Making Pottery Mugs

Lead Image
  • 1-10 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 2,000-5,000
What You'll Need
Potters Wheel

There’s nothing to beat drinking coffee from a pottery mug, especially if you’ve made the mug yourself. It might seem like a complicated art, but anyone can make a pottery mug. Although it’s simpler with good equipment, really all you need is a kiln in which to fire the pottery mug.


You’ll require plenty of clay to make your pottery mug. Take aproximately 1 ½ pounds of clay and begin to knead it. This process, known as wedging the clay, is to ensure that you remove any air pockets that might be in the clay. Take your time over this and when you’ve finished, form it into a ball.


There should be a bat, or cover, on the potter’s wheel. Place the ball of clay in the center and then wet your hands with water and use your hands to wet the clay, which will help keep it in place on the bat.


Turn on the potter’s wheel. As it begins to spin, make sure that the clay is centered, then insert one wet thumb into the middle of the ball to make a hole. Don’t go all the way down, as you want to have a reasonable thickness for the bottom of the pottery mug.

Insert your other thumb into the hole, so both thumbs are there and pull the opening a little wider. Don’t use much force; let the wheel do the work. Make sure you keep bringing in water so the clay remains moist. Move your hand so the thumb is on the inside and the fingers on the outside of the shape to move it into a mug shape. Pull up and allow the mug to take form until you have the height, width, and thickness of clay that you want. Remove the bat from the wheel.

By Hand

You can shape the pottery mug without a potter’s wheel. It will take more time and effort to achieve the shape you need. Be sure to keep the clay moist. Shape slowly and try to keep the sides even.


Roll a piece of clay into a sausage shape. Attach to the pottery mug at both top and bottom, smoothing out the join so it looks even, and then shaping the handle so it can be picked up easily. It will also make sure that the clay doesn’t crack when fired.


Select the glaze you want for the pottery mug and brush it on. Wait until the pottery mug has dried before applying it. You might need to mix the glaze yourself. You can also use tools to texture the glaze.


You need a proper kiln to fire the pottery mug; a home oven won’t do the job. The pottery mug will need to be removed from the bat and placed properly in a hot kiln. Have an experienced friend help you with this. When the mug has been fired and the kiln has cooled, the pottery mug can be removed.