the same instructions as if you’re creating a pot; just make sure to create a bigger opening on top. 

Bowls require some patience to make. Perhaps that’s also why they’re one of the most rewarding ceramic ideas, as they can be used daily.  

9 - Candle holders

Are you a proud owner of a candle stash? Try making some clay candle holders! To create a candle holder, start by rolling a piece of clay into a smooth ball. Flatten the ball slightly to form a thick disc base. Next, roll another piece of clay into a coil and shape it into a ring that fits the base. 

Attach the ring to the center of the disc by gently pressing and smoothing the edges where they meet. Ensure the inner diameter of the ring matches the size of the candle you intend to use. Smooth any seams and refine the shape using your fingers or sculpting tools. Wait for it to dry, apply paint and glaze, and you will have a shiny, new candle holder. 

This is just one of the many ways you can create a candleholder. If you need some guidance, consider getting a clay kit with instructions, like this croissant-shaped one from Pott’d. 

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10 - Mugs

Perhaps one of the most popular pottery ideas is the famous mug. Use the same method as the pinch pot, add the handle on the side, and you have yourself a brand new mug. 

11 - Picture stand

Got some Polaroids lying around? How about creating a picture stand to hold them? Picture stands are a great way to adorn your photos and bring about a new layer of fond memories to the moment. 

The basic components of a picture stand include a flat surface on which a slit stands to hold the photo. You can choose to add a supporting piece in the back, like a traditional photo frame, or some extra decorations around the base.

12 - Clock

Did you know that you can create a functional clock from clay as a beginner? Complete with instructions, Pott’d Create-a-Clock kit can help you bring this idea to life. The kit includes clay, all the clock hands, instructions/inspiration, and even batteries! Create your very own clock from ceramics with this kit. 

This kit is also great as an activity amongst friends and family, as everyone probably has their own idea about how a clock should look. We promise you there will be no shortage of fun and laughter. 

13 - Piggy bank

Are you looking to save more? Start with a piggy bank! Are you not happy with how the other store-bought piggy banks look? It's time to create your own! Simply create a closed object with an opening big enough for coins and bills. Your piggy bank can take the shape of a pig or any other things you can think of, e.g., fruits and vegetables, a carton of milk, etc. 

14 - An animal

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Pets can be handy and readily available “muses” for your pottery-making endeavors. So why not create a clay model of your cat, dog, or guinea pig? Moreover, you don’t always have to stick to pets. Other animals, like penguins, are also perfect models for a new potter due to their round shape. 

Wow everyone by partnering with the artist in you to make a clay rendition of your pet or your favorite animal!

15 - Mold

Clay is also perfect for molding shapes. For example, if you’re a new parent who wants to capture the footprint of your children, clay is the perfect choice for you. What could be more meaningful than crafting a permanent mold of your favorite person’s attributes? 

Pottery for beginners

Starting a new hobby can be daunting, especially if it’s considered an ancient craft that requires meticulous work like pottery. As with any other hobby, all you need is practice and patience. 

Sometimes, a little bit of help is needed. That’s when products such as Pott’d can really help. Pott’d creates pottery kits that can come with instructions to help you create your first pottery work flawlessly. All the materials you will need for a successful project are provided in this kit, and you never have to worry about imperfection.

See more products from Pott’d

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