What Kind Of Clay Use For making Pottery At Home?

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Before purchasing equipment, it is prudent to choose which clay to use. There are numerous types of clay from which to pick. Choose Clay Use For Pottery and which is best

When I first began making pottery, I was fascinated and bewildered by the variety of clays available.

I used the clay that was provided to me at the pottery workshop until I understood the distinctions and began experimenting with various clays.

Following extensive experimentation, research, and question-asking, I finally know an easier method for selecting clay. Let me to share what I’ve learnt to make selecting clay easier. Here is a list of the five most important characteristics a new potter should consider when selecting a clay.

What Kind Of Clay Use For Making Pottery Consider The Following Tips

What to Consider While Choosing Clay

1) Kind of Clay Substance (Earthenware, Stoneware, or Porcelain)
2) Texture (Smooth, course, or in-between)
3) Cone size (Firing Temperature)
4) Color (What effect are you looking for)
5) Price (Good Price Point for beginners)

1) What Kind of Clay Body To Use

Clays are differentiated by the minerals they contain, their plasticity (stickiness and workability), the size of their platelets, and their firing temperatures.

There are three fundamental varieties of clay bodies available to beginners: earthenware, stoneware, and porcelain. These are some factors you should consider while selecting clay.


  • This clay is suitable for wheel throwing and handbuilding since it is easy to manipulate and shape.
  • It is utilized for flowerpots, bricks, and other outdoor building since it is relatively porous. If it freezes, water cannot become trapped and cause cracks.
  • With earthenware, practically anything is possible. To make anything waterproof and food-safe, simply glaze it and wash it by hand.
  • It is typically made thicker since it chips more easily than other varieties of clay.
  • Essentially, this clay is a low-fire clay. The majority of earthenware is bisque-fired at cone 04, 1945 degrees Fahrenheit (1063 degrees Celsius), and glaze-fired at cone 05, 1888 degrees Fahrenheit (1031 degrees Celsius), or cone 06, 1828 degrees Fahrenheit (998 degrees Celsius).


  • Is more durable and resistant to chipping than earthenware, making it more popular for dinnerware and mugs.
  • Stoneware can be used to create practically anything, depending on the amount of sand or grog added.
  • Their hues include white, buff (sand), brown, and various shades of gray.
  • There are two firing temperatures for stoneware: Cone 5 at 2167 °F (1186 °C) through Cone 6 at 2232 °F (1222 °C). And High fire, which is often Cone 10 2345 degrees Fahrenheit (1285 degrees Celsius)


  • Authentic porcelain has a buttery texture and is less forgiving than other clays.
  • Porcelain is regarded as the most regal of all clay varieties when it comes to pottery and ceramics.
  • It rapidly absorbs water, which can significantly alter its workability.
  • I’ve thrown with cone 5 porcelains, including Porcelain 16, Hagi porcelain, and Porcelain Five. Even though these porcelains are not actual porcelains, I still enjoy throwing with them.
  • You can also obtain porcelain with a medium fire. Mid fire range, which is normally between 2167 °F (1186 °C) and 2232 °F (1222 °C) on the Cone 5 scale. Furthermore High fire, which is often Cone 10 2345 °F (1285 °C)

2) Which texture is optimal for you?

When selecting clay, it is important to know whether it contains grog (ground-up burned clay), sand, both, or neither. Your pick will depend on the purpose of the clay and your level of expertise.

Building using clay

When sculpting by hand, the clay should contain a substantial amount of grog or sand. Several factors contribute to this result:

  • When you develop your masterpiece, you require a clay with the ability to stand on its own. Stoneware and Earthenware are both excellent building clays.
  • Throughout the process of scoring and putting clay pieces together, you do not want the clay to sag or even collapse.
  • It is best to select a Hand Building Clay that contains more grog, sand, or both, as a lower shrinkage rate helps prevent cracking.

The Clay Used to Spin the Wheel

The clay should be as smooth as possible on the wheel without collapsing. The first clay I threw on the wheel was stoneware with grog; it felt like throwing with fine sandpaper.

