An essential part of pottery is having the right tools to work with. The cool part of pottery is having so many fun tools to choose from.
You don’t really need a ton of pottery tools to start with. These are a few I started with and still use. I will share more as my collection grows.
A Must Have Tool is The Very Soft Potters Rib Mudtool
The Sherrill Red Rib Mudtool has a such a nice shape to it that you will find yourself using it far more then you imaged. It is my go-to rib.
They made this Rib to use all four edges. The smaller end is excellent for hard to reach spots. The larger end is great for rounded corners. The rounded side works well when shaping bowls. The curved side is excellent for rounding out the outside of your piece.
It is the softest of all the ribs, which makes it the most flexible. It works well with clay molding and shaping beautifully, also smoothing the clay nicely without making marks.
I like the hole in the middle; it really helps give you good control over the rib while your fingers are wet.
The fact that it’s small is nice because it fits easily in small cylinders and other small areas.
Large Red Rib
If you want to go longer this Red Rib is as flexible as the smaller polymer ribs. The Long Blade Shape is great for smoothing and shaping on the wheel as well as smoothing your slabs of clay when handbuilding.
Get All 6 Red Ribs
This is the ultimate in selections. Depending upon your projects you can choose from 6 Different Shaped Soft Red Ribs. These Ribs work beautifully for shaping and smoothing out your clay. Because clay is so soft these ribs are more gentle and forgiving on clay. These Ribs come in a multitude of sizes that you will find the right size need for the projects you are working on.
The soft Ribs work great for smoothing Transfers or Decals on your pottery. This set will definitely take care of your soft rib needs.
The Ultimate Edger
Is listed as a six in one tool. I would say it’s at least a 7 in one and probably more. I use The Ultimate Edger on most of my pieces. Learning how to round the lip of a bowl or carve a foot on a mug takes a lot of practice, the Ultimate Edger makes it faster and easier.
- Puts a double edge on the base of your mug, pot, vase, etc…
- It can round out squared edges on the lip of your pottery
- Puts a nice raised edge on a lid or pot
- Makes attractive nobs
- Creates a single edge to the foot of your piece
- Makes a nice rounded shape on the lip of your larger pottery
#5 Is also great for putting a split rim on your pottery.
The Ultimate Edger not only helped me to easily to do rims and feet, but it also can be used for textures and adding some cool designs to your pieces. For more information check out
I liked the Ultimate Edger so much I wrote an in-depth article about how to use one, which you can check it out Here.
And the best Ultimate Edger Youtube video where I show you exactly how to use the Ultimate Edger, Enjoy the Video.
Double Ended Trim Tool
This six-inch Japanese style Double Ended Trim Tool has a large hook that gives you more area to cover and a spade shape for the foot of bowls and plates. This sharpened spade end gives you a precise cut that feels nice when you’re trimming. The small curl hook is best used for the inside of your foot for the first swipe. I like the feel of this good quality metal. Even with extensive use, it is still sharp.
Having a curved edge on one end and a straight edge on the other end makes this a good versatile tool. The more you use this trim tool, the more you will enjoy it. Instead of picking up three different tools you have almost all you need in one tool. It also works beautifully for my smaller pottery. All though it does take some getting used to, it’s a fun Tool to use and helps create great shapes on pottery.
Sponges For Shaping and Clean Up
When making pottery or ceramics having good sponges is a must, and these Set Of Three Sponges are great to use in all stages of pottery making. From shaping and smoothing out your clay, sponging off your bisque ware, to removing any glaze from the foot of your pots. It’s nice to have all three for your sponging needs. These are not your ordinary sponges and do not feel like them either. They are more durable and also fit comfortably in your hand which is important. I find them not to be too fat or thin.
You will find the Blue Sponge to be the workhorse, it well for shaping your clay and clean up.
The Orange Sponge works great when throwing on the wheel. It helps guild your fingers up and keeps the clay smooth. Great for beginners on the wheel.
The White Sponge is great for smoothing and finishing your pottery.
The colors will fade after a while, and all of them may become white, but you can still tell them apart by the different textures they have.
My Favorite Wire Cutter
It would be quite hard to work with clay without a wire cutter. This Wire Clay Cutter by Xiem Tools cuts through the clay nicely and wire doesn’t tangle up.
The looped handles are easy to grab on to even if your hands happen to be full of clay. You will love the feel of the handles when cutting through clay or cutting a piece off the wheel. The handles on this cutter are also nice for hooking them in a convent spot in your work area.
A Few Of My Favorite Decorating Tools
When it comes to decorating Pottery, it’s always fun to have decorating tools to help make your pottery unique. It’s great that your choice of tools can be endless. These are few I found to be helpful that I would like to recommend to you.
Clay Hole Cutters
Having to make a precise hole in your pottery can be a bit tricky especially if you can draw an exact circle. When it comes to making holes in clay, these Jack Richerson Hole Cutters save time and make creating holes so easy.
It’s nice to have four different sizes to choose from. The size of the holes measures 1/8 inch, ¼ inch, ½ inch, and 3/4 inch across. You can use these hole makers for all types of designs and functional purposes like making toothbrush holders and hanging pottery pieces as well as decorating.
The secret to making a good hole is making sure your clay is not too dry and to twist your tool while gently pushing into the clay.
Kemper Clay Cutters
You can get five different shapes, each with five different sizes to choose from.
These Clay Shape Cutters are the answer to eliminating fingerprints on the clay when you’re pushing them out of the mold.
The spring plunger on the clay cutter pushes your clay out of the mold effortlessly
Even if you use these clay cutters to cut shapes into your pottery, you still don’t want the clay to get stuck in your molds.
You can cut out shapes or use the inside of the cut out to score and slip on your pottery. You don’t even have to cut through the clay you can leave impressions instead
These clay cutters make decorating easier and are great time savers.
