Pinch Pots

Make an easy clay pot or bowl by pinching and pressing a ball of clay into the desired shape.
Pinch pots craft


  • Air dry clay (e.g. Crayola Air Dry Clay, Amaco Stonex white clay, Prang DAS Air Hardening Clay) or homemade salt dough
  • Acrylic paint, poster paint or tempera paint
  • Clear acrylic sealer (gloss finish) or decoupage medium (e.g. Mod Podge)
  • Paint brush

Safety Tips

  • Adult help is needed when using the clear acrylic sealer.


Step 1 Pinch Pot craft 1. Form a chunk of air dry clay or salt dough into a ball.
Step 2 Pinch Pot craft 2. Hold the ball of clay with one hand and use your other thumb to press into the center until your thumb is about ¼ to ½ inch from the bottom.
Step 3 Pinch Pot craft 3. Slowly widen the hole by pinching up the walls. Turn the piece continously as you pinch to keep the walls even in thickness.
Step 4 Pinch Pot craft 4. Continue drawing the walls and molding the piece into your desired shape. Make sure that the bottom and the walls are at least ¼-inch thick.
Step 5 Pinch Pot craft 5. Flatten the bottom by gently pressing the inside of the piece against a flat surface.
Step 6a Pinch Pot craft 6. You can create lines, grooves and carve out small details with a craft stick, plastic spoon, toothpick, or plastic clay tools.
Step 6b Pinch Pot craft Bottle caps are great for making round patterns. Be careful not to press too hard to avoid deforming the bowl or pot.
Step 7 Pinch Pot craft 7. You can also add more details by forming smaller clay parts and connecting these to the main pot or bowl. Moisten and pat the clay around the joints to fix the added clay piece in place. You can make handles or embossed designs such as flowers or geometric shapes.
Step 8 Pinch Pot craft 8. Allow the bowl or pot to air dry. It normally takes about 2-3 days for a small piece to dry completely.
Step 9 Pinch Pot craft 9. Once dry, paint your finished work with acrylic paint, tempera, or poster paint. Let the paint dry.
Step 10 Pinch Pot craft 10. To give it a glazed look and to waterproof your work, apply at least 2 coats of decoupage medium (e.g. Mod Podge) or spray with clear acrylic sealer (with gloss finish) on the entire surface of the pot. Let each coat dry before applying the next one.

*White glue can also be used to create the glazed appearance, though it will not waterproof the pot.
Step 11 Pinch Pot craft 11. Once dry, your work will look like a glazed ceramic pot!

More Ideas

Irregular-shaped pinch pot Instead of making a conventional-shaped pot or bowl, you can make an interesting irregular-shaped one.

Younger kids can also paint their pots in random splashes of color or simple patterns.
Mexican-inspired pinch pot Pottery is a tradition in almost all cultures around the world. To enrich a theme or lesson about a particular country or culture, you can make pinch pots that are decorated using traditional colors, designs and patterns. This particular pot was inspired by Mexican Talavera pottery.