The Perfect Clay Weight Chart for the Pottery Wheel

how much clay to use on the pottery wheel

Why you can’t download the perfect clay weight chart anywhere on the internet but what you can do instead.

What is the throwing weight of clay needed for a teapot?

How much clay should I use to throw a mug on the pottery wheel?

How many kilograms of clay should I start with for a bowl?

How many pounds of clay should I use to throw a plate?

Have you ever asked yourself these questions? If you haven’t been throwing pots for very long you may be asking yourself these questions right now. As a beginning potter masters basic throwing skills they often want to try new, more challenging pots. But how much clay does it take to throw a plate, a pitcher, or a jar on the pottery wheel?

Wouldn’t it be great if there were a chart that told exactly how much clay to use for each pot? There are actually some throwing weight charts available. But there is one problem:

None of the clay weight charts are perfect for YOU!

You may have already realized this. Throwing pots on the pottery wheel seems like a simple process but there are plenty of variables. This allows us all to create our own style. The only problem is that some of these variables affect the amount of clay needed to create a specific pot.

Variables that Affect Clay Weight

Let’s see how some of these variables affect the weight of the clay that you will need to start with when using a pottery wheel.

Wall Thickness Affects Throwing Weight

The biggest variable that affects the clay weight as you start throwing a pot is how thick you make the walls. Some potters throw pots with very thin walls. Some prefer thicker, sturdier walls. But if you are making a certain pot and want it to be a certain height and width, you will need more clay for thicker walls and less clay for thinner walls.

Pot Profile

Another thing that can affect the amount of clay you start with is the shape of the pot. For example you may want a bowl that holds a large can of soup. You can make a shallow, wide bowl or a taller bowl that isn’t as wide. For a wider bowl you will probably need to leave extra clay at the bottom of the bowl to support the walls that go out further from the middle of the bowl. This clay can be trimmed away later but it will add some extra weight when you start making the bowl.

Foot height

Many potters like to make the bottom of their pot a little thicker on the wheel and then trim away some of the extra clay to leave a foot ring at the bottom. The thicker you want to make your foot, the more clay you will need at the beginning.

Alterations – Changing the Basic Pot

Some potters like to alter their pots after they are thrown. This can include adding facets, texture, carving or changing the shape. Some of these techniques may require parts of the pot to be thicker which will add to the clay weight that you start with.

Clay body

The kind of clay can also affect how much clay is needed to throw a certain pot. If you use clay that is stiffer you can throw thinner walls without the pot collapsing under its own weight. Some clay bodies are better formulated to throw thin walls as well. Different clays also shrink different amounts when they are fired. If you make a pot that is a certain size after it is fired and want to use a different clay to make the same size pot you may need more or less clay if the new clay shrinks more or less than the original clay.

As you can see just from these variables, you probably won’t use the exact amount of clay for a certain pot as other potters. So how can you figure out how much clay you will need for a certain pot on the pottery wheel?

Decide How Much Clay You Need

If you can find a good clay weight chart it will give you a starting point for many common pots you may want to throw on the pottery wheel. Such a chart will give you an average amount of clay for each specific pot.

But you don’t HAVE to use that exact amount!

Start with the amount of clay on the chart but then make adjustments based on your own style and the variables listed above. It is okay if you use a lot more or a lot less clay than what is actually on a throwing weight chart.

Common Weights of Clay Used on the Pottery Wheel

Here are a few amounts of clay to start with for some common pots:

pottery wheel throwing weight chart

Sign Up for a Free Clay Weight Chart

For a nice, neat printable chart that includes a few extra pots, sign up below for the Making Pots email list here at Expert Clay.

You will get an email with a download link. Plus you’ll get updates for new resources about making pots!

preview of the clay weight chart
Making Pots Email List

Other Throwing Weight Resources

Here are a couple more throwing weight charts you can look at:

You may also like 7 Tips for Throwing Taller Pots on the Pottery Wheel!

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