You can also get the Set of 20 Clay Cutters and mix and match if you like.
- Heart shaped cutter sizes: 3/8″, 7/16″, 1/2″, 5/8″ and 3/4″
- Triangle Shaped cutter sizes: 3/8″, 7/16″, 1/2″, 3/4″ and 1″
- Circle shaped cutter sizes 3/8″, 7/16″, 1/2″, 5/8″ and 3/4″
- Square shaped cutter sizes 1/4″, 3/8″, 7/16″, 5/8″ and 3/4″
Stainless Steel Serrated Scraper
This Stainless Steel Serrated Scaper is great for making all kinds of fun patterns. You can use all four sides and even mix up the patterns. You can move the serrated edge diagonally or horizontally. Even move your hand back and forth as you glide it along the clay. Making patterns in the clay like this adds a different dimension to your pottery.
The 8-Piece Pottery Tool Kit by SE Brands is Perfect For Beginners
You will find this tool kit has all the essential tools for throwing pottery on the wheel. These tools will always be part of my growing tool supplies. I like the 8-Piece Tool Kit so much I bought two.
- Wooden Modeling Tool
- Wooden Rib
- Loop Tool
- Ribbon Tool
- Needle Tool
- Metal Scraper
- Wire Clay Cutter
1 – The Wooden Modeling Tool
Out of all the tools I use when throwing this one is my favorite. It has an excellent sturdy feel in my hand. The pointy end of the modeling tool is great for decorating, trimming the extra clay off the bottom of your piece, and checking to see if your clay is centered.
The other end of the modeling tool has a smooth scooped end that’s great for lifting the bat off your wheel and smoothing out sections of your piece.
2 – The Wooden Rib
The wooden rib gives you a nice firm grip even if your hands are all covered in clay.
It works really well if you want to bellow the clay out from the inside or get the excess water off your piece on the outside.
It’s a good tool for scrap the excess clay off the bat or wheel after removing the pottery.
3 – The Loop Tool
The loop tool shapes larger areas of pottery and removes the extra clay nicely. The pointy end is great for trimming the bottom of pots. I use this one for pinpoint areas and lining up the foot of my pots.
4 – The Ribbon Tool
The ribbon tool works well for trimming smaller areas. The loop end smooths nicely, and the square end makes nice edges.
There are others that may be sharper, but you will find these trimming tools are great for beginner potters and more than adequate to cut through your clay.
5 – The Needle Tool
Not only is the needle used for measuring the bottom of your piece, but also for the thickness of the sides. It really helps to eliminate the problem of having too much clay on the bottom half of your piece.
The needle is great for poking any air bubbles that come up while playing with the clay. Just pop the bubble and pinch the air out.
It’s also used for cutting strips of uneven clay off the top of your pottery, and you can use it for scoring clay, even decorating.
6 – The Sponge
You will need a sponge to add water to your piece and eliminate water from your piece. If the water stays on too long, it starts to turn into slip. The slip penetrates into the clay faster and starts to weaken your clay. This can be a problem for beginners because they work on one piece far longer than pros do.
The sponge is also necessary for compressing the bottom and the rim of your pottery.
I use the sponge to smoothing out the sides. I even use it on the outside when bringing up the walls.
7 – The Metal Scraper
This metal scraper is great for smoothing out the sides and scraping away any extra clay. It bends nicely to conform to your clay and help to push the sides out at different points of your piece.
8 – The Wire Clay Cutter
You will quickly find grabbing chunks of clay is really hard unless you have super strong fingers. The wire clay cutter makes taking pieces of clay off your block of clay super easy and fun. I do have another one I like better, but this one does the trick and comes in handy as a good back up.
Also, Try This Handy 18pcs Clay Modeling Set
I use all of these Modeling Tools, from the slip stage of clay, all the way to the bone dry stage.
4 piece Ball Stylus Tools are great for decorating and smoothing areas of your clay you can’t get to with your fingers.
5 piece Wooden Dotting Tools I use a lot. I sign my name on the bottom with the smallest dot and crave into the leather hard clay with the other dots. They work best with leather hard clay where you can make cool designs. I also use them on bone dry pieces to get the little burs out that get stuck in the groves of my designs.
4 piece Modeling Tools I use for decorating and for smoothing out my clay. the one that is pointy on one end and looks like a feather on the other end is my favorite. I use the pointy end to smooth out my clay when I’m making handles. I have not had a broken handle yet. (knock on wood)
5 piece Rubber Tip Pens are fun to use when I’m decorating with slip. The rubber tips serve as a brush and help make some pretty nice designs. They are also great for smoothing areas of clay, especially corners. The different shaped tips work great because as we all know clay is molded into endless shapes.
This Set of Modeling Tools has come in so handy. Having different tools to choose from makes pottery making a bit more enjoyable.
Keeping It All Together With The Pottery Tool Bag
As your pottery tool collection grows, you will find this Studio Art Bag is perfect for keeping all your pottery tools together and in order. This tool bag is also great for potter’s that go to a studio and have a home studio.
When you go to the studio, you may not want to leave tools and supplies there. A tool bag makes it easy and convenient to take all the tools you need on the road.
This bag holds up to 25 lbs and measures 16″ × 9″ × 12. It also has two large compartments, 17 pockets of various sizes and 16 tool holsters, great for trimming tools and other pottery essentials. This tough and sturdy art bag has a canvas-reinforced plastic bottom that prevents punctures and tears. It will last a long time and has a good amount of space for growing your pottery tool collection.
Hope you enjoy these pottery tools as much as I am. As I go through my pottery journey, I find the tools you can choose from seems endless. That’s another fun part of playing with clay. I will be happy to share my new found fun tool suggestions with you.