Tools to start with

Image of pottery tools. Photo from Jade Scarlato
Image of a starter kit. Courtesy of Bath Potters' Supplies

If you are potting at home, we recommend you to purchase a beginners activity box. This is a great way of exploring sculpting and hand-building with clay. The box will include air-drying clay unless you have access to a pottery kiln to fire your pieces.

For instance, the box pictured includes 1 Kg of smooth air-drying clay, 1 steel scraper, 1 cookie cutter, 1 rolling pin, 1 rubber smoothing tool, 1 metal loop tool, 1 plunger cutter, 1 fine wood modelling tool, 1 mini potters pin, 1 small Indian wooden pattern, and 2 stamps.

Look at the offers from the following suppliers:

Bath Potters’ Supplies

Pottery activity box including air-drying clay and tools. £17.99 incl. VAT excl. shipping.

The Clay Club

Home pottery kit with air-drying clay, tools and leaflet. From £42.99 up to £62.99 incl. VAT excl. shipping.

Skandihus Studio

At home clay kit with air-drying clay. From £40.00 up to £70.00 incl. VAT and UK shipping.

LaSoeur Potter

Sculpt and paint pottery kit with air-drying clay. £28.00 incl. VAT excl. shipping.

Muddy Fingers Pottery

Home pottery kit with air-drying clay, tools and leaflet. £26.00 incl. VAT and UK shipping.


Home pottery kit containing everything you’ll need to sculpt, carve, paint and seal four smaller pinch pots or two larger plant pots. £39.00 incl. VAT excl. shipping.

Depending on the content of the starter box, you will need to source additional tools and air-drying clay. Have a look at the list of tools you need to get started on this page. Most of the tools can be found or made at home. You will find where to purchase air-drying clay on this page.

For all activities

  • 1 apron. Prefer a waterproof one to clean it after each session.
  • 1 plywood board about 25 x 25 inches to work on. Clay sticks to most surfaces but not so much on wood, plaster and fabric.
  • 1 plastic sheet to protect your work surface if necessary.
  • 1 clay cutting wire. A homemade alternative is a 10-inch nylon wire or cooking thread tied to a large button at each end.
  • 1 potter knife. A homemade alternative is a knife with a sharp extremity.
  • 1 small round sponge for cleaning your pieces. Consider a soft baby sponge that will last forever.
  • 1 large sponge for cleaning the surfaces. Consider a bath or heavy-duty sponge.
  • 1 large bowl with water to wash your hands and the sponges.
    Be aware: do not wash your hands and tools full of clay in the sink, it will block the drain! Instead, wash them in a bowl and dispose of the water in your garden or toilet (flushing it immediately).
  • A piece of plastic to cover your pots while they dry.
  • Clingfilm to wrap and store the clay.
  • Decorating tools such as domestic or natural items that can be pressed into the clay as decoration: stamps, buttons, lace, shells, leaves, etc.
  • 1 set of acrylic paint and 1 medium brush (for air-drying clay).
  • 1 tin or spray of exterior clear high-gloss varnish to waterproof your pots. Choose Ultra-tough, marine quality for boats, yachts and exterior woodwork (for air-drying clay).

Pinched and coiled pots

  • 1 stainless steel flexible palette in the form of a kidney to scrap your pieces.
  • 1 rubber kidney tool for smoothing pieces. A homemade alternative is a hotel access or membership card.
  • 1 metal loop tool to carve pieces.
  • 1 old toothbrush for joining pieces of clay.
  • 1 fine modelling wood tool to finish your pieces. A homemade alternative is a teaspoon, a bamboo skewer, chopsticks, a wooden tongue depressor, or a large lollipop stick.
  • 1 needle tool for carving fine lines. A homemade alternative is a needle fixed into a cork.
  • Set of round hole cutters useful for producing holes in lamps, teapots, etc. Alternatives are metallic straws, small section pipes, etc.
  • 1 fork for scoring when joining two pieces of clay together (when working with firing clay).
  • 1 teaspoon for burnishing the surface of your pots (when working with firing clay).
  • 1 small Surform tool with a blade 65 x 40 mm to shave excess of clay. You can find them at DIY shops.

Slab building

  • 1 wooden rolling pin such as the one for rolling pastry.
  • A set of wooden rolling guides for instance 6, 9 and 12 mm thick and 460 mm long. You can purchase them at a timber merchant or DIY shop.
  • 1 piece of cotton fabric, for instance, an old bed sheet or tea towel, to cover your work board when rolling clay and dry your hands.
  • 1 set of cookies cutter of different shapes.

All the material suppliers listed on our Directory page are offering pottery tools.

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