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What are the Different Types of Pottery Tools?

Patti Kate
Patti Kate

There are several pottery tools required for sculpting. Ceramic tools are a commonly used choice. Wire and hole cutters are a few of the basic accessory tools. A kiln for heating or 'baking' the sculpture is another type of tool to utilize. Detail carving tools are used by the artist to create precision designs in the clay.

For convenience, tools for various needs in sculpting are available in a pottery toolkit. Packaged inside are typically a variety of necessary implements. Many pottery tools are made for professional sculptors, while others are for beginners or hobby enthusiasts. These can be found online or in stores that sell pottery supplies.

Pottery making can be a very messy hobby.
Pottery making can be a very messy hobby.

Drill tools are hand devices that can be properly adjusted to drill various-sized holes into clay or ceramic. Typically made of stainless steel, the multi-drill tool is a convenient way for artists to have a versatile implement in one contained tool. These tools are relatively inexpensive.

Ceramic work will generally require pottery tools different from those used in clay sculpture. A ceramic pottery toolkit for beginners will typically include some type of cleaning device, such as a brush with a small sponge attached. This is used to clean debris from the work area. In the use of ceramics, there will often be an accumulation of dust, and this cleaning tool was created to efficiently help expedite cleaning time.

Sculptors often require detail carving tools.
Sculptors often require detail carving tools.

Art brushes are an essential tool for pottery sculpturing. Often, the serious sculptor will opt for a collection of brushes purchased as a set. Brushes may include sable or bamboo, as well as various others. Depending on the type of paint that is used or the texture of material, every brush has its unique purpose. A bamboo brush, for example, can be used to paint small or fine lines and is generally available in different sizes or lengths.

Clay extruders made of stainless steel are considered necessary pottery tools. Most supply stores should have these available for purchase. An extruder will extrude different shapes for various parts of the sculpture, such as handles. Many extruders come complete with wall-mounting hardware, making it a convenient way to work.

Die casts are pottery tools used in conjunction with clay extruders. Some of these die casts can be purchased as a set along with the extruder. Often this set might include what is known as a mini-extruder. The set may come packaged with small-sized die cast parts in various designs. These are generally used to create special effects and ornamental designs.

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Discussion Comments


Pottery tools are great, but what I love about pottery is that you can make something that is beautiful and well crafted using only your hands.

I was a professional potter for years and I used a wheel and just about every pottery tool under the sun. But I had an epiphany one day and decided to use nothing but my hands. I got rid of my wheel and all my engraving tools and basically relearned how to make pots.

I am loving the results. I have never felt more connected to my art and I think the new pieces come from a deeply personal place. Sometimes the best pottery tool is having no tool at all.


There are lots of helpful pottery tools, but really the only one that is indispensable is the kiln. A lot of the other tools you can improvise using other things but there is really no direct substitute for a kiln.

Sure there are other ways to fire a pot. But all of them are either extremely labor intensive and tedious, or they produce pottery that is of an inferior quality. There are also lots of glazing techniques that you cannot do without a kiln. So if you are wanting to get into pottery, make sure that you have access to a kiln from the very start.

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    • Pottery making can be a very messy hobby.
      By: Conny Hagen
      Pottery making can be a very messy hobby.
    • Sculptors often require detail carving tools.
      By: Pavel Losevsky
      Sculptors often require detail carving tools.