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Ideas for finishing bottoms

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  • Ideas for finishing bottoms

    How can I finish the bottoms of my pottery? I have glazed pottery: bowls, plates, jars, pitchers, etc. I would like to make the bottoms nicer because they are rough and unglazed. Any ideas of how to clean them up for sale. I thought of painting the bottoms with acrylic paints which might work but not if I would like to use the pottery for food or could I? Any suggestions?!?

  • #2
    I always used to sand lightly but leave as they are, I think you will find that most people expect pottery bottoms to look like this. Using acrylic could come off when washed.


    • #3
      I also sand the bottoms before firing, and finish after wards if need be with a small sanding stone I think it was sold for taking off glaze runs.
      Happy Crafting!

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      • #4
        Are these pieces slipcast, handbuilt or thrown?


        • #5
          When the pot has dried (but not been fired) smooth the bottom with a damp sponge. You can get rid of any other sharp edges in the same way.

          Then after the first (biscuit) firing if there are still any little rough bits adhering, you can sand with ordinary sandpaper to get it really smooth. If necessary you can sand again after the final firing.

          I wouldn't paint the bottoms with acrylics. It won't be very effective and will make your pottery look a bit tacky.


          • #6
            Thanks. I'll try sanding them. I just wanted to make sure the bottoms wouldn't scratch furniture.


            • #7
              Just a thought: I'm not a potter but as a customer I only ever buy pottery, china etc. with glazed bottoms.
              I just can't stand the feel of the rough pottery and would certainly not stand it straight onto my solid wood.


              • #8
                I always smooth the bottoms of my pieces with a damp sponge, it works best for me. I've used "wet and dry" paper to make edges really really smooth (fine black sand paper that you use wet)

                If its the look of the raw clay underneath you don't like, perhaps you could try neatly sticking some cut of pieces of felt or foam onto the bottoms?


                • #9
                  Tidy bottoms!

                  If you buy firing stilts from a pottery supplier, you can glaze the bases and then stand them on the stilts. These are most commonly used for plates but if you're careful you could use them for anything. The only thing is, they do sometimes leave a small part of the stilt stuck in the glaze, which then has to be sanded off.



                  • #10
                    You can only use stilts at earthenware temperatures. If you use them on stoneware firings they will distort the pot and you'll find it almost impossible to remove the stilt. Truly the best way to finish bottoms is to smooth them with a damp sponge when they are completely dry prior to firing.

                    As has been mentioned earlier, you can always stick a piece of felt neatly cut to shape, or buy some small cork circles particularly for items that hold candles or tealights and are likely to get hot.


                    • #11
                      Why don't you try altering your designs and make quirky bottoms with 'feet' so the surface area for the items to stand in the kiln in smaller. (obv no literally feet but you get what I mean) or maybe a lip then its just a rim around the bottom that would be glaze free.
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                      • #12
                        Turn and burnish

                        I usually turn my bottoms adding cutting a shallow foot and then smooth with a sponge, then sometime burnish to give a nice smooth shine.


                        • #13
                          I trim a foot onto all my pieces, this give a clean edge to glaze up to, and a recess that can be glazed or left unglazed.

                          it's easiest on a wheel obviously but theres no reason you couldn't roll out a coil of clay and apply (scored and slipped) that to create a similar look.

                          Just remember if you get any glaze on the rim to wipe it off really well.

                          Good luck!


                          • #14
                            With turned wood we tend to reverse the vase etc on the lathe and clean up and sometimes decorate the bottom to remove all signs of the chuck etc. The old way was to glue a piece of felt onto the bottom. Could either of these methods be applied to the clay?

                            "Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art" ... Leonardo Da Vinci



                            • #15
                              Yes Pete, it is already standard practice for us potters to 'turn' our pots after they've become leather hard, to smooth off any rough edges.

                              What I tend also to do if I'm not putting on feet or a footring is to turn the base so that it dips in the centre, so only the outside edge will actually touch the furniture. And that edge is smoothed as much as possible, so shouldn't cause any damage to furniture.