Plaster sprig molds are a nifty tool for adding decoration to pottery and ceramic sculpture.

Plaster sprig molds are a nifty tool for adding decoration to pottery and ceramic sculpture.


In today’s video, our own Holly Goring demonstrates how to make a simple plaster sprig mold. Simple though they are, these molds are great little tools for adding interest to pottery. Why not cast a motif you are fond of in plaster so you can use it over and over again on your work?


In addition to the video, we’ll show you some work with sprigged decoration and present some step-by-step photos and instructions on how to use sprig molds. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.


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Sprig into Action



First, press a small ball of clay into the deep part of the mold. Then press extra clay on the rest of the mold. Put a small amount of water or slip on the backside of the sprig. With one hand, press the sprig on the pot from the outside. Apply pressure from both sides by using your other hand to press out toward the sprig from the inside. Pressing the sprig deeply into the pot when the pot is still moist makes it less likely that it will come off in the drying process. This also gives the pot more of a look of spontaneity.



Tip: If you put too much slop on the back of the sprig, it will ooze out and stick to the mold, which makes the mold stick to the pot. If this happens, just leave the mold in place for 5 minutes or so until it absorbs the moisture, then it will come right off. Molds can also stick when they become wet during use, in which case you’ll need to stop and let the mold dry out before continuing.



For great mold making techniques, be sure to download your free copy of Ceramic Mold Making Techniques: Tips for Making Plaster Molds and Slip Casting Clay, Volume II.


The wood-fired pots to below by Judi Munns are fine examples of pots with sprig decorations.


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