I propose a stoneware or earthenware clay that is comfortable and smooth, has sufficient texture to play with for hours, and does not irritate the hands after hours of throwing. When it comes to tossing clay on a wheel, porcelain is the superior material. The clay feels great against my hands, but it is less forgiving than stoneware and earthenware clays.

The instruction label will show whether or not the clay contains sand or grog. Some may even call it Heavy Grog

3) What Size Cone Do You Require?

The instructor of my first pottery class stated, “You will be using Cone 10 clay.”
I inquired, “What is a Cone?”
The instructor responded, “A Pyrometric cone measures the maximum temperature to which your object can be burnt in a kiln.”
While selecting clay, it is imperative to determine the cone size. The firing temperatures of each type of clay may dictate the type of kiln you need.

What temperature do you intend to fire to?

The cone size of your clay should match the cone size of your glazes since clay and glaze can expand and contract together, making them a precise fit and food-safe. Essentially, there are three distinct temperature ranges. Before purchasing clay, it is essential to know the kiln’s firing temperature and the cone size of your clay body and glaze.

Low Flame

Low Fire temperatures range from Cone 022 (1087 degrees Fahrenheit or 587 degrees Celsius) to Cone 2. (2088 degrees F or 1142 degrees C ) The most well-liked firing range is Cone 04 through 06.

Mid Fire

Mid Fireranges between Cone 3 (2106 degrees F or 1152 degrees C) to Cone 7 ( 2,262 degrees F or 1239 degrees C ) Cone 5 and 6 is the most favored fire range.
Mid-fire is popular due to the variety of glaze colors available and because it is acceptable for dinnerware. When selecting mid-fire clay, ensure that the number does not begin with a zero. The clay or glaze will melt in the kiln if it has a low melting point.

High heat

High Fire runs from Cone 8 (2280 degrees Fahrenheit or 1249 degrees Celsius) to Cone 10 (2,345 degrees Fahrenheit or 1285 degrees Celsius), with Cone 10 being the most popular.
This clay is stronger and more durable than clays with a lower firing temperature. If mid-fire or low-fire clay is high-fired, it will bubble, deform, and even melt in the kiln.

4) Selection of Colors

Today’s clay is available in a variety of hues, which is one of its greatest advantages. These are some possible color options to consider.

  • White – If you want your glaze colors to pop, white is a good choice. The hue tends to become more vivid. White clay does not stain clothing or anything else for that matter, making cleanup easier.
  • Sand/Buff – When it comes to the vibrancy of glazes, the color Sand/Buff is extremely similar to white because there is not much of a difference. While buff clay is wet, it appears quite dark; yet, once bisqued, it has a light buff hue that does not interfere with the glaze colors.
  • Red – If you appreciate working with deep, rich colors, red is an excellent choice. Red is attractive with a clear matte, satin, or glossy finish. As a result of their iron concentration, darker clays will stain your clothing.
  • Black – Black clay is a gorgeous color that pairs well with light or white underglazes or on its own with a transparent glaze.

5) Price Point

The amazing thing about clays today is the variety of options and pricing ranges available. Due of the huge amount of practice clay you will go through, I would advise beginners to begin with the less expensive clay.

There are amazing clays in the mid-price category, as well as high-end, high-quality clays, such as real porcelains, which are incredibly beautiful but not forgiving. Currently, I believe that the lower to middle-priced clays are ideal for novices.

Types Of ClayColorPrice
Stoneware (Mid-High)White$40.0-50
Stoneware (Mid-High)Buff$42.00-50
Earthenware (Low Fire)White$35.45-50
Earthenware (Low Fire) Terra Cotta$26.5-40
Porcelain (Mid Fire)White$50-80
Types Of Clay

What to Consider While Choosing Clay

1) Kind of Clay Substance (Earthenware, Stoneware, or Porcelain)
2) Texture (Smooth, course, or in-between)
3) Cone size (Firing Temperature)
4) Color (What effect are you looking for)
5) Price (Good Price Point for beginners)

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