March 11, 2013

How To: Pottery Stencils

I’ve been working on some new prints for stencilling on to different pieces of pottery this week. I’m gonna put the kiln on later this week when they’ve finished drying out, so will post the results after that. Everything is still a little hit and miss as I’m just starting out, but hopefully soon I will have a couple of pretty prints finalised.. and I’ll be ready to start using them on various pieces!

The whole process is quite time consuming, so I thought I’d share the different stages with you incase you want to try it out for yourself. I’m finding it a really nice way to make an interesting glaze, and each piece is really unique.

1. First you have you hand draw your design. Pick something simple, or you’re gonna have a hard time trying to cut it out. I’ve done a mini version of the print I tried out last week.


2. Using a craft knife carefully cut out your design. I’ve been careful not to cut up the pieces that I am cutting out, cause I will keep those pieces and use them as a stencil too. That way, I will create a matching set.


3. After you have your design cut out you need to apply it to some leather hard clay. I use a small pot of water and carefully stick the stencil down – don’t get your clay too wet or you’ll end up with a muddy mess.

4. After it is attached down as well as you can get it carefully paint on your underglaze. 2-3 layers should be plenty, but follow the instructions on the tub and try and get a nice even coat.

5. After the glaze has dried, carefully peel off your stencil. I have managed to use some of mine a couple of times so try and keep it neat. When the stencil is removed you might find some small smudges on the clay surface and you definitely want to remove these now to get a more crisp finish. I use the edge of my craft knife to carefully scrape away any spillages.

6. After the clay has dried out again the clay is ready to be fired. You’ll find the temperature on the glaze tub. When you get the piece out of the kiln the colours may not look quite as bright as you’d like, but I found that after I had applied a clear, glossy overglaze and fired the pieces again the colours came out a lot brighter. You’ll also get a much more impressive finish on your piece.

Then you’re good to go! Cutting out the stencils can be a bit tedious.. but at least you’re creating something truly handmade and individual. If you give this a try I’d love to see how it turns out!



My Dad gave me this extreme craft knife set… a bit scary, right?!



Thanks ZoΓ«! I have called this one Turtle Wood, alright name? I’m gonna start printing the design onto fabric for tea towels and cushions. Will post when I’ve done some!


What a cool idea! Have you tried using these handmade stencils on curved pottery? I noticed you had a flat tile and was wondering how difficult it is to keep your design uniform on a curved surface.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *