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How to Make Handles for Pottery

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You will want to make handles for many pots such as mugs, pitchers, teapots, and so on. Here are several ways to make handles that are commonly used in pottery.

Strap and Coil Handles

A strap handle ready for attachment, showing the scoring upper for the upper end in progress.
Photo © 2008 Janet L. Giles

The simplest way to make a handle out of clay is to cut them from a slab. Another way is to roll out a coil for a handle. These straps or coils should be of the same general thickness as the walls of the pots they will be attached to. They should also be of the same clay body as the pot. This will avoid problems that could occur due to differences in shrinkage and coefficient of expansion.

Pulled Handles

Dry the pulled handle strap, allowing air to reach it on all sides.
Photo © 2008 Janet L. Giles

Many potters prefer pulled handles to strap handles. Pulled handles have a more organic quality to them and usually have a more fluid line. Another advantage is that the action of pulling the handle aligns the clay particles, this strengthening the clay. As with other handles made from clay, they should be made from the same clay body as the pot they will be attached to.

Handles Made from Other Materials

Stoneware teapot by J.R.Lafferty.
Photo © 2008 Beth E Peterson

Most commonly used on teapots, handles can also be made from other materials such as wood, bamboo, or leather. Many ceramic suppliers carry various types and sizes of handles.

Handles made from other materials must be attached after the pot has gone through its glaze firing. During the pot's creation, lugs must be made which will be large enough (after shrinkage) for the handle ends to fit through. Lugs can be made from slabs, coils, or even pinched from a lump of clay.

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