How to Make Great Slump-Molded Plates with A Cheap Craft Store Tool

Want to make quick work of multiple, handbuilt plate forms? Try Styrofoam rings found in most craft supply stores (for wreath making), They’re inexpensive, lightweight, and easy to store.

In this post, an excerpt from the February 2015 issue of Ceramics Monthly, Nancy Gallagher explains this great plate-making system. – Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.

I like to make slab-molded plates using a 12-inch-foam wreath form. With this method, I am able to make multiple plates at the same time with consistent results. The wreath forms are available in many sizes and hold up well to wet clay, allowing for repeated use.

Step up to the plate!

Plates can be a challenging form to make and what works for one artist might not work for another. That is why we decided to put together a compilation video of plate-making techniques. In this video, four talented artists give terrific advice on how to master the platter form and top it all off with great decoration. 

Learn More Here!

Forming the Plate

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

Starting out with a slab and a sturdy ware board, use a 12-inch bat to trace and cut out the initial circular shape (1). If the slab is textured, make sure to have the textured side down.
Once the circle is cut out, center the wreath form on top of the slab, place another board on top of the wreath form, then flip the entire sandwich over (2).

For consistent shape and size, center the wreath form and slab on a banding wheel. With a wire knife or cheese cutter braced still, perpendicular to the slab, and using the edge of the wreath form as a stop guide, spin the banding wheel and cut even trim all around the plate (3).

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

If a shallow, rim-less plate is desired, tap the slab and mold down gently against the board, allowing the plate to slump naturally. For a rimmed plate, again utilize the spinning banding wheel, while bracing a soft rubber rib against the inside rim of the mold (4). This gives definition and a transition to where the rim begins. Any alteration of the rims and rounding of edges can be done with the plates on the mold (5).


Throwing Foot Rings

While the plates are setting up, throw the foot rings on the wheel, cutting them all from one open cylinder (6). This allows for consistent measurement and accurate stacking.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

Once the foot rings and the plates are equally leather hard, place a plate upside down on a foam-topped banding wheel. Center the foot ring on the plate, mark its placement, remove it, then score and slip both the plate and foot ring (7). Press the foot ring firmly into place, smoothing the top and inside edges with a soft rubber rib. Allow the plates to dry slowly under plastic.

  **First published in 2015

  • Carmillia K.

    I am finding it difficult to find a wreath ring that matches the one shown in the demo. Some rings are very porous and fragile and some are only round, what is called extruded. Is there a place you can recommend to get the right one?

  • Renata K.

    These look really fun, I love the idea of throwing multiple feet at once , I will definitely give it a try with my students!

  • Celia W.

    Might it be possible to revisit the “click to enlarge” function and make the photos considerably larger? As is, they are only slightly larger than the ones embedded in the text and these old eyes find it difficult to see the detail I’d often like to see! Thanks.

  • Mind officially blown! Great idea and I think I’ll hit the craft store before heading to the studio this week!

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