Home » How To Make A Pinch Pot Easily With Kids

How To Make A Pinch Pot Easily With Kids

hands in different stages of making clay pinch pot.

Ideal project for first-time clay users

Pinch pots are the perfect beginner clay build for children and adults alike. Kids can gain a better understanding of how to form clay without having to attach anything. Learning this simple technique is a perfect lesson to work on fine motor skills in children.

Pinch pots are also one of the primary clay-building techniques used when making pinch pot ceramic projects. There are so many easy clay pinch pot projects that kids (and adults) can do.

thumb and index finger making clay pinch pot.

Clay pinch pots really can look professional if you take the time to smooth and refine your practice. While we are talking mainly about how to make pinch pots with children, an adult can still use these steps to create a more finished pinch pot mug or vase. 

Disclosure: We only recommend products we would use ourselves and all opinions expressed are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that when clicked, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Read our full privacy policy here.

Common obstacles when kids are making pinch pots

  • Remind children to pinch all the way at the bottom of the clay and not only the top. A common problem is that children will pinch the top clay wall and not the bottom. The goal should be to make the walls as even as possible. 
  • Children should only use a little water when smoothing out their basic shape.
  • A great way for them to visualize how much water to use is to tell them they do not want to make “mud pie” if they use too much water.
  • Don’t let the children over-touch the clay. Hot hands will make it crumbly sooner.

If you can feel the base of the pot is too thick, you can help thin out the base by pulling clay up the side walls. We always like to check as children are building their clay projects to make sure that the bottom of the pot is not too heavy.

side view of clay pinch pot with coil foot ring.

How do you make a pinch pot at home?

An easy way to make a pinch pot at home is to use air drying clay. You can use the same methods as traditional clay, but won’t have to put this air dry clay in the kiln. Paint your projects with acrylic paint or watercolor paint and seal with a sealer like mod podge. 

How thick should clay walls be in a pinch pot?

This will slightly depend on the clay project being built out of the pinch pot. However, if this is a stand-alone clay pinch pot then you want the walls to be an equal 1 cm or 1/2 inch. This will work for bowl pinch pots or even sculptural parts (like when we flipped ours over to be a clay turtle).

glazed clay turtle pinch pot art project on mulch.

How much clay should you use?

This will depend on who is making the pinch pot. It is best to start with a small clay ball that will fit in your hand when making a pinch pot. Children will have an easier time creating their own if they don’t have too much clay. 

If you need to prep or cut large amounts of clay in advance, place precut clay in a plastic bag until you are ready to use it.

Supplies

  • Work surface
  • Small piece of clay
  • Small container of cold water
  • Wooden Stick (if adding foot ring)
  • Kiln (if using real clay)
  • Glazes or paints

How to make a pinch pot

Step 1: Start with a small amount of clay that can fit inside the palm of your hand or of a child’s hand.

clay ball inside hand on clay work surface.

Step 2: Roll into a ball of clay.

up close view of hands rolling clay into ball.

Step 3: Have kids push one hole with their thumbs as far as they can in the center of the ball. Show them how to push the thumb to the bottom of the ball without going all the way through. Don’t worry if they aren’t perfect, but it will make it easier if they push in the center. 

hand holding clay with thumb hole that was pushed in.

Step 4: Rotate hands to pinch around the edge and make sure not to make walls too thin. You can even tell kids to rotate the pinch pot with two hands.

hand pinching edges of clay pinch pot.

The shape of the pot will be determined by how kids hold their hands. I show them to hold their index fingers and thumbs like they are driving a car. They do not want to pull on the walls and end up with a plate.

Step 5: Make the rim of the pot even by turning the clay pot over on a flat surface. Lightly tap the rim. An optional step is to use clay tools to trim the excess off.

hand flipping over clay pinch pot.

Step 6: Smooth out any bumps with fingers or even a small kidney clay tool.

small water cup and clay pinch pot with water on it.

Step 7: Kids can also use one finger dipped in water to help smooth clay by rubbing water (even a damp sponge) on cracks in the outer and inner surface.

hand holding clay pinch pot smoothed out with water.

Optional Step: Create a coil of clay and add a foot ring to your bowl (detailed pictures the linked post with images). You will need to have score marks on both pieces (coil and pot) and add water to create slip.

bottom of clay pinch pot with foot ring attached.

Step 8: Flip the pinch pot over and write your name on the project. 

Step 9: Let projects dry completely. The easiest way to do this is by touch. They should not feel cold at all.

small pinch pot bowl with coil base waiting to dry.

Step 10: Fire a bisque fire in your kiln.

Step 11: Use clay glaze with kids or other non-glaze techniques to add color to your awesome pinch pot.

Few other notes of tips

  • Don’t over-touch the clay. This can be difficult when kids want things to turn out perfectly. However, your hands will suck out the moisture as you (or kids) are working. 
  • Encourage young children to build and then leave it alone. This can be difficult for a youngster, but less is more sometimes.
  • If your clay is really wet and seems a little floppy, you can use a hair dryer to help firm the walls. 

Follow us on Pinterest or YouTube for more arts and crafts ideas!

Yield: Pinch pot

How To Make A Pinch Pot

hands in different stages of making clay pinch pot.

Follow these easy steps to learn how to make pinch pot with children. Pinch pots are awesome as a stand-alone art project or as a sculptural base for more advanced clay builds. Pinch pots are the perfect beginner clay lesson.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Active Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost Less than $5

Materials

  • White Art Clay
  • Glazes or paints

Tools

  • Kiln
  • Small Container Of Water
  • Work Surface

Instructions

    1. Start with a small amount of clay that can fit inside the palm of your hand or of a child's hand.
    2. Roll into a ball of clay.
    3. Push one hole with your thumbs as far as they can in the center of the ball. Make sure to push the thumb to the bottom of the ball without going all the way through. Don’t worry if isn't perfect.
    4. Rotate hands to pinch around the edge and make sure not to make walls too thin. Kids can rotate the pinch pot with two hands. The shape of the pot will be determined by how kids hold their hands. Hold index fingers and thumbs like they are driving a car. You do not want to pull on the walls and end up with a plate.
    5. Make the rim of the pot even by turning the clay pot over on a flat surface. Lightly tap the rim.
    6. An optional step is to use clay tools to trim the excess off.
    7. Smooth out any bumps with fingers or even a small kidney clay tool.
    8. Use one finger dipped in water to help smooth clay by rubbing water (even a damp sponge) on cracks in the outer and inner surface
    9. .Flip the pinch pot over and write your name on the project. 

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Need more pinch pot ideas?

pinch pot flower idea for kids.

Now that you know how to build pinch pots with kids, check out this fun clay flower and clay owl art lesson for your next ceramic pot idea.

Students really enjoy making their own pinch pots and they are the ideal first clay project for kids.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

I accept the Privacy Policy