Big Ceramic Store Blog

How To Safely Transport Greenware

EMaybe you're just starting out, don't have room for a kiln, or just don't make enough pieces to warrant that large of a purchase, in any case... this article is for you.

In today's post we're going to touch on a few ways to transport your greenware safely for firing at a "satellite" location. With a few tips from articles I've read over the years, as well as my own experiences, we're hoping to get those pieces from point A to point B in ONE PIECE!

Let's start with the different stages of greenware;

  • Soft Leather Hard - this is when the clay is freshly formed and just setting up. It is still pliable but touching doesn't leave fingerprints.
  • Leather Hard - this is the stage before "bone dry." The clay will still have obvious moisture (apparent in the appearance and feel of the form... the clay will be darker and colder), however; if you were to try bending or shaping... it will break
Left - Leather Hard Right - Bone Dry Left - Leather Hard
Right - Bone Dry
  • Bone Dry - the clay will be lighter in color, with a "dusty" appearance, as well as room temperature to the touch. This stage is the MOST fragile state of the clay!

**Leather Hard is the preferred stage for transport. It's solid enough to hold shape, however; it won't chip and crack as easily as bone dry**

When you're ready to transport, you will need a few supplies;

  • Boxes or plastic totes
  • Bubble wrap
  • Grocery bags, newspaper, rags, or other soft items like peanuts

***Whatever container you choose for packing, make sure you line the bottom with bubble wrap, or soft foam to cushion***

The secret to successful transport is to minimize movement of each piece, and to make sure if it is going to move, it bumps into something that is soft and forgiving.

Tips For Success

  • Wrap each piece individually
  • Place a "filler" between pieces - this could be paper, plastic grocery bags, soft rags, foam sheets, air pillows, etc...
  • Plates/Platters do better on their side but make sure to wrap and cushion well
  • Large bottles, jars, etc... place them in their own container like a 5gal bucket lined with bubble wrap
  • DO NOT STACK items or boxes
  • Bowls and pieces with smaller bases can be inverted for stability
  • Pieces that have handles, spouts, etc... be sure any piece sticking out is supported with filler and will not bump into anything

If you search the web you will find many additional ideas. I've even seen where you can put bone dry clay into your oven on the self-cleaning cycle to "pre-bisque" before transport. **Note: there could be hazards involved with this method. Be sure to research before you attempt it, and remember, there will be fumes and odors associated to heating the clay.**

Happy Transporting!

One thought on “How To Safely Transport Greenware”

  • Clay Blog Review: May 2017 - Pottery Making Info |

    […] Big Ceramic Store: How To Safely Transport Greenware […]


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