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If there is a potter in your life, and you are struggling to find them a gift, you have come to the right place. Pottery is full of gadgets, doohickeys, and thingummy bobs that can make perfect gifts for potters. If you are not into making pottery yourself, it can seem like a minefield. So, I thought I’d put together a handy list of the best gifts for a pottery nut. I hope this will make your gift buying process a little easier.
Budget is often a factor when gift buying, so I’ve broken the list down into price ranges. Here are the price range categories:
- $20 and under (Budget)
- $50 and under (Middle of the Road)
- Under $100 (Getting Spenny)
- Over $100 (Big old splurge)
- DIY Handmade Gifts
You can jump straight to the section that fits your budget. Or you might want to browse the whole list and combine a few of the smaller items if you want.
Perfect Gifts for Potters
Let’s start off with the best pottery gifts and doodahs that are under $20…
Pottery Gifts Under $20
Here are 18 pottery gifts for under $20:
HydroBats are bats that fit directly onto the pottery wheel head. Like regular pottery bats, the pot is then thrown directly on the HydroBat.
The difference from a usual wooden bat is that the HydroBat is made from Hydrostone. This is a U.S Gypsum product that is much harder than the regular Plaster of Paris. Because it’s very hard, it doesn’t chip, scratch, or break easily.
However, it is very absorbent. The idea behind the HydroBat is that it absorbs moisture from the bottom of the pottery. When enough moisture has been drawn from the clay, you can simply lift the pot from the bat.
This means you can avoid cutting the pottery off the bat. It is also good for larger pieces because you can let the pot dry a little before moving it off the bat easily.
This helps avoid damaging the shape of the pot as you lift it from the bat. Potters who use HydroBats usually LOVE them.
2) Chamois Leathers
Chamois leather is soft suede that is used to smooth out clay surfaces, and compress clay. I find it invaluable when tidying up the edges of hand-built or wheel-thrown pottery.
These small squares of chamois leather by Penguin Pottery are ideal. As a potter, you only need small, individual sections, rather than a great big sheet that you might use to dry a car.
3) Steel Calipers
Calipers are a very handy tool, especially for making pottery lids. They are used to measure the inside or outside edge of a pot.
Once you have the exact measurement using the caliper, you can make a lid that fits your pot perfectly.
All potters use sponges. They can be used to either moisten clay or to mop up excess water from your pottery. There are different kinds of sponges.
Or you might choose sponges made specifically with potters in mind, such as Mudtools Mudsponges.
Alternatively, you might choose one of each to make a nice gift for a potter.
5) Clay Shapers
Clay shapers are pencil-like handheld tools with a firm but bendy piece of shaped silicone rubber on one end. As the name suggests, they are useful for shaping clay!
They can be used to add decorative design details. But they are also good for tidying up and compressing joins in clay. For example, they can be used to ensure that handles on cups and mugs are firmly attached.
6) Loop Tools
Loop tools are more or less essential for trimming your pottery on the wheel.
Some loop tools are a bit flimsy and break easily. What I like about Xiem tools is that they are made from heat-treated steel. So, they are strong and sharp.
Xiem tools trim easily and will not bend or break when they have been used a few times. Loop tools are relatively inexpensive and a couple of different-sized loops are great gifts for potters.
These are the two that I use the most:
7) The Do All Tool by Mudtools
The ‘do all’ tool, is styled on a Japanese trimming tool and developed by Mudtools. It’s been designed to do a range of trimming jobs. And the idea is that it replaces the need to have a big selection of tools.
The ‘do all’ has a large curved end which is good for trimming the body of a pot. And it has a square end with slightly curved edges. This helps you trim and shape the foot of your pot easily.
Lastly, the curled end has a small tight curl on the tip. This does the jobs that your smaller trimming tools would do.
8) Pottery Forms
Pottery forms are great if you want to hand-build some pots or dishes rather than using a wheel. They are made out of absorbent material and they come in different shapes and sizes. You can buy cicular, square, oval, or oblong forms.
Essentially you roll your clay out to a thickness of about a ¼ of an inch. Cut out a section of the clay a little larger than the form.
Then drape the clay over the GR pottery form. Shape the clay over the form by pressing it gently with your hands or rib tool. The clay then takes on the shape of the form.
You can easily make beautiful, uniform sets of plates, and dishes using a GR pottery form.
9) Textured Rolling Pin or Mini Roller
Textured rolling pins are a great way to customize and easily add some interest to your clay. You simply roll out your slab of clay and then used the textured roller to add design details.
Textured rollers come in a range of patterns. So, if you are buying for someone else, and you know what they are into, then you can buy to suit their taste.
10) Textured Mat
Another lovely way to add texture to clay is to use a textured mat. These are made from flexible rubber and can be used to curve around a shaped piece of clay.
