I wish I could be out in my Pottery Studio every moment of every day but sometimes I just can’t. Damp Boxes have helped me keep my pieces wet for a long time which is pretty important to me as a Sgraffito Artist.

Storing pottery so it stays wet pottery becomes important in the studio when you need to  trim or decorate your pottery on your own timeline!!  

Maybe you can’t get back to trim in a timely manner, or you need to add handles to a mug a few days after you threw the bodies. Maybe you are a hand builder who needs to keep pieces of clay wet until you are ready for them.

Sometimes plastic sheets just don’t do the trick.

Please note this post may contain affiliate links and I may earn a commission if you click them and make a purchase.  This is, of course, at no cost to you, and I only share products that I use and love myself.

 

 

That’s when Damp Boxes step in to save the day.

As a Sgraffito artist it sometimes takes me several weeks to work my way through a boxful of wet mugs. During this time I really need to keep my pieces pretty wet.

Or maybe your work consists of several pieces that you need to save until you are ready to assemble.

After doing some serious research I came across the perfect solution….Damp Boxes.

Max, my ginger studio cat, is sitting on top of one of my damp boxes
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Max, my ginger studio cat, is sitting on top of one of my damp boxes
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Max loves to help in the studio. Here he is holding the lid down on one of my damp boxes!

Damp boxes, also known in the pottery world as Wet Boxes and Magic Boxes are storage bins with a layer of Potter’s Plaster on the bottom. The hardened plaster absorbs water and when you place a lid on the box, it creates a humid environment that keeps the moisture in your piece.

I have even been able to successfully rehydrate completely dry pieces to a leather hard state so I could trim or sgraffito them.

Damp Boxes are pretty easy to make and can last a long time. My current ones don’t look great after 9 years but they still work great

Damp Box full of wet pottery
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Damp Box full of wet pottery
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After throwing these mugs I let them dry a bit and placed them in the damp box to preserve the moisture level so I could attach handles the next day. After attaching handles I will put the mugs back into the damp box so that both the mug body and the handle balance out moisture. This really helped cut down issues with the handles cracking

  • Just grab a few plastic storage bins, some potter’s plaster and water. That’s all you will need.
  • Don’t use regular plaster of paris. It doesn’t hold up well. Make sure its Potter’s plaster.
  • Use a bucket just for mixing your plaster and not one you will use with clay. Plaster and clay do not play well with each other
  • Try to stir the plaster to make as little bubbles as possible.
  • Pour the plaster into the storage bin, at least  1 1/2″ deep seems to work for me.
  • Let it dry about 1/2 hour and set up. Remove it from the container and clean up the edges. Put it back into the container and its ready to use.

If you want to make one for yourself, check out this video on YouTube or this one. They are both excellent videos.

I have several Damp Boxes in my studio now and it was a game changer for me. They are now several years old and not pretty and clean anymore. They have darkened over the years, grown some mold now and again and have cracked.

But they still work GREAT!!  I can sponge them clean, rehydrate them with a bit of water and they work just as good as the day I made them!!

 

 

 

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Dani Montoya - Potter
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My name is Dani and I am the potter behind this page! I am retired and having a ball being the artist I always wanted to be. My studio is located in NW Arkansas where I live a quiet life, on a lake with my husband, 3 dogs and two cats.

Have a look around!

Potter's Plaster

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When making a Damp Box you will want to use Potters Plaster.
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Caliper Plastic Clay Measuring Pottery Tool

Healifty Bent Leg Caliper Plastic Clay Measuring Pottery Tool Clay Sculpture Ceramic Tool for Carving Shaping Clay Sculpture Modeling 6inch Red
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These are great when you need to have two pieces fit together nicelu....like lidded jars! I have two and they are always in use
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Pottery Rasp for cleaning up clay


Mudtools Small Clay Shredder Rasp for Ceramics Artists, Pottery, Clay - Yellow
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2 Comments

  1. Sabrina Kindell
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    Love this! Thanks Dani

    Reply
  2. Olga Dias
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    Thanks from Portugal.

    Reply

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