Bruno Vinel, Ceramics Today editor, demonstrates how to make a planter with minimal materials and tools.
Learn how to make a planter using the technique of pinching a pot. It’s fun and easy to do.
The overall process should take around 30 to 40 minutes, plus the drying time.
You will need air-drying clay and basic tools that you can find at home. For a list of air-drying clay suppliers please visit our page Choose the right clay.
For the tools, you will need:
- A bowl filled with water.
- A tea towel or piece of cloth to dry your hands.
- A small sponge (for instance a baby sponge).
- A knife.
- A membership or access card or a metallic rib to scrap the clay.
- A needle (for instance a large sewing needle, or a small knitting one).
- And a surface to work where the clay won’t stick on (a wooden cutting board or a piece of plywood are the best, but you can use a piece of fabric or newspapers to cover a table).
Through this tutorial, you will learn how to pinch a pot which will form the body of the planter. In the video, Bruno demonstrates the pinching technique and how to fix issues when making a pot, such as uneven rim or wall thickness. When starting with clay, pinching is the most accessible technique, and it can be done by children and adults.
You will then learn how to refine the walls of your planter and get the surface smooth, ready for decoration.
Pinching a pot is the most basic technique for shaping a pottery piece. It was probably the first technique used by our ancestors to make vessels before the neolithic period! And it is still used today in many countries to make pottery vessels.
In this video, Bruno also demonstrates how to roll a coil of clay to make the planter feet. It is recommended to make three feet to allow the planter to stand well. With four feet your pot may be unbalanced…
Once the planter body and feet have stiffen enough to be manipulated but are not completely dry (this clay drying stage is called leather hard; check on the drying progress!), they can be attached together scratching the two surfaces of contact and adding a bit of water.
The planter will have to be fully dry before being decorated. It should take around 24 hours depending on the wall thickness.
Once the pot is completely dry, you will be able to decorate it with acrylic paint and protect it with transparent outdoor varnish inside and outside to make it water-proof.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to apply the varnish, particularly the safety ones. Two or more layers of varnish may be required inside the planter to make it completely water-proof.
You planter is ready for planting a nice succulent plant!
We would love to see your planters! Please share a picture on Instagram and mention @ceramicstoday in your comment.
A safety note: air-drying clay cannot be used to make tableware or food-safe vessels. If you plan to pinch a pot and use it for serving food, we recommend you to use a standard clay, follow the same techniques described in the video to make your pots, and get them fired in a pottery kiln.