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How to Make a Pinch Pot Volcano using Pottery Clay

This little craft should not take more than 30 minutes to sculpt, and if glazed correctly can even be eaten out of. I will explain the basic rules of working with pottery clay and then move on into how to make this little pinch pot/bowl.

Check out Plaster Cottage where this project was made! They also have a summer camp program for you to check out if you wish, and a facebook page.

What you need to Know Before you Start this Project

Alright, so the first thing that is important for you to know is that in order to do this, you need a special kind of clay that can go in a kiln, and of course, a kiln. Before you start this project, make sure to check around if you do not have a kiln to find someone who may bake it for you. Sometimes pottery places will bake projects for you for a few dollars. The other main rule is to make sure that you have no air bubbles in the clay before starting, because these air bubbles can cause the project to explode, and that would kind of stink to work so hard on a project to open the kiln later and see a bunch of broken pieces.

What you need


Make a Ball

Using floss, twine or thread, cut off a decent sized cube of clay, about 3 inches by 3 inches. Smush down the corners and sides carefully so as not to trap air bubbles in the clay that may burst. Carefully shape and roll it into a ball.

Poke a Hole

Using your thumb or index finger if your thumb nails are long, push a hole right in the middle. Reshape the clay back into a ball while holding it up on your thumb or finger. Cracks may start to form, and that is okay and normal.

Pinch the Pinch Pot

With your finger still in the pot, start pinching the sides to make them thinner. The sides should be about as thick as those sugar cookies everyone devours at Christmas. Make sure the bottom of the pot is also flat, or you will seriously regret it, as it may also explode if it is too thick.

Smush the Pinch Pot

Smush the top of the pinch pot down. By this point there are a lot of cracks, and that is okay, leave them alone for this step. The pot should be a more volcanic shape now.

Smooth Cracks in the Pinch Pot that are Disliked

Dip your finger in water and lightly rub the cracks out, but leave a few to make it look like an actual volcano. Do not pour water on the clay and do not dip the clay in the water, as both can make the sculpture too soggy.

Sculpting the Volcano on the Pinch Pot

Using your handy dandy toothpick or pokey tool, make some zig zag lines all over the outside of the volcano.

Scratching the Dragon in the Pinch Pot

Using your pointy tool again, carve a little tiny Chinese dragon inside. Look up an image for reference and copy it as best as you can.

Let the Clay Dry for a Week

The clay must be dry before it can bake in the kiln, and it takes about a week to dry. Set it aside in a well ventilated place to dry out.


Bake it in a Kiln or Take it to a Pottery Place that could Possibly Bake it for you

Then pop it in the kiln. Allow it to bake for however long it is required, or throw money at it and let someone else do it for you. Once the piece is cooled, you can glaze it with special paint and fire it again or paint it with acrylic. If you choose to use acrylic, you will be unable to eat out of it. And you are done! Your volcano is adorable and ready for whatever you would like.

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