Big Ceramic Store Blog

Double Walled Vessels - The Hand Built Way

Have you ever seen a double walled vessel? You know, the ones with a solid inner vessel, encased in a delicately designed outer shell? I'm sure if you did, the first thing you thought was, "Wow, I wish I could do that!"

The thought of throwing a vessel inside a vessel may scare you, but how do you feel about trying a hand-built version... you could even use different color clays for each vessel!

Well, I'm gonna give it a try, and thought you might like to join me. Grab your coffee and follow me to the studio!I've been giving it a lot of thought and I believe a simple design for the first attempt is probably best. I'm using a coloring book page as a template this time, but you could use a stencil, stamps, or if you're feeling really creative... freehand your own design.

Let's gather a few supplies and get started. Here is what you will need:

  • clay slab rolled to 1/8" thickness
  • design ideas, templates or stamps
  • scoring tool
  • slip
  • pin tool and/or fettling knife
  • carving tools
  • sponge/water

The first step is to decide what shape and size you want your finished piece to be. I'm going with an 6.5" tall by 4.5" wide finish, so to accommodate for shrinkage, the slab for my outer vessel is cut to 7" x 15"

After cutting a paper template to that size, I used a second piece of paper and trimmed it until I was happy with the inside vessel, which ended up being 7" x 12". That gave me a space between the two vessels of roughly 1/2".


After you've cut your pieces of clay to the dimensions you want, it's time to lay out your design and get to cutting. Trace the design onto the outer shell piece of clay with a stylus or dull pencil and mark the sections you want to cut out by shading them in a little.


The next step is to decide if you want the inside vessel to be plain or if you want a design that shows through. I've decided to texture the inside vessel with a texture mat for a little extra eye candy.

Once you have both pieces designed, it's time to assemble them.

  • Roll the outer shell into the shape of your choice
  • score and slip the seam
  • then join it together


  • do the same with the inner shell


  • measure the diameter of the outer shell and cut a base to fit
  • place the inner shell on the center of the base and trace the outline


  • score/slip both the bottom of the shell and the traced area on the base
  • set the shell on the scored area and rotate it slightly while applying pressure
  • score the outer rim of the base and the bottom of the outside shell and attach like you did the inner shell


  • join the two shells at the top with a decorative coil of clay


What did you think? Send us comments and pictures of your creations to!

One thought on “Double Walled Vessels - The Hand Built Way”

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