ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to work with dried clay

Updated on October 6, 2014

Steps to attach clay pieces to one main sculpture or to attach two pieces of clay together

This article goes through the basic steps on how to join two pieces of clay together. This is either to join wet pieces of clay to semi-wet areas of a sculpture, or to join two hard pieces of clay together. It's a "sculpture 101" article for those sculpting for the first time.


1. Spatula and small container

I haven't included clay in the list of materials you need to have to sculpt but clay is indeed the most important material you need to embark in this project! Asides the obvious (clay), you will need a plastic spatula either from your sculpting kit or a solid plastic spoon from the kitchen. Clay is a nontoxic material so any spoons, knives or forks can still be used in your kitchen after you've used them in your studio! You can also use bowls and cups from your kitchen for your projects. They make great mixing containers!

2. Slur--what it is and how to make it:

This step is for those who have never made slur for their sculptures. Slur is a sticky clay substance used as "glue" in sculpting. It bonds two pieces of clay together by removing air from the "joints." To make slur you need dry clay, a spatula, and water.

These are the steps to make slur:

1. Collect pieces of dry clay (of the type you are using the make your sculpture).

2. Crash all the pieces of dry clay with a spatula or a sculpting tool. Crash until clay turn to dust.

3. Add enough water to make a substance similar to chocolate mousse. Your slur is done!

3. Kitchen towels and plastic wrapper paper

Kitchen towels are important to damp your sculpture or maintain your sculpture wet during its making process. You can substitute kitchen towels for sponges but I find kitchen towels absorb and maintain more water for a longer time. The plastic wrapper is necessary to trap the moist given off by the kitchen towel inside the clay or sculpture.

breaks and cracks on a sculpture
breaks and cracks on a sculpture

5 easy steps to join two pieces of clay together or add a piece of clay to a whole sculpture:

1. Wet the area

These are the steps to joint to pieces of WET clay together (wet clay is elastic and soft to work with):

--Wet the ends of each piece of clay with water either using your fingers or a wet sponge.

--Press both pieces firmly until they become one unit.

To join two pieces of semi-dry clay is a bit trickier. If you try to join a wet piece of clay to a hard piece you will find the pieces will come apart, either when you let your sculpture dry or when you bake your sculpture. The first thing you need to do to join a wet piece of clay to a dry one is to score the endings. Scoring is Continue to step 2 to join wet to dry clay pieces or dry to dry clay pieces.

slip and scoring clay
slip and scoring clay

2. Score the pieces of clay you want to join.

Scoring, is a term used to describe the notion of "scratching" a piece of clay in order to join that piece with another part of your sculpture. Using a knife, spatula, or any other utensil, score grooves into the clay. Ideally, you need to cross the grooves for better adhesion.

score and slip clay
score and slip clay

3. Add slip to the pieces

Spread slip over the grooved pieces with a brush or with your fingers.

slip and scoring clay
slip and scoring clay

4. Join pieces together

Firmly press each piece together. This step is very important. If you don't press and put enough pressure in the joint you will end up with air pockets inside the joint and sculpture. Air pockets can lead to breakage. Breakage occurs when you fire your sculpture in the oven. This is so because the air trapped in your sculpture ruptures its way out of the clay.

slip and score clay
slip and score clay

5. Smooth the area

Remove excess slip and smooth area with your fingers or spatula. Remember to wrap the area with a wet clothe and plastic wrapper. If the area is left uncovered, the clay will dry up quicker than its surrounding areas, making your sculpture unstable--wet with dry joints will start separating!

Sculpting equipment:

This is a list of sculpting tools, from very basic to professional equipment.

Please feel free to share tricks or ways to work with clay. Your help is valuable!

Want to share your sculpting tricks?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)