How Do I Use Moulds To Decorate Pottery – Multiple Ways

I like to embellish pottery with added decorations I make from wooden laser-cut stamps and rolling pins, rubber stamps, and textured silicon mats. I have purchased several of these, and have made textured rolling pins and stamps from clay or plaster.

How I Make Textured Rolling Pins & Sprig Moulds

I wrap clay around cardboard tubes covered in plastic wrap, which prevents the clay from sticking to the cardboard tube. When the clay tube is stiff, I slide the cardboard tube out. I carve a design on the clay tube then fire my homemade rolling pins in the kiln.

Carved Roller
Rollers I carved from clay then fired.

I make sprig moulds by pouring plaster over objects such as seashells. I also press items into clay to make clay sprig moulds, I source items from stores or objects like textured buttons, rope, and textured material I find around the house. I also purchase silicon mould-making kits for mould making. I am always on the lookout for anything that can be used to texture clay.

Below are my stamps, sprig moulds and a doily I use to make decorative pottery

Making Decorative Pottery Using Moulds

I start by brushing the stamp or the clay with cornstarch, which prevents the clay from sticking to the stamps. If it sticks, I can’t take my design off the form without tearing it. The dryness of the clay is like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. If the clay is too wet, it won’t transfer a clean design, even with cornstarch, as it sticks in the recessed areas of the stamps or rolling pins. If the clay is too dry, it is hard to press the stamp into it. Also, the clay can crack, especially at the edges. The moisture of the clay has to be just right.

I press the wooden or clay stamps firmly into the clay, making sure all of the design has transferred into the clay. A textured rolling pin is a bit trickier as it has a wider area to be pressed into the clay. Instead of using the handles of the rolling pin, I press firmly with my hands onto the rolling pin. I don’t have handles on my homemade clay rollers, therefore, I press my hand firming on the rolling pin as I roll it over the clay slab. Before I take the stamps off the clay, I lift the edges to see if the design transferred. If not, I pressed down again, especially the edges. I find the edges are the hard part to press into the clay.

I bought a silicon mat with vines and flowers on it. I lay it on a slab of clay and roll a rolling pin from the center out to the edge. The mat stretches slightly or moves, starting from the center, ensuring the design isn’t warped.

This Instagram post shows how I made a decorative dish by rolling the silicon mat over the clay and then draping the embossed clay onto this hexagon form. Follow me on Instagram by clicking on the pink button.

Rolling the vine and flower silicone mat over the clay to make a tray.

If my mould is about 1/4 inch deep, I can’t press into the clay. Instead, I press clay into it and make sure there are no gaps or air holes. I use more clay than can fit into the mould, then scrape a metal rib over the mould, removing the excess clay. My pin tool comes in handy to lift a corner up to be able to take it out of the mould. I clean up the edges by cutting off any excess clay and running a damp sponge or my finger over the edges. The sprig mould is ready to slip and score to attach to leather hard pottery.

Polymer Clay Flower Mould – A Different Way To Use It

I either press clay into my mould or roll clay over them except for a flower mould I made from polymer clay. It is too rigid and deep to press into the clay. I was also concerned that it might break under the pressure. I had to put my thinking cap on and figure out how to use it.

I rolled out a thick slab of clay, placed the flower mould under the clay, and, with a rolling pin, rolled a clay slab over the mould. It worked. My first attempt, I rolled the clay too thin. When I rolled the thin clay over the flower mould, it rolled too thin to take off the mould without breaking it. The slab had to be at least 1/4″ thick.

From start to finish

If I can’t find how another potter does something, I have activated my brain to figure it out by trial and error.

How do you keep your brain active?

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