Jump to content

- - - - -

Any Tips On Making Many Small-Ish Holes?

  • Please log in to reply
10 replies to this topic

#1 Nancy S.

Nancy S.

    My day job pays for my clay habit

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 232 posts
  • LocationHarrisburg area, PA

Posted 06 July 2013 - 09:08 PM

Let's say I'm making a colander or a strainer, such as a berry bowl...I have a hole cutter, which works, but are there any neat tips that anyone can share to make a pattern? Or for cleaning the cut holes?

#2 jrgpots


    The hands can express the soul

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 826 posts
  • LocationHurricane, Utah

Posted 06 July 2013 - 09:25 PM

Have you tried using a pie lattice roller on a slab of paper clay.  The clay can be stretched over a hump mold.  The cuts in the clay from the lattice roller open up into a small diamond pattern, just like on the top of a cherry pie.


Many use a star like pattern of holes, kind of like chinese checkers on the bottom of their thrown bowls. This still means a lot of individual holes.


Have fun.  Jed

#3 Pugaboo


    Lifetime artist 3rd year potter

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,081 posts
  • LocationHelen, GA

Posted 06 July 2013 - 09:34 PM

You can buy special clay cutters in shapes with plungers, the ones I have are by Kemper. I have the round, square, oval, teardrop, and star shapes. They have a few more as well like triangles and lilacs that I don't have. They work really well and I use them for miniature lanterns.

The world is but a canvas to the imagination - Henry David Thoreau

#4 mnnaj



  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 22 posts
  • LocationMN

Posted 06 July 2013 - 10:17 PM

I've used a drill bit, I have various sizes. I clean the edges with a larger bit.  It's easy to make any kind of decoration with it.

#5 Min


    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,616 posts
  • LocationCanada

Posted 06 July 2013 - 11:39 PM

Countersink drill bit for rounding the sharp edges of round holes. Straws work well for punching holes, the clay usually stays in the straw so you just snip of the end and punch through the next hole.   Min

#6 Mark C.

Mark C.

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 6,512 posts
  • LocationNear Arcata Ca-redwood rain forest

Posted 07 July 2013 - 12:50 AM

Back when I made colanders I tap centered them and scored some rings as the pot spun slowly. Then I used a cordless drill bit -about 1/4 inch so glaze would not fill the holes. If you pick the time right in terms of dryness then smoothing the holes will not be needed.I drilled them in a every other ring pattern by eyeball. You will get good at this after 10-20 of them.


Mark Cortright

#7 weeble


    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 121 posts
  • LocationOregon Coast

Posted 07 July 2013 - 03:31 AM

Mostly I'm putting 1/8 inch holes in buttons, rather than larger holes, but I like to use a plastic drinking straw type coffee stirrer when the clay is leather hard.  Just back it up with a finger (or the ware board with buttons) and press the straw through, it usually leaves a nice clean hole.  I normally clear the straw out (squash it and force the clay out, or just cut the plugged up end off) after about an inch of stuff packs in there because the cuts get sloppy if the clay doesn't slide up into the straw. A minimal amount of cleaning is all thats needed this way.  I've done bigger holes with a standard straw too, seems to work just as well scaled up!  Although with something like a strainer a good drill bit might work better!

Maryjane Carlson

Whistling Fish Pottery

#8 Brooke•Millecchia



  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 11 posts
  • LocationFairport, NY

Posted 07 July 2013 - 06:17 AM

To give your holes a beveled edge with ease, take your basic double sided loop tool (the round end) and rotate it inside of the hole.  Becuase the loop tool is bigger, it will bevel just the top of the hole, leaving a 45 degree trimmed edge. Its best to do this step at an advanced leather hard state. Good luck!

#9 Marcia Selsor

Marcia Selsor

    Professor Emerita, MSU-Billings

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 6,614 posts
  • LocationRed Lodge, Montana

Posted 07 July 2013 - 06:44 AM

I use my fettling knife by twisting it.



Marcia Selsor, Professor Emerita,Montana State University-Billings

#10 Diane Puckett

Diane Puckett

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 398 posts
  • LocationAsheville, NC

Posted 07 July 2013 - 08:05 AM

If you use a 2-inch or so length of plastic drinking straw, the handle of a needle tool is the perfect size for plunging the clay plug out of the straw.
Diane Puckett
Dry Ridge Pottery

#11 PresToo



  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 10 posts

Posted 07 July 2013 - 08:45 AM

I have used a lot of different cutters, both purchased and handmade with local material. When I taught HS I bought brass pipe in the hobby stores. You can find this item in different profiles, and lengths of about a foot. I used square or rectangle ones for individual window panes, round ones for teapot strainers, and oval ones for decoration. Cut them with a hack saw at least a 45 degree angle or more., then remove the burr with a sharp knife(wear gloves). Push iinto cheese to leather hard clay carefully, remove the plug from the pipe with a smaller piece of pipe. Out of one pipe you can get at least 3 tools. I also like a curved knife that is very sharp and has a wide tang. These are by Van Gilder, and you turn the knife as you go in getting the hole the size you want.  For tapering the edge and clean up of round holes,  I use wooden dowels of different diameters sharpened in a pencil sharpener. These smooth and compress the rim of the hole. Square holes I just rub over inside with a scungy pad when leather hard.

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users