Pottery Is an Art That Has Been Practiced for Centuries. It’s No Surprise then, that you might Be Interested in Starting Your Own Home Pottery Studio! If So,
This Guide Will Help Learn What Supplies You Will Need, Where to Find Them, and How Much They Cost. I will also cover Studio Space, Storage Ideas and some Tips for Starting your own Home-Based Pottery Business
What Do You Need?
- Pottery wheel ($200 to $2,000+)
- Work table ($200 to $1,000)
- Storage shelves ($20 to $60)
- Clay ($0.60 to $2.00 per pound)
- Glazes ($30 to $100 per gallon)
- Hand tools ($1 to 25+)
- Kiln ($800 to $2,000+)
- Pottery sink trap for clay ($20+)
- Tool storage ($10 to $40)
Choosing a Studio Space
One of the hardest things can be looking for the appropriate studio space. You may think of the aesthetics, but we advise you to make other considerations too. For example, we don’t advise you to set a pottery studio in an area with a carpet or a rug. The water and clay from the wheel can collect in the carpet and kick up Clay Dust.
We’d usually advise that you use linoleum or polished concrete. You can use wood or tile, too, but you may have to give it extra care. The best flooring for pottery will let you make a mess and mop it up. With wood flooring, you don’t want to worry that you will scratch or warp the flooring. Tile can prove difficult to clean between the grout lines.
Along with durability, think of the cleaning. You want to make cleanup a breeze after each session. Good pottery flooring won’t care too much if it gets wet. Linoleum is a good choice.
The other issue that some potters have is that they may not have the space to go around for a studio. Don’t worry. You can create a studio space in an out-of-the-way corner of the garage if needed. However, it feels more inspiring to have a real pottery studio room to work with. We will assume that you have enough space to work with.
You need room for your Glaze area, Clay wedging and working area, Tools, Pottery (greenware and bisqueware), Pottery Wheel, and a separate room for your Kiln.
If you don’t have space, you might take a pottery class to deal with space limitations. You can also share a rented space with someone else to cut down on costs.
Access to Water
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You need to have access to water for your pottery studio, but beware because you shouldn’t dump clay water down the drain. This WILL CLOG your drain over time and lead to a costly plumbing bill. You don’t have to dump the water down the drain at all, but if you do, you want to have a clay catcher sink trap.
Room for Storage Shelves
Sturdy shelves where you can put pots will keep your workspace organized. You don’t even have to buy storage shelves. Usually, they will either be high in price at $100 or low in price and of poor quality. You have to pick out your shelves carefully and make sure they are sturdy. Have some of these Easy to Assemble Shelves placed on different sides of your Studio
Any experienced potter will tell you not to take the storage lightly, however. In a lively pottery studio, shelf space can prove a valuable commodity. Choose according to the type of work that you plan to do most, but leave room for flexibility. You will want some vertical freedom for your bigger pots.
For the first shelf, you will usually want between 18 to 24 inches. The second and above shelves will usually be adequate to have 12 to 16 inches of vertical space.
Do You Have to Buy a Kiln?
Some say you can rent kiln space if you don’t have the money to start. In truth, you may find it more worthwhile to save up for a kiln, rather than rent space in a kiln. One kiln rental said it costs $90 for a full kiln, $45 for half a kiln, and $30 for one-third of a kiln. This is just one example. Where you live will determine the pricing on renting kiln space. Let’s take the most conservative estimate and say that you rented one-third of a kiln ongoing. If you did that 20 times, you’d have paid for a lower-end kiln plus electricity without renting one. It doesn’t make sense to rent because you’ll pay for the kiln many times over, and especially if you want to make it into a home business, a kiln rental will gobble up your profits.
The other option would be if you were to find a buddy with a kiln, but even that has its limits if you have a high output. He or she also has their own pottery to make. You will want to give some money as thanks for letting you use it.
Ultimately, having your own Kiln is the only thing that makes sense, especially if you want to have a pottery business. Just make sure your kiln is NOT placed in a living area and is well ventilated.
Pottery Wheel: What to Look For
In general, we’d recommend that you use an Electric Wheel because most people will find it easier, and it doesn’t take up as much space.
Left-handers should look for one that rotates in the clockwise direction, while right-handers should look for one that rotates in the counterclockwise direction. You may want to test a few different wheels to see which one feels best on your hands.
Having a larger wheel head can help you to make larger pots. We’d advise you to get a wheel head of at least 14 inches in diameter.
For a general price range, you may want to pay at least $500 for a pottery wheel because this comes with the fewest limitations. Anything under $500 will have more limitations to what you can do with it.
Other things to consider with a Pottery Wheel include:
- What do you want to create?
