Ceramics Mugs - Tips and Designs

Get tips and techniques for how ceramics mugs are made. Learn about what is important in the designs of mugs, handles, rims. There are several challenges to making hand made mugs. See each heading below for tips on different parts of the mug.


  • Be sure the handle and the body of the mug are the same dryness, whether soft or hard, before attaching the handle.
  • If attaching the handle fairly dry it will need to be formed into the desired shape BEFORE being attached.
  • If attaching the handle fairly wet you can use a little bit of water to pull and reshape the handle. The biggest challenge here is that the mug has to be softer too.
  • Paint some wax resist around the attachment points if you are concerned about cracking. This will help equalize the moisture between handle and mug.
  • With softer handles, dry the mug upside down so that the handle maintains it's "ear" shape.
  • Be sure to leave two fingers of room inside the handle for an ideal fit.
  • Dry the mug slowly in a plastic bag or a damp room with a humidifier to help the dryness of the parts equalize.

Mug Body and Rim

  • The rim should have an fairly narrow lip, or even a slightly angular edge. Wide round lips tend to drip down the side of the mug.
  • The weight of the body is important. It needs to feel sturdy while being light enough to hold comfortably.
  • Be aware of the proportions between the mug body, the opening, and the handle.
  • Add a foot to the bottom or indent the center slightly so the mug will sit flat on a table. If you leave the bottom flat, even a slight warping in the kiln can cause it to be wobbly when finished.
  • Finally, remember that your pot will shrink when fired. Depending on your clay you need to make your mug 5-20% larger. I have seen sooo many first mugs that looked big enough when wet, then came out of the kiln looking like a tea cup.

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