How to Wedge clay

Making different kinds of things using clay is not an essay task and you need to take care of a lot of things before you make anything. Even after you have made something from the clay, you have to heat and follow many other processes to ensure that it does not break.

Similarly, before making the pottery, you have to follow different steps for preparing the clay that you are going to use for making the pottery. One among them is the wedging of the clay and it is a very important process as it makes the clay air free.

Also, the clay becomes hard and tough when heated, so wedging is as important as choosing the right clay for the right pottery.

how to wedge clay

What happens when you forget to wedge the clay?

When you forget to wedge the clay then you will have to face a lot of difficulties while making any kind of pottery and when you are preparing the clay for using it to make any kind of sculptures, then you need to make sure that it is wedged properly as you may not be able to make anything using the clay if it has air in it. Let us see what problems might occur when you do not wedge the clay before making anything.

  • Bubbles in the clay: The clay will have a lot of bubbles if you do not wedge it properly because of the presence of air inside it. So, it is very important to wedge the clay, and knowing how to wedge the clay is also an important skill that everyone in this field needs to know to improve their work and also to make sure that the work they do has any kind of breaking point. Bubbles in the clay will make the clay weak and eventually the pottery or the sculpture that you are making using the clay will break while healing or even when you are molding it as you have to merge different pieces while making anything.
  • Problems while shaping: If the clay is not wedged properly, then you will have to face a lot of problems while shaping the clay into different parts. Giving a perfect shape to the pottery or the sculpture that you are making is very important as it decides how the pottery will look, if the work is not done properly then it will also affect the status of the potter or the person making it.
  • Makes the pottery weak: The air present inside the pottery will make it weak and when you heat the pottery, you will not get the quality that you wished for. Also, if the pottery that you are making becomes weak, it will easily break while heating and you will have to start making it again from scratch, so it is better to invest a few minutes in wedding the clay before using it for any of your purposes. 
  • Weight of the clay might change: The weight of the clay also might change when you wedge the clay, so if you have taken some extra clay by mistake then also you need not have to worry because when you wedge the clay properly, some of the weight of the clay is also reduced and you get the perfect amount that you wanted. 

These are only some reasons why you should properly wedge the clay before making anything. This might seem a small step but it is very important for the final products as it maintains its quality of it without taking a lot of time.

How to color air dry clay: learn here

Learn how to wedge the clay

Wedging the clay is an important technique that all the people in this field should know as it makes the pottery clean and also improves the quality of the clay. Now, it is time to learn how to wedge the clay in some simple and easy steps. But before that, make sure you are ready to give your time and dedication while you are making something as it requires full concentration and one mistake can ruin everything.

learn to wedge clay here

Steps to wedge the clay:

  • Step 1– The very first step to start the wedging process is by taking the right amount of clay. You need to take the clay from which you have to make the pottery but here also you need to make sure that the clay you are taking you to know everything about it and also the heating process and temperature that is needed to heat the clay. In many cases, when you wedge the clay, the weight of the clay might reduce and you will have to add some more, so it is always better to take some extra clay before you start wedging the clay. 
  • Step 2– In the second step, you need to check the moisture of the clay if the clay is dry then add some water to it and similarly if it has more moisture then you have to use the canvas to absorb the extra moisture. 
  • Step 3– The surface on which you are wedging the clay also plays an important role in the process because if you have a sticky surface then the clay will stick to it and that will eventually reduce the amount of clay that you were going to use. So, it is always better to use a surface according to the moisture of the clay and also according to the environment. 
  • Step 4– After choosing a flat surface, put the clay on it and start with the wedging process. For this, first, you need to throw the clay on the surface to remove the excess air without applying any pressure on the clay. The impact will help you to remove the large air pockets.
  • Step 5– Here you have to start from the ends of the clay and roll it towards your body and keep repeating the process for some time. After that, you have to apply the pressure on the clay using the heel of your palm and make sure that the pressure you applied is inwards. If you are confused about this process, then just remember to make the dough for bread. Even if you are unable to do so, then you can follow another method.
  • Step 6.- If you are not able to perform the 5th step completely, then you can also press the clay from the top and then change the angle of the clay by almost 10 degrees. Now, you have to fold the top most part of the clay towards you and keep repeating the process. 
  • Step 7– keep squeezing the clay to let all the air come out from the clay and even the bubbles will not be present after that process. This process is a little time-consuming, so you need to be patient.
  • Step 8– Tools are very important when you are into pottery and want to make different things. So, knowing which tool you have to use and when to use is very important, similarly, you have to use a thread to cut the wedged clay into 2 halves or even different pieces to make sure that no air is left inside it. When you cut open the pieces, you will only see the plan and flat surfaces, which means there is no presence of air and your wedging process is done, if you see any space or bubbles, then repeat the process.

wedging also prevents cracking in clay. to know more about cracking prevention tips for air dry clay read our post as it would also work for ceramic clay to some extent.

knead-and-wedge-to-remove-air from clay


Hope you got to learn the right method for wedging from our post shared above, let me know if you have any unanswered queries left then i will answer them to help you wedge your clay in best possible way to make good clay artifacts easily.

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