How to make a coil pot for beginners (2024)

Coiling is perhaps the most versatile of the hand building techniques because it allows you to build forms of any design or scale. It’s generally considered to be a slow and contemplative way of working which demands patience and attention to detail more than anything else. There are several methods of using coils but in this coiling project we will use the traditional method of rolled coils.

The right clay – tips

Clay used for coiling must be plastic, to prevent it cracking as you build the form – your pottery supplier will be able to advise on the best type of clay to meet your needs. Using a clay that has 20-30% grog will will increase its strength. Grog is clay which has been fired then ground up. It comes in many particle sizes, from fine to coarse. It is used to reduce shrinkage in clay bodies.
Smooth clays like porcelain are much harder to coil, so only use these for small items that can be built relatively quickly.

You will need

Scraping tools with different rounded edges are especially good for the insides of pots where there may be angles that are hard to get to. Old credit cards or gift cards are perfect for this. You can cut them in the shape of a kidney and work with them as well.
Loop toolsare also really useful for removing large amounts of excess clay to reduce the thickness of the clay wall – a loop which is rounded at one end and pointed at the other is the best choice for the inside of larger coiled pots.
Outline former (see below)
Old Toothbrush
Surface Board or Bat to work on

Getting started – outline formers/templates

Before you start to build your coil pot you it is good to know what shape you intend to build – this sounds an obvious point to make but students often start to coil with no real idea of this and the shape of the pots looks can look unresolved as a result. This is not a necessity but if you are striving for a certain shape and it’s something to keep in mind.

The next step is to make the shape of the outline of the form that you intend to make because this will help you keep control of the shape as you build it.

The best material to use for the former from is thin MDF, which can easily be cut with a strong knife, but thick cardboard or bristol board will also work well.

• Draw the outline shape with a black marker pen – it’s easier to see than a pencil line when cutting out.
• The board should have a level base so that it can sit on the board that the pot’s made on, to keep the shape true.

Begin by forming the clay into a thick sausage shape in both hands. You can actually thin the coil quite considerably this way but only do this until it becomes difficult to handle.

How to make a coil pot for beginners (1)

Roll your coil on a non-absorbent surface – melamine is good if you have some, but whatever you roll on it’s important that the coils don’t lose moisture at this stage.

How to make a coil pot for beginners (2)Roll with the palms of the hands, rather than the fingers which will make marks in the clay. Start in the middle and work outwards, rolling the clay back and forwards until it’s a thickness you’re happy to work with. A 10 mm thickness is about right to start with.

How to make a coil pot for beginners (3)

Roll several coils to ensure you can build your pot in one go, without having to stop to make more. Keep the rolled coils on plastic sheeting and cover with more plastic until ready to use to prevent moisture loss.

How to make a coil pot for beginners (4)Cut the base from a soft, rolled or pinched slab of clay using a cookie cutter to make an accurate disc. Make the base a little larger than required because some size will be lost when the first coil is attached.

How to make a coil pot for beginners (5)Create a foot ring by placing a small disc on the underside of the base slab. The disc can be purpose-made from bisque-fired clay, or you could use a large coin, flat button or a piece of bristol board. Turn the base over and place on a board –leaving the disc in place underneath.

How to make a coil pot for beginners (6)

Attached the first coil, after scoring and slipping the edge of the base section. This will be periodically necessary at stages as the form builds up, but only if the clay is too firm to blend easily. Begin by blending one end of the coil down onto the base carefully.

Scoringa pot or piece of clay means to scratch hatch marks on it as part of joining clay pieces together. Slip generally is used to describe any clay in liquid form. The process is often called score and slip.

How to make a coil pot for beginners (7)

Supporting the form by cupping the side in one hand, carefully blend the coils into one another and onto the rest of the base. Blend the clay downwards using a thumb, finger or wooden tool.

How to make a coil pot for beginners (8)

When the coil has been blended in on the inside of the form, turn it over and repeat the blending process on the outside, taking care not to squash the form. This is easier if you hold the shape in one hand as you blend with the other.

How to make a coil pot for beginners (9)

Remove the disc from the base and very carefully refine the surface using a metal or plastic kidney to remove lumps and bumps and smooth the surface.

At this stage you can use a wooden spatula to paddle the surface of the pot to correct the shape and help compact the clay and ease out any irregularities in the surface if you aren’t happy with the shape.

How to make a coil pot for beginners (10)

Repeat the smoothing and blending process on the inside using a small plastic kidney to remove excess clay.

