How To Decorate Your Home with Ceramics

How To Decorate Your Home with Ceramics

If you’re looking to get some new home decor in your exact style, paint-your-own-pottery can be a great solution! Make your version of a designer piece, paint with glazes that match your home’s
color scheme, or simply choose an item you need and paint it with no plan. This art can be fully functional, an investment in both a good experience and a lasting utility.

In your local studio, you will notice there are tons of options to choose from. Seasonal decor, kitchen essentials, bathroom accessories, anything you need. For small touches that bring life to a home,
like spong holders and olive oil bottles, PYOP is more personal than anything you can buy in a store or online. You can also completely customize the item to your style.

One very cute and special approach to decorating with PYOP is to paint an item with your loved ones. If you want to paint mugs with your partner, pick out colors that match your kitchen and surprise
each other with the design. Or, give your children a color palette and let them paint whatever items you need. Once they have smushed paint all over the item, use a thin brush with a dark color to add their name
and the date to the piece. This is a memory you’ll hold forever, and they will grow up using the item they decorated as a child.

To honor other special people in your life, use PYOP to pay homage. For example, a canister for your kitchen can have your grandmother’s recipe on the front, or a frame can have a quote from a loved
one. Your style can seamlessly blend with the things that warm your heart like being reminded of a loved one.

If choosing the right piece can be daunting, consider taking photos of your home before going to the studio. Take a look at the shelves, and the photos, and see where each item would go. Once you find
the perfect item, you’ll already have a reference for what colors to choose.

To get started with adding unique and personal touches to your home, check out your local studio. They may also offer classes for specific techniques or non-pottery crafts. Cheers to creating!

Wheel Throwing Basics

Wheel Throwing Basics

While wheel-throwing can only be learned through experience, it is helpful to understand the logistics of the practice before beginning. Using wet clay is a process that takes a long time and lot’s of
patience, but truly anyone can learn to master the skills.
Before throwing on a wheel, you first need to wedge the clay. Wedging is the term used for preparing the clay by compressing it, to get rid of any air bubbles. Wedging can be done on a table,
preferably a cork one, or in your hands by smacking the clay into a ball shape. Your approach to wedging will likely depend on how many pounds of clay you’re using. For beginners, we suggest starting with one
pound.
The first and most important step of wheel throwing is centering. This can be deceivingly difficult at first, but becomes muscle memory. Begin by securing your ball of clay to the dry bat, as close the to center as you can. Then, anchor your left arm to the edge of the wheel and cup your left hand firmly around the base of the clay. With your right hand, use the base of your palm to firmly press upward. This will make more sense when you can practice in person. Ultimately, you will squeeze the clay upward to a cone shape, then work it back down to a mound. The more you do this, the more centered the clay will become, and it will eliminate any lingering air bubbles.
The best way to practice throwing is by making a cylinder. Once you can throw a cylinder with even walls, you will have a very strong foundation for anything else. To learn how to throw a cylinder, consider trying a pottery class at your local studio.
After throwing, pieces need to dry. If you want to keep working with your piece, to add a handle or carve out designs, you want it to dry to leather hard. This means the pot will hold its form, but still has
enough moisture to be malleable. This is when you can trim the base of the piece. If you’ve ever turned over a mug and seen a nice round edge or design, that is called a foot and is made in the trimming
process. You trim off excess clay and leave a satisfying shape or design.
Next, pots need to dry to what we call bone dry to be fired. There cannot be any moisture in the clay when it heads to the kiln. It usually takes a few days for pieces to dry completely. After it is out
of the kiln, about 36 hours later, you can begin to glaze. After glazing, pieces need to dry completely again, and then do another kiln cycle. It certainly is a waiting game!
While this process can seem daunting, it is very rewarding. There are many steps, but once you learn foundational skills, you can easily create anything you like. So, begin your wheelthrowing journey now!

Step-by-Step Guide to Pottery Painting Pottery.

Step-by-Step Guide to Pottery Painting Pottery.

While many people are familiar with the concept of paint-your-own-pottery, a lot of folks don’t know what goes on behind the scenes after you leave the studio. Keep reading for the complete guide on
everything PYOP.

When you arrive at your local studio, you’re greeted with rows of unfinished pottery waiting to be painted. These pieces are bisque pottery, meaning they have been fired once and are ready to be glazed.
These pieces were made in molds, fired, and shipped to your studio. They are very dry and porous, so they absorb moisture quickly. You will notice this as you paint, and your glazes seem to dry almost
instantly on the first coat.

While glazing, it is important to keep in mind that glazes work best in layers. For an opaque color, three thin coats of glaze will work best. Too few layers will be sheer, and too many layers will force the glaze to resist away from the piece during firing. This is called crawling. After you paint your piece, you must leave it at the studio and pick it up another time. But why? Because the glazing processes are far from finished. The glazes you used are called underglaze. They will turn shiny and vibrant after firing, but only the painted areas will be sealed. So, studios let the underglazes dry for 24 hours. Then, each piece is dipped by hand in an overglaze. This functions similarly to a topcoat with nail polish; The whole piece will be shiny and sealed, making it food-safe and more
pleasant to touch. This overglaze needs another 24 hours to dry before it can go in the kiln.

Once all the glazing processes are complete, each item needs to be fired in the kiln. Glazes are made up of very fine pieces of glass, that will melt in the kiln and rebond shiny and hard. Each item needs
to be put on what we call stilts, little ceramic pieces with metal stakes, so they do not get fused to the kiln shelves. Kilns need to heat, fire, and cool down, a process which usually takes about 36 hours. After it is
complete, the kiln is emptied by hand, which takes some time. Then, a hand dremmel or bit of sandpaper is used to smooth out any bumps left from the stilts.