You can either put underglaze or glaze on the raised texture of the pattern. This is then pressed lightly against the clay and will transfer the design onto the piece.
Or you can use the textured mat to imprint the design of the mat into the clay. Creating a texture on the clay surface. Mayco makes a lovely range of textured mat designs which make great gifts for potters.
Stencils make great gifts for potters. You can use stencils in lots of different ways. One way is to hold the stencil up against bisque pottery and use a sponge to apply underglaze in a patterned effect. Or you can use it to apply glaze in a specific pattern.
Stencils can also be used to add texture to clay. You can hold the stencil up against unfired workable clay and roll over the stencil with a roller. The pressure of the roller will leave the texture of the stencil pattern on the clay surface.
12) An Atomizer
Atomizers are a fun way to spray underglaze or glaze onto pottery. They are simple and low-tech. Essentially the atomizer is a fine pipe or tube that sits in the glaze or underglaze.
You then blow gently through another tube. The blowing action then draws the liquid up through one pipe and out the end of the other pipe. This creates a nice spray effect on pottery ware.
Atomizers come in a few designs. Here are the main ones:
- Two tubes: With this design, you lower one of the tubes into your glaze or underglaze container.
- An atomizer with a built-in barrel: With this model, you fill the barrel with your chosen glaze or underglaze.
13) Designer Liner
Mayco Designer liner is a way of coloring clay in a precise detailed way. It is a bit like underglaze, which is basically a kind of colored paint for clay.
Designer liner comes in a bottle with a nozzle or tip applicator. You use the metal tip and applicator to apply a thin line of the colorant onto your pottery. So, you can use it to make really lovely intricate designs on your pieces. It comes in a range of 11 colors to suit all tastes.
14) Diamond Sanding Blocks
Although it might not seem like the most glamorous of gifts for potters, diamond sanding blocks are a good practical choice. These can be used for grinding down and polishing the base of pots once they have been fired.
Fired clay is hard and will scratch wooden table surfaces. So, typically, potters will smooth the base of their pots down before using or selling them. Diamond sanding blocks are a great way of getting a nice smooth bottom.
15) Pottery T-Shirt
Most potters wear old clothes when they are making pottery, as it can get messy. So, there is not much you can buy as a gift in the way of pottery clothing.
However, a nice fun pottery T-shirt makes a good gift for a ceramics enthusiast.
16) Alphabet Stamps for Lettering
A nice set of lettering stamps, to write text on clay is a great gift for potters. They are fun to use, and a good addition to a potter’s equipment, particularly if they have a liking for the written word.
Gifts for Potters Under $50
Here are some of the best gifts for potters under $50…
17) A Potters Apron
Pottery is messy and getting clay and glaze stains out of clothing can be tricky, so an apron is essential. But even better than a regular apron is a split-leg pottery apron. These are designed specifically to be used when making pottery on the wheel.
The split down the front means that the fabric falls on your legs as you use the wheel. A regular apron simply bunches up around your waist and doesn’t protect your legs from clay splatter. But with a split leg apron, your legs will be splatter-free!
18) A Trimming Tool Set
A nice set of trimming tools specifically for detail work on your pottery is always a good option.
This lovely set of refined trimming tools by Xiem are made of high-grade steel, with nice ergonomic rubber handles. They are a fantastic way to add a precise finish to pottery that has been made on the wheel.
What list of gifts would be complete without a selection of enthusiasts’ bestsellers? Books are a good old fail-safe as far as gift-giving goes.
There are a lot of amazing pottery books available that make great gifts for potters. Check out this list of recommended pottery books to see if you think they may interest the potter in your life.
- The Potter’s Dictionary of Materials and Techniques – F. & J. Hamer
- The Complete Guide to Mid-Range Glazes – J. Britt
- Mastering the Potter’s Wheel: Techniques, Tips and Tricks for Potters – B. Carter
- Color in Glazes – L. Bloomfield
- A Potter’s Workbook – C. Illian
- Ceramic Faults and Their Remedies – H. Fraser
- The Potter’s Complete Studio Handbook – K. Muller and J. Zamek
- A Potter’s Book – B. Leach
- Science for Potters – L. Bloomfield
20) Luster Overglaze
Luster overglaze is a metallic paint that can be used to add gold, platinum, and mother of pearl details to pottery.
The metallic particles are suspended in a liquid medium, so they can be painted onto glazed pottery. The pottery is then fired again so that the precious metal is sealed to the pottery permanently. Lusters are a great way to add beautiful precious metal accents to pottery.
At around $35 for a 2 gm bottle, they are definitely a special addition to any potter’s glazing shelf.
