Home » HOW-TO: Halfway Handmade Ceramics

HOW-TO: Halfway Handmade Ceramics


I’ve had my Skutt kiln for a few months now and boy, have I ever been putting it to use! I’ve been cranking out the mugs, but I’ve also been experimenting. A lot! I recently bought a 25-pound block of clay and decided to cut out pieces to fuse to molded Duncan Bisque. I call it a halfway handmade method because you are creating your own clay designs that can be fused to pre-existing bisque.

Well, come to find out, Duncan Ceramics actually has a new collection and program coming out in a couple weeks called Embellies. It’s the same concept, so if you are into ceramics, you’ll love this new twist for painting on pottery. I love it because it is allows for even more customization for designs. Stay tuned for more news on that!

OK, back to my craft lab over here!



I wanted to fuse small hearts to a bisque mug. I couldn’t find a cookie cutter that made small hearts, so I made my won from a can. I used heavy duty shears and cut a thin strip. Then I used Aleene’s Jewelry and Metal Glue to secure the ends. Once it dried, I used needle nose pliers to form the heart. Boom! I had my cutter!

I rolled out the clay and cut a dozen or so hearts.

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I got fancy and made letters too.

Next, I let all the pieces air dry until they were BONE DRY. If you try to fire wet clay, the water will expand and bust your piece and anything else next to it, so make sure to let your pieces dry completely. I put this tray on my front porch in direct sunlight and they dried within 24 hours. Then load them in the kiln and fire on SLOW at Cone 04. It’ll take 12 hours.


It’s like magic – now they are all white bisque! Ready to be underglazed with Duncan Concepts!


I spent a long night underglazing each and every piece to perfection. I then used White French Dimensions to affix the small pieces to the Duncan bisque mugs, vases and ornaments. I thought I was all Mrs. Smartypants. I glazed it all with Pure Brilliance Clear Glaze, let them all dry and then stilted them upright and fired on medium at Cone 06.

SCREEECH! Can you take a guess at my mistake?



Because I stood the piece upright, they slid during the firing process. Next time I’ll fire them flat and not standing. I think I’ll also form the clay around the piece that I’ll be fusin git to so there won’t be any sharp edges sticking out. I’m still learning, trial and error! Also, don’t put too much French Dimensions, it could drip if there is overusage. Or you can be patient and wait for the official Embellies program to launch in a couple weeks and not wing it like I did!

Ugh. All that hard work – I lost about four pieces, unsalvageable! Luckily, not all of them met this fate, these mugs and vases turned out nice. I also did a bunch of ornaments.

By the way – I listed all of these for sale in my new Crafty Chica store!

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Valentine peppermint hearts

Ritz Dips & Coca-Cola Cake Balls


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