When I was making my mugs and such, I used to make one handle at a time, however; I've discovered it's much more rewarding to make a bunch and have them ready to go.
And... to make life even easier, I've recently discovered the Kemper Handle Maker, which helps me make a ton of handles in a short amount of time!
Are you making mugs, jugs, pitchers, etc...? Why not make all the handles at the same time so you can have them ready to attach, and... the best part... you can make them all look alike if you want! So, how does this handle maker work? It's pretty simple actually. Just roll out a slab of clay roughly the thickness of the handle maker opening and get to work.
Once you've rolled out and measured your slab, start cutting a handle from one end of the clay
. It's important that you keep the handle maker in an upright position in order to get the same shape all the way down the length of the slab.
When you've cut the length of the slab, you will need to pull off the excess clay from the outside of the handle.
The next step is to pull the "handle" away from the rest of the slab.
At this point, I usually trim the ragged edge from the slab before I make the next handle piece. It just makes it easier to see where the handle maker is cutting.
Cut out as many handle strips as possible from your slab then cut them to your desired length
Using a damp sponge
, clean and smooth the edges of each handle
The next step is up to you, however; I like to add a thumb tab to my handles, so this is when I make them.
Roll out a coil of clay roughly 1/4" diameter and as long as you are comfortable with, then cut it into 3" pieces
Dampen the strip to make bending easier and prevent cracks
Bend the coil until the ends touch and pinch it together lightly
Score/dampen to attach to one end of the handle
Once you've attached the thumb tab to the handle, lightly press in the tab to make a comfortable hold for your thumb
Now that you've made the handles, it's time to shape them for attaching when the time comes. I use a cardboard tube for several reasons... the clay doesn't stick and it's the perfect size for my mug handles.
Lay the handles over the tube and lightly press them to the form
If you noticed... I used two needle tools
, pressed into my drywall ware-board, to steady the tube and keep it for rolling. You can use a couple small pieces of clay or a magazine, etc...
If you don't plan to use the handles right away, you can put a piece of plastic wrap on the tube and cover them with a piece as well.
Happy handle making!