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How It Works

Frequently Asked Questions

There’s no “wrong way” to work with clay, but understanding the basics can help you approach the process with confidence. Below, browse some of the most common questions + become your own personal pottery making expert

Firing, Finishing + Decorating Your Piece

The air dry clay takes about 72 hours to fully harden. Then, you can paint it, let it dry, and enjoy! (Remember: air dry clay is not waterproof/food-safe, even after painting).

The ceramic clay takes between 10-14 days to completely dry, depending on size + thickness. Once hardened, it is ready for professional kiln firing (learn more about that here). P.S. There’s no rush to bring your ceramic clay to be fired. You can wait as long as you’d like.

Any piece created with the air dry clay from our Air Dry Clay Kit or Air Dry Clay add-on hardens with the help of nothing but - you guessed it - air. 

Any piece created with the ceramic clay from our Ceramic Clay Kit or Ceramic Clay add-on requires firing in a professional kiln at a pottery studio to become waterproof and (depending on the glaze used) food-safe. If you don’t need your decorative ceramic clay piece to become waterproof or food-safe (or can’t find a nearby kiln), you can simply let it air dry. Just remember: it will be very delicate + will dissolve when wet.

Click here to get help finding a nearby kiln.

A kiln is basically a REALLY hot oven used to finish (or fully set) ceramic clay pieces. Ceramic clay vessels are typically fired twice in a kiln - first without glaze after your pottery has air dried completely (called the “bisque firing”) + again after glazing and/or underglazing (called the “glaze firing”) - note that Underglaze may be added before EITHER firing, while glaze may only be added after the bisque firing. Get yourself our Underglaze add-on to enhance your piece with color.

Firing your ceramic clay creation helps make it more durable, waterproof + (when glazed) food-safe. The process also brings out the color + shine of any applied glaze or underglazes. 

In the kiln, your piece reaches a temperature between 2167-2205° F (way hotter than your home oven!), so you’ll need to visit a professional pottery studio for assistance. Click here for help finding your nearest kiln.

Got your hands on one of our Underglaze add-ons? Lucky you! This can be applied before either the initial “bisque firing” or the final “glaze firing.” The kit instructions provide more specific guidance. Our lead-free underglaze is made by AMACO Brent + can be used with or without glaze. If left unglazed, fired pottery will assume a rich textural “velvety” appearance. If glazed with transparent matte glaze, your fired piece will take on a soft satin finish. Underglaze colors will intensify when covered with a clear transparent gloss glaze but will lose matte appearance.

General Pottery Info

Air dry clay pottery is never safe to drink or eat from. 

Ceramic clay can be used as dishware (and becomes microwave safe) AFTER applying food-safe glaze + firing in a professional kiln - a pottery studio can help with both. Click here for help finding your nearest studio.

We’re so glad you asked! Simply visit our kiln locator page to find the pottery studio closest to you. Local to Needham, MA? We’ll fire + glaze your piece at our HQ at a discount!

Air dry clay pottery is NOT waterproof - even after painting… but it does become water-resistant when painted with the Natural Acrylic Medium included in the Air Dry Clay Kit. Plan to use your air dry pot as a planter? We recommend displaying dried flowers or potting an air plant that requires minimal moisture. You can also insert your plant into the air dry pot while still in its original plastic container - just make sure there are no drainage holes where moisture might seep through!

Ceramic clay pottery becomes waterproof AFTER it is professionally kiln-fired at a pottery studio. Click here for help finding your nearest studio.

With a simple dusting every now + then, air dry clay pieces can be enjoyed for years to come.

Ceramic clay pieces should be hand washed to extend their life. Note that soaking them in water may weaken the vessel, making it more susceptible to breakage or chipping. We also recommend bringing in your outdoor ceramic pieces during freezing temperatures.

Both our Air Dry Clay Kit and Ceramic Clay Kit include three sculpting tools to carve your pottery + a small smoothing sponge for a pro finish. 

Our Air Dry Clay Kit also includes white paint pigment with Natural Acrylic Medium to help add some color to your piece. Want to really play with color? Check out our Natural Earth Paint add-on.  Always use care when handling any dry pigment. Avoid inhaling pigment dust and use a mask when mixing.

If you’d like to enhance your Ceramic Clay Kit pieces, check out our Underglaze add-on or explore glazes at your nearest studio (click here for help finding one).

Leftover air dry + ceramic clay should be carefully wrapped according to kit instructions + used within 3-6 months. Otherwise, it may dry out. If that happens, feel free to reach out to us at help@potterywithapurpose.com + we’ll send you our pro tips for rehydrating your clay. We can’t guarantee it will give your clay a second life - so your best bet is to enjoy it all within 3 months of receiving your kit! Here are some of our favorite DIY sculpting ideas to fuel your creativity.

P.S. storing your wrapped clay in an air tight container will also help extend its life!

Can’t find the answer to your question?

We gotchu. Send an email to help@potterywithapurpose.com

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