When making tall, narrow forms, it can be challenging to get a sponge into the bottom to collect excess water or to clean up the interior walls. Enter the sponge on a stick. Potters have been using the sponge on a stick for years, and typically use round throwing sponges at the ends of loop tools or dowel rods.
In this post, an excerpt from the December 2020 issue of Ceramics Monthly, Madeleine Coomey shares her take on how to make a DIY sponge on a stick with a mini paint roller. Not only are the mini paint rollers a cost-effective way to purchase sponges, they just happen to be long and narrow, much like a tall, narrow vase! Genius! –Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.
After doing some touch-up painting in my kitchen, I realized that the mini paint roller I had been using would make a super easy sponge-on-a-stick tool to help reach into narrow or tall thrown pots.
Pick up throwing and trimming tips, techniques, and tools for the pottery wheel, and much more when you download this freebie, Tips, Techniques, and Tools for Getting the Most out of your Pottery Wheel.
For the prototype, I took a MacGyver approach; I jammed the roller sponge onto a paint brush handle (1), dipped it into water, squeezed it out, and it was good to go! This did the trick for a while, but I wanted a longer handle than that of my paint brush.
For the second version, I used a 16-inch length of ¼-inch hardwood dowel and added a generous dollop of waterproof adhesive (E6000) to permanently attach the roller to the handle (see 2). The mini paint rollers have a plastic insert with a collar approximately 1 inch down that keeps the adhesive from running too far into the roller.
The high-density sponge rollers I used were from a dollar store and came 2 in a pack for $1.50. I have experimented with more expensive rollers, but they don’t work any better than the inexpensive ones. The standard roller size is 4×1¼ inches, but there are shorter and narrower ones available. Measure the inside diameter of the plastic insert to determine the dowel size you will need. Like all sponges, these need to be wetted then squeezed out to work well (3, 4). Both versions work brilliantly, and the cost and time spent making them is minimal, which is a welcome bonus.