Making Slip!

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I made a bunch of slip the other day. I usually don’t make this much, at one time. I normally just make enough for what I need, but I have some plans for this slip. I can’t tell you yet, though! It’s a surprise.

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When I roll out a slab, I like to use up as much clay as I can. The little pieces I can’t use gets recycled into plastic freezer bags, some for wedging later, and some for slip. When I’m ready to make some slip, I break up the clay into little pieces, it takes less time that way. I put it in a plastic container, then I add water, and a secret ingredient I’ll tell you about in a little bit. Then I let it sit for a little while. When the clay starts to break down, I put it in a mixing bowl, so I can stir it.

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Every once in a while I give it a stir, until I think it’s ready to be strained. When it’s ready, I strain it into a clean bowl. I use a spoon to swish it around, because of the little lumps of clay still in the slip. If the lumps are too large, I just take them out and put it in a bowl for later.

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And here it is, one batch done…two more to go! Doesn’t it look yummy!

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Here’s a close-up view!

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Then I put it in a clean container!

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The secret ingredient I was telling you about before…is distilled white vinegar. When I first started making pottery I only used water in my slip. But then a few years later I met a potter who used white vinegar. At first, I thought it was kind of strange, and kind of smelly too. He told me that it made the clay beak down faster, and made the slip more sticky. So, I was curious! But, I didn’t try it right away, then one day I did! He was right! It breaks down the clay faster, so it takes less time to make slip, and it is stickier. So it’s great when you need to attach handles or anything else. I’ve been using it for 20 years now, and it works great. I don’t have any measurements for how much vinegar to add, I just wing it. I use mostly water, and eye-ball the amount of vinegar.

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Three batches…all done! I made them with different thickness, one is on the thin side, for attaching things like handles, the other one is little thicker, and the last one is even thicker. Now I just have to put the lids on.

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And now, it’s time to clean up!

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40 thoughts on “Making Slip!

    • No, I’ve never heard of that. I don’t think that’s a good idea! The one thing you don’t want to do is make too much dust. That’s very dangerous. My first pottery teacher drilled clay safety into our heads, and I’m really thankful that he did. I try and make as little dust as possible. I never sand pottery, I always use a sponge. When I clean up, I wet everything first.

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      • I do leave my clay scraps to dry out completely before I make slip or reclaim them. I find they soften and break down much faster and with fewer lumps. I keep dust to a minimum too. Trimmings from throwing are already small so I just put them in an open container to dry out. Trimmings from handbuilding, I break up into small pieces while they are wet, then let them dry out, then pour water over them and let them sit. When they have softened sufficiently, stir it up and add water as needed to get the consistency you want. I’ve never added vinegar but I have heard of people doing it. I think I’ll give it a try. thanks.

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  2. I tried it and it’s magic! I even used it to repair a greenware piece and it was amazingly easy! Wow thanks, I’ve been doing pottery for 20 years and this the best tip 🙂

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  3. I just let my clay get dry (fattening it makes it easier) stick it in a ziplock bag and use a rolling pin to crush it up. I then pour it into my container and add water and wha-la! No dust, and no waiting.

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  4. Thanks, I am always looking for new ways to improve production.
    I have been mixing Magic Water in my slip. It doesn’t get sticky but it seem to hold handles well.
    I also keep Magic Water in a separate container.
    Cheers to pottery.

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  5. You can use vinegar to make your glazes gel almost instantly so to eliminate drips and to help them suspend better. It doesn’t take all that much to make a difference; maybe a capful or two. Look up Tony Hanson on YouTube and look for his video on gel-ing a glaze. Great stuff.

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    • A pottery teacher told me about it in 1995, but he never gave me any measurements. I just eye ball it. I pour it right from the bottle…a little at a time and stir. Just add a little at a time, you don’t want to put too much. When the slip is sticky, it should work fine. That’s why vinegar works so well, it makes the slip sticky. Thanks for commenting Mel. Hope this is helpful! 🙂

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    • Yeah, it might. I’ve never had that problem, even when I lived in Florida. But, I don’t make large batches so, that might be why. I use vinegar because it makes the slip really sticky and I find that it works so much better. Thanks Karen! I hope it helps you. 🙂

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  6. Melinda, I was reading your take on making slip and it looks good. I use a different and much faster technique…..just buy the clay in dry form and then add water to a blender…….then keep adding and mixing the clay dust until you achieve the right consistency. There are no lumps in this slip and it can easily be used in cake decorator tips on the pottery. I tried several things before landing on this. It saves me tons of time and I leave it in the blender to be remixed on demand.
    Hope this helps you in some way…..Keith Carpenter – Beans Ferry Pottery.net

    Liked by 1 person

    • Translated into English – I liked your idea … I want to know if this magic glue can I prepare it with paste …, I hope your answer … thanks!

      Thank you! I’m not really sure what you mean by magic glue prepared with paste? Can you explain?

      Liked by 1 person

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