- Are there special features and capabilities?
- What clay load capacity do you need?
Common Pottery Tools That You Will Need in a Home Studio
You can make your tool set as sophisticated or as simple as you want. Some of the most basic tools that you may want to have on hand include:
- Metal and wood rib
- Rubber Rib
- Wire cutting tool
- Needle tool
- Modeling tool
- Trimming loop tools
Look at this as the most basic set of tools that you would want on hand to start your pottery studio. Luckily, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on a basic set of tools either. You can buy a Pottery Tool kit, and also check out different Tools HERE
You Don’t Have to Go Big—Start Small
Do what you can afford, especially if you’re a beginner. As a beginner, you may find it harder to sell your ceramics, but as you learn and improve in the trade, you will increase your profit potential. Starting small has many advantages. For one thing, pottery can be an expensive hobby. You don’t get as disheartened by it if you encounter obstacles along the path. Enjoy the journey and the process of making pottery. That love will naturally blossom over time into you wanting to have the more advanced equipment to do more things with it in the studio. For more detailed information on setting up your studio Check out this step-by-step guide – How to Set-up A Pottery Studio.
Setting up a Home-Based Business
In general, we’d advise you to start small with a home-based pottery business and go bigger as you see the profits roll in. Setting up a pottery studio at another business location can cost you anywhere from $50,000 to $150,000, which requires a lot of confidence in yourself. You don’t want to make that decision lightly because you may take on a lot of debt, and you don’t want to find that you have no way to pay it off. Work your way up to this goal.
In comparison, setting up a home-based studio doesn’t have to cost you that much. On the lower end, you might pay $1,400, but you can make this as expensive or as cheap as you want.
Many successful potters started doing pottery as a side business income, rather than their main source of work. In that way, it took the stress off, and it didn’t require a giant leap of faith. For more detailed information on selling online, you can read this Step-by-Step Starter Guide for Selling Online.
Tips for Having a Home-Based Pottery Business
Tip #1 Have a Strict Working Schedule:
One of the biggest reasons that people may fail in their pottery businesses comes from the fact that they don’t treat it like a business. To be clear, you should still have fun. However, create a schedule where you set your working hours and stick to them. You may want to work beyond that, but you can allow yourself more freedom after that point.
Tip #2 Create a Business Plan:
Having a business plan serves as a road map to your success, but you can also use it later to secure funding for your business. Many lenders like to see that you have a defined and concrete business plan before they will lend to you. A good business plan sets out what you want to achieve and why. The purpose can make the reason for showing up all the sweeter. A business plan helps you to measure where you have reached with your goals.
Tip #3 Make What Sells:
Thomas Edison once said, “I won’t invent anything that people don’t want to use. That’s the measure of true value.” In the same way, as a pottery business, you exist to serve a need. While many people enter the pottery business because of a passion for pottery, they should find a way to express that passion while helping others. Don’t think that you can make anything and it will sell. It isn’t necessarily what you want to create but what sells. There are potters that have been fortunate enough to have what they love to make sell well.
Tip #4 Network and Connect with Other Potters:
In business, you may think of it as the competition, but many times, it feels good to connect with other like-minded people. Enough demand exists in pottery to where we don’t have to view it as a dog-eat-dog world. Many times, having other friends in the business can keep us keen on the trends and movements. They could also tell us about the things that they have done that worked for them. Learning and growing are the true measures of success.
Tip #5 Look for People Who Sell Pottery:
Finding a consistent business source to sell your pottery can be as easy as looking for a store or business that sells pottery and seeing if they’d like to buy some of your ceramics. You may have to ask around a few dozen times, but sooner or later, you will find a few stores willing to buy your ceramic wares. Think of anywhere that sells pottery.
Tip #6 Constantly Improve Your Skills:
You gain value the more you learn and the better your skills in the craft. Constantly improve your skills in the art to make more people want to buy from you. Looking at pottery from the frame of constant improvement makes it more interesting too.
Tip #7 Order in Bulk:
Assuming that you will have high output with disciplined work, you will want to order pottery supplies and clay in bulk. You can save more money from buying in bulk. This makes your business more profitable. However, we do advise you to exercise caution and acquaint yourself well with prices. Some wholesalers only offer a 10 percent discount for buying in bulk. In some cases, it depends on how much you buy as well, but examine each wholesaler with caution.
Starting your first pottery studio should feel exciting. Don’t let it become something that bogs you down. You can set up certain things in the room to put you in a good mood when in your studio. Some people with limited space have done something as simple as setting up in an out-of-the-way corner of the garage. Be creative with the space you have. Plus, you can always set up a home-based business and sell some of the great Pottery you have Crafted.