How To Use A miniature Pottery Wheel – Learn All The Secrets

Hey there, fellow miniature pottery enthusiasts! Today, we’re diving into the delightful world of mini pottery and this guide will walk you through how to use a miniature pottery wheel to do things DIY.

So, grab your apron and roll up your sleeves; we’re about to unlock the secrets of crafting mini masterpieces that fit in the palm of your hand!

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Preparing to Shape the Tiny pottery: Gathering Your Supplies and Tools for your mini pottery wheel

Let’s just dive straight into things with the list of materials that you need for a mini pottery wheel!

Essential tools and materials for crafting miniature pottery.

  1. Miniature Pottery Wheel: The heartbeat of your creative process, this compact wheel spins magic into every miniature masterpiece. And you have an abundance of choices; from affordable but fragile, to a more professional business kind of wheel type.

  2. A super-fine sponge or Eye-Shadow Applicator Sponges: Ideal for smoothing and detailing your miniature creations with precision. You can also use the tip of a piece of cloth, but that can get finicky.

  3. Fine Brushes: An array of small and very small brushes, important on such a small scale.

  4. Crafting Scalpel or Precision Cutter: A precision cutter, such as a crafting knife or even a surgical scalpel, can be a great help for the smallest pottery.
    I am fond of Fiskars Fingertip precision knife, as it gives your hand and fingers a good grip on cutting anything.

  5. Tweezers or Jewelry Tongs: Equip yourself with short and/or long tweezers for delicate maneuvers.

  6. Small Sculpting Tools for Clay: Small Sculpting Tools are indispensable, allowing you to add texture and form to your creations. Especially look out for the sets that have a tool with a small ball on top included, I have used this particular one myself so many times for my YouTube tutorials!

  7. Heat Gun (Paint-Stripping Gun): This tool introduces a unique dimension to your mini pottery, providing controlled heat for specific effects.

Recommendations for clay types suitable for miniature pottery.

For mini pottery on a pottery wheel, it’s better to use a type of clay that is harder and more resistant to drying out. Some good options are:

  1. Ceramic Clay: This clay is available in a wide range of colors and hardness levels. It’s the most versatile choice for pottery on a pottery wheel.

  2. Porcelain clay: This clay is very hard and strong, making it a great choice for creating delicate forms such as vases and bowls.

  3. Terracotta: This clay is more affordable than ceramic clay or porcelain. It’s a good choice for beginners because it’s easy to work with.

For miniature pottery, it’s important to choose a clay that is not too hard, allowing you to preserve the shapes effectively. A suitable option for miniature pottery on a pottery wheel, for instance, is ceramic clay with a hardness of 100-150.

My personal favorite is high-fire porcelain clay, but please do experiment yourself with the clay of your choice.

Step-by-Step Guide: Crafting with a Miniature Pottery Wheel and how to throw miniature pottery?

In the video below, Carl from Carlos Ceramics guides you through the process of creating a charming mini mug on a miniature pottery wheel, step by step. (check out his ceramics Etsy store as well)

Step 1: Setting Up the Miniature Pottery Wheel

Here’s where we start to use the ‘Throwing Off the Hump’ technique, which is basically the same method as with real-size pottery:

  • Begin by wetting the mini pottery wheel’s surface and pressing a small amount of clay onto it.
  • Ensure the clay sticks to the wheel by applying water, preventing it from flying off during the process.
  • Center the clay by pressing it towards the middle of the wheel, holding your fingers around it. This is crucial for a balanced form.
  • Adjust the wheel speed higher than needed, compensating for the slowdown caused by the pressure applied during centering.

Step 2: Forming the Mini Mug

  • Use your little finger to open up the clay, creating the base and shaping it by pressing slowly into the center. (some use a small brush to open it)
  • Pull up the walls by pressing with your right hand on the inside while holding the clay with your left index finger.
  • Correct any width issues by wetting your hands and gently bringing them together to reshape the mug.
  • Trim the top with a tool for a straight rim, and cut away excess clay at the bottom using a wooden tool for a rounded shape.
  • Smooth out the cup with a sponge, adjusting the shape subtly for an aesthetically pleasing form.
  • Dry the mug with a heat gun, focusing on the rim until it becomes lighter, making it easier to remove from the wheel.

Step 3: Crafting the Handle

  • Roll a small piece of clay between your hands and on the table to form a thin handle.
  • Shape the handle with your fingers, making it flat rather than round.
  • Cut a suitable length for the handle, ensuring uniform thickness.
  • Attach the handle by scratching the areas for attachment, applying vinegar for adhesion, and carefully pressing it onto the mug.
  • Smooth out the handle using a small tool, and eliminate any cracks by gently buffing it with a brush or a sponge.
  • Refine the shape by rounding the edges with a sponge and ensure the handle is securely attached.

Step 4: Finalizing and Drying

  • Trim any excess clay at the bottom for a rounded shape, using a wooden tool.
  • Dry the entire mug thoroughly with a heat gun, ensuring even drying.
  • Carefully remove the mug from the wheel using a wire tool.

Step 5: Glazing the miniature mug.

  • After biscuit firing, glaze the mug using your preferred glaze.
  • Apply the glaze in three coats, allowing each coat to dry in between.
  • Remove any glaze on the bottom using a fabric surface.
  • Ensure the mug is clean and ready for the glaze firing.

