The Potter Try-it is part of the “It's Your Planet - Love It!” badge set introduced in 2011.

Activity #1: Find Some PotteryEdit

Find the pottery that’s all around you.  That way you can get ideas for making your own. When you do one of these things, begin an artist notebook to write your great ideas or draw a picture of something you’ve seen.


Visit an art gallery or museum.  Ask your Brownie volunteer to help you find a clay exhibit or gallery with pottery. Remember that pottery can break easily. Be respectful of artwork!


Look for clay in your life.It’s all around you at your house, at your school, in your community.  See how many things made of clay you can spot in a week.

FOR MORE FUN: Have a scavenger hunt with friends and see how many things you can find that are made of clay.


Look in books, magazines, or online for clay things.Did you know that false teeth used to be made out of clay?  What else can you find that was made from clay?

FOR MORE FUN:  Paste pictures of what you find in your artist notebook.

Activity #2: Get to Know ClayEdit

Visit with a clay expert.  Ask this person to tell you about scoring, storing, wedging, and firing, and why each of these is important.


Visit a potter’s studio.  A clay artist is often called a potter.


Invite a craft teacher to your meeting.Ask them to bring clay samples, if possible.


Go to a pottery class at a community center.Many offer classes for beginners.

TIP:  Ask this expert to help you through the rest of the steps in the badge.

TIPS FOR MORE POTTERY FUN!  Ask your expert to show you how a pot is “thrown” on a wheel.  Ask your teacher, potter, or volunteer if they can help you get your pottery fired. Otherwise, you can let it dry on its own.  Keep in mind, if you want to eat or drink from any pottery, it needs to be properly glazed and fired.

WORDS WORTH KNOWING:  In pottery, to FIRE means to bake the clay until it is hardened.  Clay is fired in very hot ovens called KILNS.

Activity #3: Make a Simple PotEdit

Pots have been made from clay for thousands of years.  Pots do more than hold flowers.  People carry water, eat food, and drink from them.  Make your own simple pot.  You could use it to hold jewelry, candy, or pencils.

Pinch pot Edit

1.      Use your thumbs to make a dent in a ball of clay.

2.    Pinch around the dent to make the sides of the pot.  Try to keep an even thickness around your pot.

Coil pot Edit

1.      Roll out a ball of clay to ¼ inch thickness.  Cut a circular base with a cookie cutter or a cup.

2.     Roll lumps of clay into snakes to make coils for your pot.

3.     Score lines across your snakes and around the edge of your base.  Use a pen, pencil, toothpick, or clay tool to score.  Moisten clay with water where it will be joined.

4.     Press the first coil to the base, scored sides to together.

5.     Keep going with the rest of your coils until your pot is as tall as you want it.

Slab pot Edit

1.      Roll out a ball of clay to ¼ inch thickness.  Cut out a circle to be your base.  Then, cut out a rectangular slab.  This slab is your pot’s wall.  (Make sure it will fit around your base.)

2.     Score around the edge of your base.

3.     Score one end of your slab.  Wet the scored area.

4.     Roll the slab into a tube and press it to itself to make the wall of your pot.  Score the bottom edge.  Wet the scored edges of the wall and base.  Now, stick the wall, scored-side down, onto the base.

WORDS WORTH KNOWING:  In pottery, to SCORE means to scratch tiny crisscrossing lines on two pieces of clay that you want to stick together.


Make a pinch pot.  See the directions for help.  Hint: In step 2, start pinching at the bottom of your container and move slowly to the top.


Make a coil pot. A coil pot is made from “coils” of clay.  See the directions for help.

FOR MORE FUN:  Stack your coils into interesting shapes.


Make a slap plot. A slab is a piece of clay rolled flat.  See the directions for help.

FOR MORE FUN:  Try building a pot on a triangular or square base.

Activity #4: Make an Art PieceEdit

Make some clay decoration.


Decorate a tile.  Turn a square of clay into art.  Try making a handprint or stamping a design with rubber stamps.  You can, also, use small tools, like a pencil or tweezers to draw designs in your tile.  When it’s dry, paint it with acrylic paints.


Juliette Gordon Low liked creating all kinds of arts, but her favorite was sculpting.  She sculpted busts, statues, and figures of many friends and family members.  Today, some of her sculptures – including the bust of her niece, Daisy Doots – can be seen at her birthplace in Savannah, Georgia.

FOR MORE FUN:  Find pictures of tiles from other countries and copy one of the designs.


Make a pinch or slab sculpture.  Make a clay sculpture of a house, pet, car, or animal.  Make “hair,” grass, or other decoration by squeezing clay through a garlic press.

FOR MORE FUN:  Make a sculpture of something you like to imagine, like a castle or a spaceship. 


Make beads for jewelry.Roll balls of clay into beads.  Then use a straw, toothpick, or pencil to make holes so you can string them together.  You could make them out of colored modeling clay or paint plain clay.

TIP: Clay is heavy to wear, so keep your beads small.

Activity #5: Paint and Glaze!Edit

Glaze is special clay paint.  It changes in heat to make bright colors and add shine.  Make sure a potter or teacher helps you use glaze.


Dip your pottery.  Fill a container with glaze and dip your pot in.  Make sure there is extra room in the container so it doesn’t overflow.  Keep your pottery level and use slow movements.


Paint on glaze. Using a regular paintbrush, paint glaze on your pottery.  Try to paint evenly – that means with the same amount on all parts of the pot.  (If you dipped your pottery first, let that dry before you start painting.)


Sponge paint your pottery.Dip your sponge in the glaze.  Press it gently onto your pottery.  You can use different glaze colors and sponges in different shapes.  A sponge gives a cool pattern to glaze.

TIPSfor Step 5:  

  1. You will need clay that is already fired. This is called bisque ware.
  2. You can find bisque ware at a pottery-paint store.
  3. Ask your expert how potters use wax, squeeze bottles, and stencils.  Maybe you can try it, too.

Additional ResourcesEdit