Save Money With 3 Tips On How to Make a Pottery Wheel

how to make a pottery wheel

Are you wondering how to make a pottery wheel? It’s actually not as complicated as you think.

A pottery wheel is one of the most important tools for potters.

art of pottery

Image from Pixabay

Whether you’re a beginner and you’re only getting your hands dirty with clay or you’re already a pro who’s been throwing clay for years, you can’t go without a pottery wheel.

The world’s earliest potters used mats which they rotated with their hands. They would roll the clay body into a thin, long strand and wind it around, turning the mat as they go.

It was around 5,000 years ago that ancient potters in Mesopotamia learned how to make a pottery wheel.

This sped up their work significantly. What took hours to create only took minutes. It also helped them create pottery with more symmetry.

You too can learn how to make a pottery wheel without having to spend a lot of money on tools and materials.

Why You Need to Learn How to Make a Pottery Wheel

Most people who want to learn how to make a pottery wheel do so because of one thing.

They don’t have plenty of room in their budget to buy one. A pottery wheel isn’t cheap.

And you also need to consider other expenses. You’ll need to buy clays, glazes, and carving tools. Plus, you need a kiln for firing your ceramics.

potter using the pottery wheel

Image from Pixabay

If you’re not sure about the permanence of pottery in your life, it may be too early to lay down a significant amount of money to buy the best pottery wheel on the market.

Learning how to make a pottery wheel certainly does take more effort.

But if your goal is to save money, it’s a great way to start throwing without spending too much. Most people can learn how to make a pottery wheel for far less than a hundred bucks.

3 Types of Pottery Wheels

When you’re first starting to learn how to make a pottery wheel, you might be confused by how many options you have.

There are quite a few types of pottery wheels. And you’ll find so many online plans and designs for making them.

But all these types and plans all share the same common principle. Each pottery wheel uses some sort of rotating mechanism to move the wheel head, where the actual throwing is done.

1. Get your kicks on

2. A step up from the traditional potter’s wheel

3. A true 21st-century pottery wheel

How to Make a Pottery Wheel

There are many ways to learn how to make a pottery wheel. You only have to be creative about it.

If you’re a self-sufficient DIYer, you can build a kick wheel from scratch using plywood. You can also build an electric wheel using the motor of an old treadmill.

In a pinch, you can even learn how to make a pottery wheel using a mop bucket.

1. For true-blue do-it-yourselfers

2. Get the old treadmill out

3. More than just a mop bucket

An easier way

If that seems like way too much work, check out the video below of a DIYer making it with bike parts:

3 Tips for Making a Pottery Wheel


Image from Pixabay

When learning how to make a pottery wheel, there are a few things you have to consider aside from the construction of the wheel.

You need to factor in things like seating, splash pans, and the position of your arms and hands.

Provide seating for everyone

potter sharing the wheel

Image from Pexels

If you’ll be sharing the wheel with other people, it’s best to use a separate stool.

But if you insist on adding one to the wheel, go for adjustable seats that can be raised or lowered.

A seat that’s too short will have you straining to reach the clay.

And a seat that’s too high will have you bending forward too much and could hurt your back and neck.

Watch your water

pottery wheel with splash pan

Image from Pixabay

If you want to learn how to make a pottery wheel, think about whether you want to add a splash pan.

A splash pan collects the clay water and little bits of clay that may fly off the wheel head while you’re working.

This helps keep the area clean so you don’t have to mop up wet clay from the floor when you’re done.

You can also attach a hose to the splash pan so that it leads to a bucket below the wheel.

Get your arms comfortable

pot making

Image from Pixabay

Working on the wheel for hours can strain your arms, especially if you’re working with heavy clay bodies.

If you’d like to have a spot for your arms to rest, you may want to add wooden armrests.

Some people prefer not to because they find that the armrests get in the way.

It depends on your preference. Since you're building your own wheel, you can position the armrests out of the way.

Learn How to Make a Pottery Wheel

If you know how to make a pottery wheel, you can save a lot of money on one of the essential tools you’ll need as a potter.

The most important thing you want to remember is to keep your wheel turning smoothly. You want to avoid a squeaky or wobbly wheel that can cause uneven, lopsided creations.

Start with a longer shaft first. This will help you adjust the height of the wheel to your preference if needed later.

Once you get the hang of using the wheel, you can add a few bells and whistles.

For example, you can make bats out of particleboard. Some hooks secured to the side of the frame can also be a great way to keep your tools at hand. You can also build an extra plate to hold your clay water bucket.

What other ideas do you have for people who want to know how to make a pottery wheel? Share them with us in the comments.

Featured Image from Pixabay


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