21) Subscription to a Ceramics Magazine
It’s a cliché, but it’s true that a magazine subscription is a gift that keeps on giving. The nice thing about a subscription is that it isn’t just a one-hit-wonder.
A monthly magazine is something that can be enjoyed throughout the year. There are some great pottery and ceramics magazines available. And, being packed with tips, they make great gifts for potters.
Here are three suggestions to consider:
22) A Class at a Local Pottery Studio
Learning online is great, but there is nothing quite like actually going to a studio in person to learn from an experienced potter.
It doesn’t take long to check out local pottery studios and see if they are running classes. Vouchers to attend a local pottery class make a wonderful gift for potters.
So, why not google your local pottery studios and see if they are running classes. Just search for ‘pottery classes’ or ‘workshops’ and see what’s going on in your area.
Incidentally, there is a good list of classes in Clay Times. You might find something local here:
23) Online Pottery Workshops
If there are no local pottery classes in your area, then an online pottery class is a great option. Online pottery classes are good gifts for potters who need flexibility in their schedules.
With online courses, you can access the content whenever it suits you. And you have access to great pottery teachers across the globe. Why not check out some courses at The Ceramic School.
24) A Clay Shield by WiziWig
A WiziWig clay shield is an adjustable barrier that you put up around the wheel head of your potter’s wheel. It stops clay trimmings and splatter from spraying off your wheel as you trim and throw.
It can be positioned inside or outside the splash pan. It’s great if you are using your pottery wheel in your home and want to avoid splashes and splatter on your home.
25) A Pottery Bat System
A bats system consists of a round wooden bat that fixes to the pottery wheel head. It also includes square inserts that fit into the round base bat.
The idea is that you throw your pot on the square insert. Then when you have finished making your piece, you lift the insert off the round bat. This is a great idea because you can avoid having to move your pottery when it is still soft and fresh off the wheel.
26) A Lesson with a Local Potter
Group pottery classes are great, but a one-to-one lesson with a local, experienced potter is amazing. Why not try searching online to see if there are any local potters offering one on one lessons. Vouchers for one on one pottery tutoring are great gifts for potters.
27) Diamond Core Carving Tools
If the potter in your life likes to carve into clay, then a set of carving tools might be just the gift. Diamond Core Tools make beautiful carving tools.
They are handmade, with hardwood handles, and a foam grip for comfort. And, the blade itself is made from thin, sharp stainless steel. They are excellent for precision work, and a pleasure to carve clay with.
Gifts for Potters Under $100
Here are some of the best gifts for potters under $100…
28) Banding Wheels
Every potter needs a banding wheel. A banding wheel is a plinth that is mounted on bearings that can rotate so you can turn your pottery with ease as you work.
There are different brands of banding wheels on the market. But without doubt Shimpo banding wheels are the best.
Some banding wheels are lightweight, flimsy, and wobbly to use. By contrast, Shimpo banding wheels are made from cast iron, so they are weighty and solid. In addition to this, their turning action is smooth. All of which makes the work of the potter much easier.
29) Hand Held Clay Extruder
A clay extruder works on the principle that you load clay into the barrel and press the lever. The clay then extrudes out of the barrel through a die. The ‘dies’ have different shapes cut into them, so you can change the shape of the clay extrusion.
These are great for making decorative details to go onto pottery. But they are particularly good for making handles for mugs, cups, and dishes.
30) A Piece of Pottery by Their Favorite Potter
It might seem like a strange suggestion, but a piece of pottery by another potter can be a great gift.
Perhaps the potter in your life loves the work of a particular potter or ceramic artist? Find out whose work then love, then look online to see if any of that work is for sale.
Most potters will have some sort of shop front where you can buy their pottery. These shops are often on Etsy. Usually, a mug or a piece of pottery will be between $50 and $100.
It’s lovely to have a piece of pottery made by someone you admire. So, this gift would be a very special one that would, I’m sure, be treasured.
31) A Set of Glazes
Most potters will welcome a new set of glazes. A set of six will cost around $70-80, depending on the brand.
There is a lot of different types of glaze on the market, and it can feel like a minefield choosing a glaze.
However, you could ask a few questions about the brand of glaze they use, and the colors they like. This would put you in a good position to buy them a set of glazes, and for it to still be a surprise!
Gifts for Potters Over $100
Here are some of the best gifts for potters over $100…
32) Custom Signature Stamps
A customize stamp to sign pottery adds a personal seal to a potter’s work.
The design of a custom signature is quite personal. But perhaps you know a potter who has a logo, but doesn’t have a stamp? Or perhaps you have good design flair and have a nice idea for a stamp that they may like?
Either way, custom signature stamps can make lovely gifts for potters.
33) A Pottery Wheel
If you are buying for someone who has been making pottery for a while, they most likely have a pottery wheel already.
