Clay Bodies and Casting Slips


Looking to mix your own clay bodies and casting slips rather than purchasing pre-made clay? Whether you’re interested in achieving a specific color or need a clay body that responds to the specific combination of forming techniques and surface decoration techniques you’re using the recipes collected here will help you to narrow down your choices. Once you have selected a few promising candidates, start testing until you find a clay or casting slip that works for you.


Learning how different materials contribute to the appearance and working qualities of clay bodies and casting slips is very important in expanding your abilities as a ceramic artist. Start out by determining the temperature range you’ll use, then further narrow your search based on the main type of clay you want to work with. The descriptions and instructions in each recipe will help you to determine if a clay body will be good for sculptural approaches, hand building, slip casting, or wheel throwing techniques. Through the ingredients list, instructions, and descriptions, the recipes will also tell you whether the clay body will be groggy or smooth, a solid, even color or speckled, and whether it will be translucent when thin. If workability is of primary importance to you when selecting a clay body, look for keywords like highly plastic, good plasticity, malleable, and avoid testing recipes that say the clay is short or nonplastic. If you work with a pre-made clay body that you like but you want to change the color or texture, the recipes in this section, as well as articles in the reference section, can give you some ideas on percentages of colorants, grog or other additions to try.