Quick Tip: Consistent and Efficient Handles

If consistency is something you’re looking for in your mugs, having plaster forms for both your mug body and your handle will make life much easier. The two of us at SVEN Ceramics make more than 1000 mugs every year, and some of the most helpful and efficient tools we have are those two plaster forms, which are easily removable from leather-hard pots as we work since the clay doesn’t stick to the plaster.

1 Mug assembly tools including plaster cylinder and handle forms.

2 Attach the top of the handle to the mug body and drape it over the handle form.

The mug form is made by pouring plaster into a thrown cylinder that is just a little smaller than the mugs you will make. Be sure to sand down the edges of the plaster when cured. We placed a bolt in the middle of the mug body form while the plaster was setting up. This allows us to attach it to a base (like a block of wood) that can be firmly clamped down onto the edge of a table (1). With the plaster form in place, the mug body can be slipped onto it. This form frees up your hands to attach the handle and you won’t have to worry about warping the body as you work.

3 Secure and refine the bottom attachment.

4 Assembled mugs.

The handle form is also made of plaster, with a wooden dowel secured through the form and sticking out the side for easier use. The solid plaster form is of the negative space between the mug and handle, and can be made in any shape you like. Attach the top of the handle, then place the form beneath it, and lay the handle over the form (2). Attach the bottom of the handle as you like and smooth the join (3). Remove the form to reveal the repeatable handle (see 4).

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