Updated: November 11, 2023
Slip is small bits of dry clay mixed with water to create a thick, creamy consistency. Most of us remember using it for the first time in our elementary art class, scoring our poorly made pottery and brushing on slip to seal everything together. Slip, though, has many more uses than you were originally taught.
Here are some old tips, along with new ideas for how you can use slip with your pottery creations. We hope that you’ll be able to use some of these ideas, later tagging us on Instagram or Facebook so that we can see them brought to life!
Slip for Joining Pieces Of Pottery
Clay slip can be used to join many pieces of pottery together. One of the most popular examples of this is when attaching a handle to a mug. This is done by creating small scratches where you want to connect the two pieces together, also called “scoring” the clay, adding slip to both sides, then gently pressing them together. This will help to create a bond between the two pieces of clay, keeping them together once dried.
As a tip, it’s important that the slip being used has the same clay body as the piece that you are attaching it to. Because of this, it’s recommended that the potter makes the slip instead of buying it.
Pottery Scoring Tools:
Most of our tools can be flipped to use the non-blade end to score your clay.
Take a look at a few of our most popular clay carving tools for scoring below!
P1 Curved V Tip Carving Tool
The P1 Curved V Tip Carving Tool is a must-have pencil-point carving tool for any ceramic artist’s collection.
This pottery tool features DiamondCore® advanced blade technology, so your blade never dulls, and it’s easy to craft clean, crisp lines every time!P26 Long Diamond Relief-Carving Tool
Looking for a great ceramic carving tool to remove material? Our P26 Long Diamond Relief-Carving Tool will be a priceless addition to your pottery carving tool collection.
FP2 Fine Point Arrow Carving Tool
With its arrow-shaped blade, the FP2 Fine Point Arrow Carving Tool is perfect for carving in multiple directions and angles within a tight space.
Make clean, crisp, fine lines with the tip of the blade, and with a slight twist of the tool, the wider part of the blade can shave off a wider strip.
Slip for Decorating
Often, we only think of using slip as a pottery joining tool, but it can also be used for decorating the body of your piece as well. Your pieces can be dipped into a colored slip, or you can paint your slip on.
To create colored slip, mix metal oxides with it to create the color of your choice. Some other options include flashing slips and slip trailing. Flashing slip creates an organic look that is created within the kiln. Since kilns are more consistent throughout the firing process, flashing slips can be used to paint over the pottery using a mixture of alumina reacting in an atmosphere of salt and ash.
Each piece will come out of the kiln with different colors, creating a surprise for you as you wait for your piece to be finished! Slip trailing is when the slip is mostly clay and can then be applied to an almost-finished piece. Sometimes artists will use a bulb syringe that can push out the slip in a controlled way. But you can choose to create your piece of pottery any way you see fit!
Pottery Decorating Tools
These DiamondCore Stylus tools are helpful for carving into underglaze or slip with precision and ease.L1 Diamond Sgraffito Stylus Tool - Needle / 1.2 mm Ball L3 Diamond Sgraffito Stylus Tool - Large Football / Small Football
Slip for Protection and Efficiency
Some slip will harden as it dries, so you can also use slip to protect your pottery pieces!
Slip casting is a way for you to duplicate ceramic pieces by pouring slip into a plaster mold and then waiting overnight until it becomes leather-hard. Once it is at this point, it can come out of the mold to then be fired. The mold can then be rinsed out and used again to create the same ceramic piece over and over.
Clay Slip Pottery Ideas
Slip is a great tool for you to connect pieces of pottery together, create unique decorations, or help build protection for your piece. If you store your slip properly, you will be able to use it for a long time. Store your slip in an airtight container; Ziplock bags work great to keep air out and prevent mold. A little vinegar will also help bleach your slip to clear out any mold beginning to grow.
If you have any questions when it comes to clay slip or choosing the right pottery tools for your project, we’re here to help! Leave a comment here on the blog, send us an email or get in touch with our team on social media — we’re on Facebook and Instagram!