How to make a coil pot for beginners (11)

Check the shape of your pot so far, by holding the outline former flat on the board the pot is sitting on, then drawing it carefully around the form. It will help if the board is sitting on a banding wheel or lazy susan to do this. If you would like to make any corrections to the form, this would be a good time to do this. By doing this regularly you’ll maintain control over the pot if that is what you are striving for.
Score and slip the rim of the pot, then continue to build up the shape in the same way until it reaches the desired shape and height.

How to make a coil pot for beginners (2024)


How to make a coil pot for beginners? ›

Ahead of time, prepare clay coils by hand or with an extruder. Make sure your pre-made clay coils are covered with plastic to keep them soft - coils dry out very quickly!

What should you do before you start creating your coil pot? ›

Ahead of time, prepare clay coils by hand or with an extruder. Make sure your pre-made clay coils are covered with plastic to keep them soft - coils dry out very quickly!

How thick should the base of a coil pot be? ›

Place your piece of clay on your work surface. Use the heel of your hand to flatten your piece of clay even more. The base should be about ¼ inch in thickness, and at least 3 inches in diameter.

What is the most important technique to remember when building a coil pot? ›

How to do excellent Coil-Building.
  • Start with the biggest pinch-pot you can comfortably make. ...
  • Make it round.
  • The most important thing is an even thickness of up to 2cm at any point.
  • Gently ease it into the shape of the first section of your pot.
  • Set it aside to stiffen up.
Nov 6, 2015

How long should you let a new coil soak in juice? ›

It is a simple process and can save you burning your coil and wick when you first install your new atomizer. Simply add a few drops of e-liquid onto the wicking material of your atomizer head before you install it into your tank. Then after filling your tank leave it to soak for 5 - 10 minutes.

Do you need to score and slip a coil pot? ›

Do You Have To Score And Slip For Coil Pots? If you desire your coils to take their shape both on the inside and outside of the pot, then you will have to slip and score them so that they remain secured on top of one another. If you don't care about the coils being visible on the inside, you can pinch them instead.

Can you coil build with porcelain? ›

Surprisingly, both porcelain and, to a lesser extent, bone china can be used in the different hand-building processes of coiling, slab building, modelling, press-moulding and combinations thereof, providing certain factors such as joining and careful drying are respected.

How do you make a pot step by step? ›

  1. Collecting the clay.
  2. Kneading the clay after removing any small stones.
  3. Shaping the pot using a pot wheel.
  4. Heating the pot to make it hard.
  5. Decorating the pot if needed.
  6. Reheating the pot to make the decoration stick to the pot.

How old is the technique of making coil pots? ›

Coil pottery originated in Central Mexico nearly 4000 years ago and slowly spread north, and I mean slooooooowly. It took nearly 2000 years for coil pottery technology to travel to the area around Tucson, Arizona where the earliest pottery in the United States has been found.

What cultures use coil pots? ›

Coiling is a method of creating pottery. It has been used to shape clay into vessels for many thousands of years. It is found across the cultures of the world, including Africa, Greece, China, and Native American cultures of New Mexico.

What is the hand rule for coil? ›

The magnetic field made by a current in a straight wire curls around the wire in a ring. You can find it by pointing your right thumb in the direction of the current in the wire and curling your fingers. Your fingers will be curled in the same direction as the magnetic field around the wire.

What are the two types of coils? ›

There are two main types:
  • Hormonal coil: IUS. Most types work for 5 years or more. Visit the Contraception Choices website: IUS for more information. ...
  • Copper coil: IUD. This coil can be used for emergency contraception as well as ongoing contraception. Most types work for 5 years or more.
Dec 5, 2023

How do you prepare a new coil? ›

When you're priming sub-ohm coils, begin by dripping e-liquid onto the wicking holes until they're nicely soaked. This keeps the cotton from burning when you first use it. Then pop the coil into the vape tank, fill it with juice, and you're almost good to go.

How to make a clay pot step by step? ›

Place the ball of clay in your left hand. Insert your right thumb into the center of the sphere, stopping about ½” from the bottom. Widen the thumb hole gradually by continuously turning the sphere while you simultaneously pinch the sides. Periodically smooth the walls and reshape the pot as you go.

Where did coil pots originate from? ›

Coil pottery has a long history in the American Southwest. It was first brought to the southwest from Mexico and was developed and changed by the various Indigenous cultures in terms of formation and decoration.

How long should you prep a coil for? ›

The longer you leave it the better, but most coils should be ready to vape after around 5-10 minutes. Due to the viscosity of the ingredients, e liquids with a higher PG content will take less time to saturate a coil. Those with a higher VG content tend to be thicker and will take longer.

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