09/19 DIY Projects

DIY Clay Bowl


I learned about pinch pots in pottery class, which are an easy way to make clay bowls in the sense that they don’t require a lot of skill or materials, but to bring this craft home where most of us don’t have a kiln, air dry clay is the best option though it can be finicky.  It has more of a putty texture and doesn’t smooth as easily, but this can be handled by frequently wetting your hands as you work with the clay to keep it moist, so keep that in mind for this DIY.  It takes patience and a lot of love, but it’s equally cool and an easy first step in hand building clay projects!

air dry clay
clay rib
-paint brush


Use both hands to roll the clay into an orange sized ball.


Press your thumb into the center of the ball and pinch the clay while rotating it with the other hand.  Start near the bottom then work your way up with the pinching as you rotate.  Pinch in a more upward pulling motion for added height to the bowl.


Use a clay rib to smooth out the inside and the edge of the bowl.  You might also want to use it to remove excess clay in some parts that are thicker or come up higher than the rest of the bowl.


Set the bowl down on a flat surface to flatten the bottom.  My set-up here is a cake stand on top of a lazy susan (resourceful!)  Any surface that rotates will be the most helpful, though not entirely necessary if you can deal with manually rotating the surface when neeeded.


Continue smoothing out all the surfaces of the bowl with your fingers, making sure that your hands and the clay are especially wet for easier smoothing.  Once smoothed, let the bowl dry completely for at least 24 hours.


The fun part is always personalization, meaning paint that thing however you want.  I used a dry-brush technique to make streaky brush strokes.


After dipping the brush into the paint, I wiped off the excess paint with a paper towel.


I brushed horizontal strokes onto the bowl all the way around without caring about being neat.  I’m having a moment lately with that organic look and texture.  It not only looks very cool but helps me get away with being messy on purpose, success!





Clay trinket dishes and bowls have and always will be my jam.  It’s no wonder I have an immense love for pottery, and while this DIY couldn’t replace the thrill of throwing on a wheel, it’s cool to be able to do this at home.  Naturally the dream is to get a wheel at home…  That’s more likely for whenever we get more space, my favorite solution for getting more stuff, ha.

Have you made pinch pots before?  Do anything with clay in general?  I think I’d say clay is my favorite material to work with!

22 comments on “DIY Clay Bowl”

  1. I love this DIY! I would love to delve into pottery at some point, since I do love making things and this feels like such a manageable way to start getting into it!

    x Maria

  2. I truly thank you for this post. I have wanted to try my hand at clay for a long, long time. You inspired me to have some fun with it. Also, thanks for being so detailed. Keep up the great blog!

    1. You gotta just try! I made one before this that didn’t turn out so great but appreciated it for the practice ;)
      Thanks so much, Nicole!

  3. Fantastic! I may have to do this, though it has been a while since I’ve done anything at all with pottery (as in, when I was a little girl). Thank you for a lovely project. {By the way…can you tell me where the mirror in the pictures is from?}

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