Texture, Texture, Texture! | Big Ceramic Store


Ordinary pieces can become quite extraordinary when you add texture! The most common way to make texture is by impressing various objects into the clay. From pre-designed rollers, to gravel from the garden, there's no end to the textures you can create by impressing different objects into a slab of clay. Another way to create texture is by creating patterns on smooth clay slabs with glaze, underglaze and slip. Here are some tips and the tools you need to get started creating intricate and mesmerizing textures on your ceramics pieces!

Texture Rollers A roulette or roller is a circular shape with pattern all around, that you can roll for a continuous pattern. From basket-weave patterns to polka dots, there are numerous options when looking for texture rollers. Even basic designs look great when repeated across a clay slab. Try layering different rollers for a thoroughly unique design!
Plaster Texture MoldsYou can make your own plaster texture molds by pouring plaster into molds such as margarine containers, and carving patterns into them before they are fully hardened. (See previous tips on making plaster molds.) Or, you can use our full size texture molds to create large textured slabs. A simple teapot, or platter becomes very interesting when made from patterned slabs.
StampsLike before, you can make your own stamps in a variety of ways including creating a plaster stamp mold or by carving into a printmaking block. You can even create and fire clay stamps for use on other projects! We also have a variety of stamps to choose from. MKM wooden stamps are the most popular.
Texture PaddlesPaddle your pieces with textured wood paddles or a rope texture paddle. Texture paddles are a great way to cover large areas with a uniform pattern. Create stripes across a whole slab to add some movement to your slab pieces.
Decorating SlipAdd thick slip to a mustard bottle or slip trailing bottle, then make slip "dots" or "stripes" all over your surface. Decorating slip gives you the ultimate freedom in creating patterns and texture. You're the artist and the design is entirely in your hands!
Texture CombWant a little control over your slip? Apply thick slip to your piece, and "comb" it. We have rubber triangle combs with 3 patterns to create fluid lines and textures to the raised slip. Or, you can make your own by taking a piece of rubber or vinyl and cutting your own patterned combs into it.

Other Ways to Texture

  • Press found objects into clay. Some of my favorites are: rocks, tree bark, rubbery, non-slip shelf liner paper, wheat germ, and dry cereal.
  • If your piece isn't formed yet, and the texture is thin enough, you can put the textured material on the clay and re-roll it with your rolling pin or slab roller. If your piece is already made but still soft enough to texturize, use a Pony Roller to impress the item into the clay.
  • Make textured rolling pins by applying a pattern of caulk to a standard rolling pin.
  • When using textures, try to use glaze which adds to the textured look rather than covers it up. Usually these would be transparent glazes, or glazes that "break".
  • One of my favorite textures is made by taking soft clay and rubbing it onto a leather hard piece. You can experiment to get the effect you like. But sometimes the best tools are the ones you are born with!
  • Some people have good success using stamps from craft stores. You can also take pieces of foam and draw your own patterns using a wood burning tool or soldering iron with burning tip. (Make sure you are in a well ventilated room!)
  • Draw textures into clay using rubber clay shapers. Or use carving tools to carve designs out. For example, the Kemper wire loop sgraffito tools or ribbon tools.
  • Stamp with letters and numbers.
A great example fromhandbuilding.com! Using plaster texture molds. Using soft clay to texture.
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