The Dividing Web: A Handy Tool for Making Evenly Spaced Patterns All the Way Around a Piece of Pottery

How many times have you tried to eyeball making evenly spaced decorations around a piece of round pottery and misjudged the spacing? I have done this more times than I care to admit. So unnecessary, especially when potters like Sylvia Shirley share tips on handy devices like the one below. Sylvia’s dividing web will make all of my eyeballed disasters a thing of the past. – Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.

Making the Web
Use a photocopier to enlarge this wheel to the desired size. Attach it to a wheel head-sized circle of cardboard. Cover with plastic wrap or have it laminated at an office supply store. The numbers refer to the number of divisions desired and are repeated at equal intervals around the circle

The Pointer
The pointer helps you transfer marks from the dividing web to the pot. Make sure the bottom of the pointer block is square and the front side is perpendicular. The arms can be made from Popsicle sticks.

Using the Dividing Web
Center a pot on the wheel. Draw circles on the pot using a red felt-tip pen. Align the pointer with the selected line and position the Popsicle sticks to touch the pot. Tighten the wing nuts. Make a tic mark on the pot at the end of the Popsicle stick using the red felt pen. Move the pointer to the next position and repeat.

Ideas to Get Started
Accurately marking off divisions on your form opens up a world of potential design work. Once the desired number of marks are made, decorate as desired, using sgrafitto, trailed slip, brushed oxides, etc.

**First published in 2010

  • Jan T.

    I just use my Wilton Cake Decorating wheel. It is perfect. Washable and easy to store.

  • Trudy W.

    It is quite likely that more than just Judi have seen this item before. This item is very similar to the decorating discs sold at http://www. They come in odds and evens, and two sizes, 16″ and 4″. I have had my decorating discs for at least 5 years. They are hard plastic, and if you check out their website you will see what makes them different is that the lines are color coded, and all up and down the lines there are small holes.

  • Thanks for the info. I’ve seen this before but did not recall where I saw it.

  • James F.

    Your dividing pointer is a nice little tool. One can easily generate and print a circle template with any number of divisions for use with your jig (or by itself) using any spreadsheet program. I have a free downloadable divided circle template generator on the “Resources” page of my website, . It works with both Microsoft Excel and Open Office, and is very simple to use. There are also a few other interesting items on that page, so enjoy!

  • Carole F.

    I suppose it is a good idea. However a bit to mechanized for me, and I rather like the “less than perfect” pattern.

  • Sam C.

    Why don’t you just download the handbook, and print from the PDF? Then you can make it any size you need, and it prints nicely.

  • Christine P.

    Thank you for this post! This will be helpful in many many applications!
    @Lynn: Here’s what I did to get the image…
    Highlight the picture of the grid. Left click on the picture while it’s highlighted. When the enlarged picture comes up, Right click on the picture. Then click on “Copy”.
    Open a word document. Open a text box onto the word doc. Right click in the text box. Click “Paste”. Then enlarge the image to the size you want.
    For me it came out a bit blurry, but readable enough that I can clarify it.

  • Kate B.

    Why not add 9 segments? It’s a simple 40 degree shift for each segment. I just got one out of the bisk firing yesterday, and it looks great! Thanks for the wheel, I’ve printed it out for future projects 🙂

  • Subscriber T.

    como puedo suscribirme a POTTERY MAKING estando en ARGENTINA?

  • Lanyero F.

    thank you ,i have learn what i do not know

  • Amarilis A.

    Excelente y práctica idea!

  • Lynn R.

    Could not get an image that I could copy. Looks like a neat tool, though.

  • Right on! This is just what I needed. Thank you for contributing to a couple A’s next semester 😀

  • Carol T.

    It looks complicated to me…I always used a folded circle, divisions marked in ink and placed under the pot. Works really wel, cheap, too!!!

  • Anne W.

    Very cool….. thank you! I’ve gotten by with “eyeballing”, or using my Giffin Grip for dividing in threes, for too long.

  • thank you, thank you, thank you. I’ve used the base plate alone (circles with dividing markers), but the addition of the pointer will speed things up and make marks so much more accurate.

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