Students learn how to create a clay pinch pot using a simple handbuilding technique.

Required Time

80 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 1 to Grade 8


Art Techniques



Crayola Air-Dry Clay - 1.13 kg white Slip Toothbrushes Plastic Placemats - 1 per student Small Plastic Containers Paper Towels

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HOW TO MAKE A CLAY PINCH POT – Form, Texture - Step One

Step One

  1. Roll a small ball of clay about the size of a clementine orange.
HOW TO MAKE A CLAY PINCH POT – Form, Texture - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Hold the ball in one hand.
  2. Slowly push your thumb into the centre of the clay.
HOW TO MAKE A CLAY PINCH POT – Form, Texture - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Gently pinch the clay between your thumb on the inside, and your fingers on the outside while slowly turning the ball of clay in your hand.
HOW TO MAKE A CLAY PINCH POT – Form, Texture - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Apply even pressure as you turn the clay.
  2. Check to see that the clay is the same thickness on the walls and rim of the pot.
HOW TO MAKE A CLAY PINCH POT – Form, Texture - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Gently tap the pot on the table to make a flat base.
HOW TO MAKE A CLAY PINCH POT – Form, Texture - Step Six

Step Six


  1. Make some SLIP by mixing some clay with water until it is like a creamy milkshake.
HOW TO MAKE A CLAY PINCH POT – Form, Texture - Step Seven

Step Seven

  1. Place a small piece of clay into a garlic press and squeeze it out. 
  2. Use the clay strings to decorate your pinch pot.
HOW TO MAKE A CLAY PINCH POT – Form, Texture - Step Eight

Step Eight

  1. Use a toothbrush to make some scratch marks where you want to add clay.
  2. This is called SCORING the clay.
  3. Use the toothbrush or your fingers to add some slip to the score marks.
HOW TO MAKE A CLAY PINCH POT – Form, Texture - Step Nine

Step Nine

  1. Place the clay string on top of the scored clay.
  2. Gently press it into the clay.
  3. Be sure it is securely fastened.
  4. Continue in this way until you are satisfied with your design.
HOW TO MAKE A CLAY PINCH POT – Form, Texture - Step Ten

Step Ten

  1. Allow the pinch pot to dry for about 3 days.
  2. Your pot is ready to be painted.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • create a small pinch pot;
  • use slip and score technique to join decorative clay elements;
  • explain their process; 
  • express opinions about the works.


Have students:

  • create a coil pot using the Coil Pot lesson plan available on this website;
  • compare the two methods of making handbuilt pots;
  • write a brochure explaining both methods and what they consider to be the pros and cons of each.


  1. Prepare enough slip for each group of students.
    - mix a small amount of clay with water until it is the consistency of a thick, creamy milkshake
  2. Gather enough plastic mats so each student has one.
  3. Make sure you have a place to store the completed pots while they dry.



  1. Demonstrate how to make a pinch pot emphasizing how slowly you push the thumb into the clay while gently pinching it between your fingers.
  2. Explain that they are going to make their own clay pot using this simple handbuilding technique.
    - they will be pinching the clay between their fingers and thumb, which is why this pot is called a pinch pot
  3. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Create a clay pinch pot.
  2. Use score and slip technique to add clay decorations to the pot.
  3. Demonstrate technical accomplishment.

The Process

  1. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - created a clay pinch pot
    - used score and slip joining technique correctly
    - added clay decorations to the pinch pot that stay on after the pot has dried
    - created a pinch pot that is sturdy and in good condition
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  4. Remind students to slowly turn the clay ball in their hand as they continue to pinch the clay. 
  5. Encourage students to always join clay using the score and slip technique.
  6. Observe students as they work. 
  7. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.



  1. Place students into partners or groups of 3.
  2. Ask them to take turns discussing the completed pots. Ask them to find 3 things that interest them about how the work was made.
    - What did your partner find challenging about making the pot?
    - What did your partner find easy about making their pot?
    - How did your partner feel about making their pot? Why?
  3. Once everyone has had a chance to share, ask students to report back to the whole class. 
    - Students tell what they learned about their partner’s work/process.


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting
  2. Observe students as they share and discuss their pinch pots – active listening, insightful contributions, supporting ideas with evidence found in the artwork and from personal experience.
  3. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads - PinchPot_tracking.pdf)
  4. Have students reflect on their own artworks in their sketchbooks. Ask students:
    What worked well in your pinch pot?
    - What do you see that makes you say that?
    - What would you change or do differently next time?