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5 Handbuilding Templates to Do at Home

Today, we’re thrilled to share the captivating world of hand building with you! We’ve scoured the web for inventive templates to incorporate into your home studio practice, and in this post we’ll unveil our five favorites. These easy-to-follow hand building templates will have you creating brand new forms, and will hopefully inspire you to create some unique templates of your own. Whether you’re an experienced potter searching for fresh inspiration or a curious beginner eager to get more hands-on experience, these templates are sure to improve your hand building skills!

Hexagonal Jar

This is a lovely template from Ceramic Arts Network and artist Don Hall. Included is a step-by-step guide on creating this form, along with a sample image of the finished piece. It’s a great addition to your slab form repertoire, with plenty of room for customizing the details, such as the style of the feet, or the cut of the lid.

Easy Folded Pottery Projects

This video by Little Street Pottery is a 5-in-1 for you! Using easy-to-make geometric templates, they introduce you to folding techniques using soft slabs, creating pieces with unexpected forms and soft curves. They also provide excellent examples of surface treatments, as well as demonstrate great tips on handling your slabs.

Altering Straight Sided Cylinders

Less of a traditional template and more so an invaluable guide, this downloadable PDF from artist Deb Schwartzkopf provides an excellent starting point for modifying basic cylinders.The illustrated cutout shapes can be used on slab-built or coiled forms, and are great for creating a sense of movement in your designs! Deb’s Rat City Studio’s website also has a number of other valuable guides that are definitely worth checking out!

Templates for Coil Building

While we usually think of slab building when it comes to using templates, they are actually incredibly useful for coil building as well. In this informative video by The Pottery Wheel, you’ll be shown how to make a coil pot template, why it’s useful, and how to use it effectively. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be making more symmetrical and complex coiled vessels in no time!

Ceramic Shoes

If you’re up for something a bit more novel, give this playful project from Lakeside Pottery a try! While they don’t include a downloadable template, they do have very clear images of the ones used, so you should be able to easily recreate your own version. We think this project is a great entry point into creating sculpture from slabs, and also offers a great canvas for pattern, sprigs, or even carving.

Making Your Own Templates

Once you’ve tried your hand at these 5 template projects, you’re probably eager to start making some original templates of your own! To help you get started, we recommend this blog post by The Pottery Wheel, where they outline 4 methods for creating mug templates. You may also be interested in, which is a site that allows you to create custom downloadable templates of a variety of shapes and sizes!

We hope these five inventive templates have sparked your creative fire and gotten you excited for your home studio practice. Each template opens a world of possibilities, inviting you to explore new forms and experiment with clay in delightful ways. For everyone from amateurs to experts, these templates are here to unleash the hand-builder within you. As you craft your new pieces, remember that the beauty of hand building lies not only in following templates but also in creating designs that express your individuality and passion for ceramics!

If you are hungry for more template-based inspiration, sign up for The Ceramic School’s workshop with Chandra DeBuse, titled ‘How to Make and Decorate a Boat Tray.’ Chandra will walk you through this project from start to finish, showing you how she uses templates and soft slabs to construct her form, along with her use of digital processes to help her design her surfaces. We’re sure you’ll leave this workshop with new building and design skills, and a renewed excitement for the studio!


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