However, you may be looking for a gift for someone who is new to pottery. Or perhaps the person you are buying for has hand-built all of their pottery before. If so, then a pottery wheel can be a great gift.
Pottery wheels range a lot in cost. If you want to know more about the different prices of pottery wheels, check out this post.
However, not all pottery wheels cost a fortune. A good starter wheel for someone who is new to wheel throwing would be the Vevor. These pottery wheels are great for learning if you are new to pottery. They are inexpensive, and they don’t take up a huge amount of space in your home or studio.
Or, you might like to treat your potter to a tabletop pottery wheel. These wheels also don’t take up a lot of space. The other benefit is that they are portable and can be easily moved from room to room.
In fact, the Shimpo Aspire has a 100-watt motor, which can be plugged into a 400W inverter. This can then be plugged into the lighter socket on a car. So, if you like to make pottery outdoors in the wild, you can take your Shimpo Aspire with you and get back to nature.
This means that even if a potter has a pottery wheel already, the Shimpo Aspire is a good addition to any pottery studio.
34) Giffin Grip
A Giffin Grip is a trimming tool that mounts onto a pottery wheel head. The grip then holds the pottery firmly in the center of the wheel head. This enables the potter to easily trim any shaped pottery.
Some of the advantages of a Giffin Grip are
- You don’t have to tap center your work, which can be frustrating!
- It holds the pottery firmly in place, so it doesn’t fly off the wheel head accidentally.
- It will hold any shaped pottery in place.
35) A Wall Mounted Clay Extruder
Clay extruders got a mention earlier on in this list. However, this item on the list is the ‘wall mounted’ clay extruder. It’s a very solid piece of kit that is perfect for potters who make a lot of pieces with handles. It’s also good for schools and studios.
The bracket is mounted on the wall, when the lever is pulled down, the clay handle extrudes out of the bottom. The advantage of the wall-mounted extruder is that you can make around 40-50 handles from one barrel of clay.
Also, it’s easier to use than a handheld extruder, because you are using the strength of your arm to move the lever. By contrast, with a handheld extruder, you are relying on the strength of your hand to compress the clay.
36) A Wedging Table
You can wedge clay on lots of different types of surfaces. But if you are doing a lot of wedging, it really helps to have a decent wedging table. A good wedging table is solid and doesn’t move around as you wedge. It’s the right height so that you don’t strain your back. And it has a cutting wire attached to it as well.
If your wedging table has those features, then life is much easier. Wedging tables make great gifts for potters because they are a staple in a studio. Also, every potter needs a good wedging surface, so you can’t go wrong.
A really good option for a wedging table is the Wedgit! Table by North Star…
Or alternatively, if you don’t have the space for a complete wedging table, you could get a wedging board like this…
37) A Slab Roller
The easy way to make a slab of clay is with a rolling pin and some rolling pin guides. However, if you are making a lot of slab pottery and you need to make lots of slabs of an even thickness then a slab roller is a great idea.
One example is the Minimight II which can be bought as a tabletop slab roller.
Or alternatively, if you want to have it mounted on its own stand, you buy a leg assembly too.
38) A Kiln
Without a doubt, this is the most extravagant gift on the list. Kilns are not cheap, and if you want to buy a potter a kiln, it’s best to consult with them first on the type that might suit them.
However, if they want a small kiln to make small items or test pieces, you could think about something like the Jen-Ken 11/9. This is a ceramic kiln that plugs straight into a domestic socket. It’s designed to be used to fire low-fire clay and glazes.
Other Cool Gifts for Potters
Here are a few other ideas that you might like…
39) Gift Certificates
If you don’t want to commit yourself to purchasing a particular gift, then, of course, a gift voucher is always a good option. Here are a couple of suggestions for gift vouchers that a potter might love…
You could also ask at your local clay shop or pottery supplier. They may well have a gift voucher system available. The advantage of a voucher for a local supplier is that the voucher holder can browse in the shop. Actually, browsing in a pottery shop is a rare treat and a bit of a gift in itself.
40) DIY Gifts for Potters
Self-made DIY gifts are wonderful. The time, effort, and thought that goes into a homemade gift can make it a lifelong treasured possession. I still have some pottery calipers that were made out of wood for me as a gift 20 years ago.
Some suggestions for items that are relatively easy to make, but incredibly useful for potters are:
Check out those links for step-by-step instructions on how to make both of these pottery items. What says “I love you” more to a potter than a handmade raku kiln!
I hope that this post has given you some great ideas of gifts for potters. The good thing about getting a gift for a potter is that it’s easy to do some research. Just ask the potter in your life about how they make their pottery. Most potters can talk for ages about how they make their pots. You can secretly be making mental notes as they explain, and get a good idea of what they would like as a gift!