Carving Leaves On An Oil Bottle

Have you wondered how ceramic pieces are decorated? Continue reading to see how I carved leaves on an oil bottle, one way to decorate ceramics.

First, I had to make this bottle for oil, and it was my first time making this type of bottle. I’ve wanted to make these for a long time, but I wasn’t sure I could. I finally took the plunge, no more wondering. I slammed 1 1/2 pounds of clay on my pottery wheel, centered the clay, opened up the center, then pulled it up and shaped it into a narrow-neck bottle. I am glad I bit the bullet and made a bottle. I won’t shy away from making more. Next time, I’ll video the making process.

Adding Colours To White Clay Slip

Now that it was made, I had to decide how to decorate it. I decided to paint a coloured slip on the body of the bottle, then carve branches of leaves hanging down to represent olive tree branches. After all, it is an olive oil bottle.

First, I need to make coloured clay slip, from my bucket of white clay slip. I poured 2 cups of white clay slip into my blender, used for clay, not food, then I added about 2 teaspoons of Mason ceramic stain and turned on the blender, mixing thoroughly. I made several colours and stored them in containers with lids for future clay projects.

Decorating An Oil Jar

I painted a coat of teal green slip on the leather hard bottle and let it dry until it had no sheen. Then, I painted on a second coat, then a third coat.

I divided the bottle into three sections for the tree branches. I started at the top and carved a set of branches with my narrow-pointed carving tool. Then, I switched to my round carving tool for the leaves. I carved one side of a leaf, then the other side. At the end of a leaf, I twisted the carving tool to create the leaf’s point. I continued carving leaves on the branches until they were full. I went back to my pointed carving tool and carved stems to join the leaves to the branches.

The carving tools used to carve branches and leaves on this bottle

Watch how I carved this bottle in my YouTube video below.

When I finished carving the branches and leaves, I decided the top needed olives. I painted the olives with the same green slip. I handmade a stopper for the bottle and then painted the nob teal green.

I hope this inspired you to decorate your creations with clay slip. Show me your decorated pottery.

I have many pieces of pottery for sale. The blue button below takes you to my pottery shop here. The orange button below takes you to my pottery shop on Etsy.

Thank you for reading about carving in slip. You can financially support my website blog by clicking on the orange coffee cup “BuyMeACoffee” to the right or donating on the donation link below.


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This bottle is caved and painted. It is ready for the bisque fire.

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