If you want to experiment with different kinds of projects, just go to Carl’s YouTube channel, because he has plenty more miniature pottery tutorials 😉

Trimming miniature potterydifferent methods

There are a variety of methods for trimming miniature pottery, each with its own benefits and drawbacks.

Faceted Trimming

Faceted trimming is a popular method for miniature pottery because it can create a clean, polished finish. This technique involves carving away overlapping chunks of clay to create a series of flat surfaces. Trimming with facets is often used for miniature pottery because it can be done with a paring knife or a loop tool, which are relatively easy to control. However, faceted trimming can be time-consuming and requires a steady hand.

Foot Trimming

Foot trimming is another common technique for miniature pottery. This method involves cutting a flat surface onto the bottom of the vessel and carving a groove along the edge.

Foot trimming can help to prevent the vessel from tipping over and can also add a decorative touch. Trimming with a foot is often done with a paring knife or a rib tool. However, this method can be challenging to master, as it requires precision and control.

Especially on a very small scale!

Point Trimming

Point trimming is a more advanced technique for miniature pottery. This method involves carving away the bottom of the vessel until it tapers to a point. Trimming with a point can create a very elegant and refined look. However, this method can be very difficult to master and may require the use of more specialized tools.

Other Methods

In addition to the three main methods listed above, there are a number of other techniques that can be used for trimming miniature pottery. These include:

  • Rubber-tipped trimming This method involves using a rubber-tipped tool to smooth out the edges of the pottery. Rubber-tipped trimming can be a good option for creating a smooth, even finish.

  • Wire-cutting This method involves using wire cutters to trim away excess clay. Wire-cutting can be a quick and easy way to trim pottery, but it can also be difficult to control.

  • Loop trimming This method involves using a loop tool to smooth out the edges of the pottery. Loop trimming can create a smooth, even finish, but it can also take some time to master.

The best method for trimming miniature pottery will depend on the desired look of the piece, the size of the pottery, and the skill of the potter. Experiment with different methods to find what works best for you.

Finally, I will conclude with this video tutorial where Mr Rami explains how to use all the different tools on a miniature pottery wheel and how to shape a miniature pot.

Tips and Tricks for the Miniature Pottery Enthusiast

Then finally, we have some tips and tricks to make your work even more attractive.

  1. Right-hand throwers should work on the right side of the wheel:
    This is because the wheel spins counterclockwise, and if you’re right-handed, you’ll have better control over the clay by working on the right side.
    This will allow you to use your dominant hand to shape and pull the clay, while your non-dominant hand can control the wheel’s rotation.

  2. After shaping your vessel, use a wooden tool to define the bottom half:
    Once you’ve achieved the desired shape of your vessel, use a wooden tool, such as a rib tool or a needle tool, to refine the bottom half of the vessel. This will help to create a clean, smooth surface.

  3. Cut off the vessel by slowly moving the tool towards the center of the clay:
    To detach your vessel from the wheel, slowly move the wooden tool towards the center of the clay. Be careful not to cut too deep, as this could damage the vessel.

  4. Trimming by hand is often easier than trimming by the wheel for miniatures:
    Miniature pottery wheels can be difficult to control, and trimming by hand can often be more precise. Use a paring knife or a loop tool to carefully whittle away excess clay, and smooth out the edges with a damp sponge or cloth.

  5. Utilizing Elmer’s Glue for temporary attachments in the firing process:
    • Apply Elmer’s Glue to the pieces to be attached: Elmer’s Glue is a strong adhesive that can be used to temporarily attach miniature ceramic pieces together. Once the glue is dry, the pieces can be fired together without fear of them coming apart.

  6. Atmospheric firing techniques:
    • Experiment with Raku and Saggar: Raku and Saggar are two atmospheric firing techniques that can be used to create unique finishes on miniature pottery.

Related article:

My Final Conclusion

I hope to have informed you well enough about how to use a miniature pottery wheel and I am looking forward to seeing your results on my social media pages!

If you have any more questions about this topic, please feel free to leave a comment down below!

I wish you happy crafting!

Kind regards,


4 thoughts on “How To Use A miniature Pottery Wheel – Learn All The Secrets”

  1. Hey Lizzy!

    🌟 Your comprehensive guide on using a miniature pottery wheel is nothing short of inspiring! It’s amazing how you’ve broken down the entire process into manageable steps, making the art of mini pottery seem so accessible to beginners like myself. I’m particularly intrigued by the variety of clay types you recommend and the detailed tips for crafting the perfect mini mug.

    Before diving into my first project, I have a question: Do you have a favourite glaze or finishing technique that you find brings out the best in these miniature creations?

    I’m curious to learn more about how to add that final touch of magic to my pottery pieces. Thanks for sharing your expertise and passion with us, and I’m eagerly awaiting your response!

    • Hi John!
      Thank you for the compliments!
      About your question: I will dive deeper into finishing and glazing of miniature pottery later in another article, but as for a glazing product,the best would be to use a durable one, like the mid fire glaze for small pottery by Penguin.
      I hope this answers your question and keep posted for more!
      I wish you happy crafting!

  2. Hi Lizzy

    Pottery has been a fascinating subject, turning clay and other materials into pots, bowels or jars. It’s both creative and eco-friendly to do. I especially like how you structured the step-by-step guides, making it helpful and easy for aspiring potters to follow. Thank you for this amazing article.


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