And finally, it is time to pick up your piece! A lot of work goes into making sure your piece is properly cared for, and that is why it often can take a week before you can pick it up. But then, you get a
lifetime to cherish it.

The Therapeutic Benefits of PYOP

The Therapeutic Benefits of PYOP

The process of painting pottery can be a relaxing and stress-relieving activity. From start to finish, paint-your-own-pottery provides a creative outlet that is low-stakes and endlessly fun. Begin by picking out
a piece, perhaps something you’ve been needing to buy for your home anyway, or something that just speaks to you. Choose your favorite colors, sketch out a design, and begin!

One great aspect of PYOP is that nearly every mistake can be undone. If you sketch something out that doesn’t look right, no need to fear! Simply smudge the graphite and begin again. It will all burn off
in the kiln, so the pencil lines are only to guide you. Pro tip: don’t use the eraser, as it will make the pottery resistant to glaze. If you make a mistake painting, glazes are water soluble and can be touched up
with a wet Q-tip or sponge. You can even use the back of a paintbrush or a thin tool to etch away paint and leave a crisp, white line around your design.

While some may be comforted by the many steps that can lead you to a polished piece, others may find it cathartic to simply paint with no plan. With PYOP, that works great! Choose your favorite
colors, grab a brush, and do whatever feels right. No matter what, it will come out shiny and vibrant.

When creating art of any sort, your mind can shift focus away from whatever might be weighing on it, and shift your energy into simply creating. When you get in the zone, time will fly by before you
notice, and your mind will clear. Designating time to focus on yourself, and to let yourself be creative, is true wellness. With PYOP, there is a tangible result in the form of a mug or a vase; every time you see
the item in your home, you’ll be reminded of your artistic capabilities, how much fun you had, etc.

Whether you have hours to spare or just one weeknight a month, we recommend carving out time for self-care and doing so with PYOP. Treat yourself to creativity, and make something that is completely
under your control from start to finish.

Creating a Team

Creating a Team

When trying to get a group of people to bond, let’s say coworkers, it can be a bit awkward. Usually, you need an activity, something that acts as an ice breaker, to shift the energy from politely awkward to
comfortable bonding. One great activity to play in this role is painting paint-your-own-pottery.
One way to engage a group, perhaps even while sticking to a limited budget, is to give everyone the same PYOP item and see how they paint it differently. This allows coworkers to see each other’s taste
and creative side, which don’t always come out in the office setting. The colors we pick, the designs we create, the way we paint the glazes; All these steps show off a little bit of our personalities. It can be hard
to open up, and this is a great way to show people a bit of yourself without even needing to try.
Classes are also a great place to bring a group of people looking to bond. The instruction can take away any pressure of having to entertain each other, as everyone is focused on the same thing while
inspiring side conversations and teamwork to follow along. You can see how each item turns out differently even with the same instruction, and work on group problem solving if there is a step that some people are
stuck on.
Many studios have a BYOB policy, which can be a fun way to take a little extra edge off. When a group of people only get to see each other in a professional setting, it can be intriguing to see how we act
when we don’t feel so restricted, or need to put on a certain facade to deal with clients or customers. Having an event with the (safe and moderate) addition of BYOB fun can change the town
from coworkers at a work event to friends enjoying a night out.
Regardless of the group, team building can be easily fostered through creative acts such as PYOP. Try it out with your team at your local studio. If you don’t have a favorite spot yet, try our studio locator
and discover something new.
Fool-Proof Pottery Techniques

Fool-Proof Pottery Techniques

The great thing about pottery painting techniques is that they can help anyone elevate a piece, no matter how artistically inclined (or not!) you may be. Some techniques are virtually fool-proof, and we’re
here to give you the inside scoop on how to get fabulous pieces each time you go to the studio.

One classic technique is using masking tape to block off certain designs. Begin by painting your background color, or even leaving it natural white. Once the background is dry, add masking tape on top
in your preferred design. You could make stripes, overlap them, or even use stickers in fun shapes. Then, paint right on top of the tape, doing three coats for a really solid color. Before the paint dries, peel off the
tape, and reveal the design! This usually leaves very clean lines, but they can always be touched up after the fact if needed.

Another technique to keep in your back pocket is bubble blowing, which is always a fan favorite. Ask the employee to help set you up for this one, as it requires a few extra materials. You’ll need glaze, a
straw, some dish soap, and a small container, like a dixie cup or bowl. Begin by adding some water and dish soap with your glaze into the small container. Then, place the straw inside the mix. Start blowing out
the straw, but be careful not to suck in! (Glazes are nearly always non-toxic, but it won’t taste too great). The bubbles will start to flow over the top of the container. You can either place the container next to your
item or pick up the container and move it slowly above your item, so the bubbles fall on top. Cover the piece in painty bubbles! As the bubbles pop, they’ll leave behind a magical design, and no more work is
needed. This is a great technique to do both on bare pottery and on a painted background color.

The last technique we will outline in this post is sgraffito. This is the technique of scratching away paint to reveal more color underneath and is applied in many art forms. Begin by painting a base
coat onto your piece. This could be one solid color or a complete rainbow, it doesn’t affect the technique at all. Once the base is dry, paint three coats of another color on top. While the top layer is still wet, use a
pencil or the back of a brush to gently scrape away the glaze, drawing whatever design you like. The base color should be revealed underneath!

When you want to try new techniques, check out the website for your local PYOP studio and see what they have on their events calendar. Many studios have workshops, theme nights, and events with
varying levels of instruction, so you’re sure to find at least one that strikes your fancy. If you need help finding your local studio, try our studio locator.