Big Ceramic Store Blog

Using Clay Coils To Create Awesome Pieces

I love using clay coils to create interesting bowls, platters, vases, etc... however; it's not nearly as easy as you might think. Rolling a coil can be a bit more challenging than it appears.

Once you get the hang of it though, the possibilities are unlimited! You can go tall and thin, short and fat, oval or square, or create your own unique shapes.

Grab your coffee and follow me to the studio where I will give you step-by-step instructions for creating a large colander out of coils.

Step 1 - Throw or hand build a base for your colander. Set the base aside to dry to the leather hard stage.

Step 2 - Roll a bunch of coils for the body of the colander... here are a few tips for this step;

  • Using an Clay Gun is a great way to get symetrical coils without much effort
    • Have you ever tried to roll -coils that are the same thickness from one end to the other without success? I always thought it would be super easy to roll a coil, but I was wrong! Too much pressure, too little pressure, uneven pressure... UGH!!!
  • Anyway, I've found the easiest way to roll a coil is first off, make sure the clay is nice and soft. Then, start a coil by rolling the clay from your fingertips all the way to the end of your hand then back again in one smooth motion, and with light pressure.


  • Once you've mastered the coils and made a bunch, cover them with plastic and set them aside.

Step 3 - Take the leather hard base you made earlier and score the top rim. Attach a coil to the base by scoring and dampening with water, magic water or slip. Make sure to pull up a bit on each coil after placing it to make sure it's attached well. If it isn't, score and dampen again.

coil group
Step 4 - Build the body of your colander as large as you want with straight coils, or step it up a notch by throwing in a few twists, loops, etc...

Step 5 - Let the bowl and base set up a while then punch holes in the body and floor of the bowl to create a colander.


  • If you take notice, I added a bottom ring to my colander to elevate the base a bit so the water can drain through easier.

Here are a few additional design tips:

  • Use different colors of compatible clay to make your coils
  • Add embellishments to the inside/outside of the body
  • Add handles - either with clay, or you can add a bamboo handle once it's glazed/fired
  • Add a pour spout
  • Add a heavy loop on the rim or base for hanging on the wall

If you'd like to share your ideas, projects, or submit a post for our blog, email us at! We look forward to hearing from you! Ps... you can send us your pictures at that address as well!


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