Steps For Making A Handbuilt Teapot

  1. 1. Prepare conditioned clay that is 3/16” thick for the teapot body and lid.  Texture a portion of the clay with stamps, rollers, or textural mats as desired. You will need a piece of clay that is approximately 6” x 18” for the body and lid, and an untextured piece about 6” x 12” for the bottom, shoulder, and lid seat. 
  2. 2. Prepare a second piece of conditioned clay that is 1/8” OR LESS thick, and is about 4” x 10”.  Cut into spout shape with a template. 
  3. 3. Press a bevelled edge onto the top long edge of the spout blank with the brayer.  Score the edge with a serrated rib dipped in water.
  4. 4. Flip the spout over, and bevel the top edge with the brayer, and then score the long edge that is now at the top.
  5. 5. Gently shape the prepared spout blank around the mandrel as demonstrated, and finish the join with stamps, a roller tool, or your fingertip.
  6. 6. Slip the spout off the mandrel, and bend a small arc into the finished spout placing the join on what will be the top of the spout.  Set it aside to stiffen; cover with plastic if it begins to dry too rapidly.
  7. 7. Cut a strip of untextured clay that is ¾” wide and 10” long.  Cut another piece of strip of clay that is 1-3/4” wide and 10” long.  Roll each strip into a coil as demonstrated and set aside.
  8. 8. Cut a circle of untextured clay to form the shoulder of the teapot.  Cut a second circle of clay from the circle with a round cutter, leaving a clay ring that is approximately ¾” wide. Set this clay ring aside under plastic.
  9. 9. Cut a slightly larger circle of textured clay to form the lid.  Carefully cut a triangular piece from the lid as demonstrated.  Then, score the surfaces of the clay where the angle was removed, and using your fingers press the join together making a neat cap form.  Make sure the lid sits flat and is regular in shape.  
  10. 10. Fit your ¾” wide strip of coiled clay to the inside edge of the upper surface of your clay ring,  Adjust the coiled strip as demonstrated to fit the inner edge of the clay ring, then cut both edges at once with an exacto knife to get a precisely beveled join.  Score the edges of the strip and join them making a round collar. 
  11. 11. Score the bottom of the collar and join it to the prepared ring.  Set the shoulder and collar aside to stiffen.
  12. 12. Join the wider strip into a form that will slip inside the collar and shoulder you have just made. Cut it to correct length with the exacto knife, and join the edges.  Using a banding wheel, a conic plastic cup, or by eye, correct the roundness of the ring.  
  13. 13. Then score the top of the circular form with a dipped serrated rib.  Bevel the top of the form as you score it, matching the gently conic form of your previously prepared lid cap.
  14. 14. Place the lid cap on the scored and moistened ring, striving to center it perfectly.  Once it is in the correct position, carefully press the two pieces together.  
  15. 15. Put the finial of your choice on the top of the lid.
  16. 16. Use a template to cut the teapot body, or a measured rectangle if a straight-up pot is desired.
  17. 17. Find the center point of the teapot blank, and about 1/3” way up the form cut the strainer holes for your teapot.
  18. 18. Using the brayer, bevel both sides of the teapot blank.  DO NOT bevel the top of bottom of the blank.
  19. 19. Score the left edge of the teapot blank with the serrated rib.
  20. 20. Turn the teapot blank over and score the underside of the right side.
  21. 21. Drape the form over a mailing tube to form a consistent curve.
  22. 22. Stand the curved teapot blank on its’ bottom, and press the join together.  The tea
  23. 23. Use an appropriately sized template to cut a teapot bottom from untextured clay. You can also invert the teapot, and correct the roundness of the bottom, and then score it with a rib.  Using both hands, place the scored teapot bottom on a piece of clay that is slightly over the required size.  Then, carefully cut around the teapot bottom and discard the waste.  IF the clay is carefully conditioned yet still moist, the join will be strong even though only one surface has been scored.
  24. 24. Turn the teapot right side up, and attach the spout.  Cut the spout to size as demonstrated.  The spout should extend about 1-1/2” above the edge of the unfinished teapot body so that the spout will be the height of the teapot once the shoulder and collar are attached.
  25. 25. Aggressively score the edge of the spout to be joined to the teapot, and join the teapot spout to the pot as demonstrated.
  26. 26. Score the top edge of the teapot body, and the bottom outer edge of the lid shoulder.  Place the lid shoulder in place, and smooth the join.
  27. 27. Carefully check the lid fit, but let teapot and lid dry separately for at least ½ hour.  Then, place paper strips as demonstrated to assure separation.
  28. 28. When the teapot is stiff but has not begun to change color, attach a pulled or handbuilt handle.