How to make a Damp Box for Potters

beginner potter Damp box

Starting your ceramic journey is extremely exciting but be prepared, it's filled with the most spectacular highs and mood-altering lows. 

The best highs are when you open the final kiln firing to see the successful and expected fruits of your labour and the magic of the intense heat on chemicals creating dynamic glaze results. 

The lows are many...there are too many things that can go wrong to list them in one blog post.

But the TOP 3 for now are:

  1. Timing - getting to your work on time before its beyond workable
  2. Cracks - developing after bisque firing
  3. Glaze - disasters or disappointments after the glaze firing

As a potter, you do not need to be beholden to the first LOW on my list!

You can suspend and turn back time.

You can control the drying time of your work simply by using a Damp Box.

 

four damp boxes of various sizes

My collection of 4 Damp boxes of various sizes.
Trust me you'll want more than one. 

 

What's a Damp Box, you ask? 

It's a large plastic bin with a lid with a bottom lined with pottery plaster that has been set, cured, and soaked with water. 

Place your work-in-progress into a DAMP BOX, close the lid, spritz the walls periodically and return to it when your schedule allows. 

The dampened plaster keeps the work hydrated.

You can even bring a done-dried clay object back to life by rehydrating it within a Damp Box.

Here's a sneak peak into my four bins...some things have been in there for over a year!

inside the small damp box
Jewellery parts, ornament discs and 3D animal made in 2022

 

inside the small tall damp box
Ornament Discs and Thrown Orbs created in 2020 or 2021

 

inside the large damp box
Pear solids and Handles

 

inside the large clear damp box
The walls of the front cup/cylinder are still moveable.

 

How to make a Damp Box:

  1. Determine the amount of volume you want at the end on the inner wall of a lidded bin.
  2. Add 66% of that volume as water into a tall pail.
  3. Add plaster by hand to the water by sprinkling over the water surface without mixing. 
  4. When a mountain or island forms, add a little more. 
  5. Using one hand, mix the solution until fluid. (5 minutes)
  6. Pour the mixed solution into the bin.
  7. Tap sides to force air bubbles to the top. (2 minutes)
  8. Let sit untouched and uncovered to set. (20 minutes)
  9. Let it cure for 2 weeks before using. 

Once a month or whenever you remember, spritz the interior walls to hydrate the box. If fully dried out, remove all items, fully rehydrate the plaster and reload your items. 

Spritzing the inside walls of the damp box

Spritzing the walls!

 

I created a YouTube Video to take you through the all the steps.

Watch it here NOW or click the image below.

To get the more in-depth step-by-step instructions, join my newsletter and you'll get it in your welcome email.

I'm planning to create more YouTube Videos and am open to suggestions to please email me it you have any suggestions. 

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