Pottery Wheel Workshop

Pottery Wheel Workshop
No. 660-08A
Pottery Wheel Workshop
Ages 8 and up
The paints in this set are very high quality, non-toxic, permanent acrylics and
may permanently stain fabrics, clothing, furniture and carpeting. Do not work
with clay or paints over carpeting or upholstery. Wear a smock when working.
Conforms to ASTM-D4236
Dear Customer:
This item has passed a quality control inspection. If you find any problem with this set, please write to us and send the following, or call (631) 501-7550.
Please Include: 1. Date of Purchase 2. Place of Purchase 3. Model Number 4. Name of Item 5. Brief Description of Problem
We will do our best to satisfy you. Send your letter to:
NSI International, Inc.
105 Price Parkway, Farmingdale, NY 11735-1318
Attn: Quality Control Department
Pottery Wheel
Your set includes:
Tool Rest
Tool Holder
2 lbs of Clay
Foot Pedal
Sculpting Tools
Cutting String
CAUTION: Air-dried pottery can be used for decorative purposes only. Do not attempt to hold liquids in them
or use them for eating or drinking. Do not heat the pieces after they are painted.
Before you use your new Pottery Wheel Workshop, read these instructions carefully. Follow the directions and practice. It may take
several attempts to master each stage of making a pot.
How to Install Batteries in Pottery Wheel Workshop (Adult Supervision Required)
• Locate the Battery Compartment on the bottom of the Pottery Wheel Workshop and use a Phillips head screwdriver (not included) to loosen the screw holding the battery cover in place. Do not remove screw completely.
• Lift the cover to expose the Battery Compartment. Next insert 4 “D” alkaline batteries into the compartment taking care to align the (+) and (–) symbols properly.
• Put the Battery Compartment Cover back into place and tighten screw.
Important Battery Information
4 “D” Alkaline Batteries
• Non-rechargeable batteries are not to be recharged
• Batteries are to be inserted with the correct polarity
• Rechargeable batteries are only to be charged under adult supervision
• Keep packaging for reference since it contains important information
• Exhausted batteries are to be removed from toy
• The supply terminals are not to be short circuited
• Different types of batteries or new and used batteries are not to be mixed
• Only batteries of the same or equivalent type as recommended are to be used
• Rechargeable batteries are to be removed from the toy before being charged
Battery Compartment Cover
MMIV NSI INTERNATIONAL, INC., Farmingdale, N.Y 11735-1318
Made in China
Before You Get Started
About two pounds (900 grams) of non-toxic, air-hardening, reusable potter’s clay is provided in a plastic bag. After opening the bag, reseal with a rubber band or twist tie. In fact, you should keep the bag
sealed in this fashion at all times except when taking clay out or putting it back. The clay, as it is provided, is moist and ready to work. If it should become too dry, wrap the clay in a wet cloth and let stand in the
sealed bag for several hours. Even if the clay is completely dried, you can add water and return it to a workable condition - just don’t overdo it.
Special Note:
Do not mix this clay with any other kind of clay or plaster. If clay is dried out, wrap clay in wet towel and place in a plastic bag for approximately 12 hours.
Clay will become usable again.
Important Transformer Information
• The transformer or battery chargers used with the toy are to be regularly examined for damage to the cord, plug, enclosure and other parts, and that in
the event of such damage, the toy must not be used with this transformer or battery charger until the damage has been repaired.
• The toy must not be operated through a transformer for toys complying with EN60742.
• The transformer is not a toy.
• The toy must not be connected to more than the recommended number of power supplies.
• The toy must be used with the recommended transformer.
• The toy is not intended for children under 3 years old.
Foot Pedal
Tool Rest
Paint Brush
and Tool Holder
Paint Cup
Using the Pottery Wheel Workshop
• For the best performance of your Pottery Wheel Workshop use four fresh alkaline “D” batteries.
• Don’t run the workshop for prolonged periods. Give the batteries a chance to rest between runs.
• Don’t let more than a 1/4 inch (.635 cm) of water collect in the bottom of the pottery tray before emptying it.
• Make sure the workshop is off when your not actually using it.
• Don’t get water or clay in the battery compartment, gear and motor compartment or the switch compartment.
• Organize your supplies away from carpeting and upholstery on a suitable working area such as a kitchen table with a sink
nearby. Place everything on sections of paper for quick and easy cleanup.
• Take precautions against spills. Cover your work surface and wear old clothing or smock. If you get paint on your clothes,
Do not put heavy pressure on
the turntable forcing it to stop
without first turning it off.
Doing so will break the machine
upholstery or carpet wash immediately.
• Attach Tool Rest to pottery tray by inserting bottom of Tool Rest into hole opposite the wheel.
• Insert sculpting tools and paint brush into tool holder in corner of pottery tray to keep them handy and clean.
• Cut the cups of paint apart using a pair of household scissors (not included), with adult supervision. Insert them into the cupholders around the outside edge of the pottery tray. Keep tops of paint cups closed
when not using them.
• The paints in this set are very high quality, non-toxic, permanent acrylics and may permanently stain fabrics, clothing, furniture and carpeting. Do not work with clay or paints over carpeting or upholstery. Wear a smock.
Cleaning the Pottery Wheel Workshop
Do not use a liquid poured directly onto the workshop to clean.
The Workshop must be disconnected from the transformer and batteries before cleaning.
Use a moistened piece of cloth dipped in plain water to clean the clay and paint.
After the Workshop is cleaned, place the Workshop in a ventilated area to dry completely.
Before clay can be used to make pottery, it has to be kneaded into a uniform mass by a process called wedging. If the clay is properly wedged, it will contain the right amount of moisture, not so little that it cracks when
worked, and not so much that it is sticky – it must be lumpy, and it must not have any air pockets.
Proper wedging makes the clay easy to work and helps to prevent warping and cracking when the clay dries. Here is how to wedge the clay:
• Tear off a piece of clay. It should be moist and firm, not soft and sticky or hard and dry.
• Put a towel or piece of cloth on a clean board (not included), then place the clay on the towel-covered board. Ask an adult for a proper board. Push the clay firmly downward and away from you with the heels of
your hands as if kneading dough.
• Pull up the edge of the clay farthest from you until it is standing up. Then pull it toward you and push it down again with the heels of your hands. The purpose of this is to make the clay uniform in texture
and remove air bubbles (see Figures 1 and 2).
Repeat above steps several times. To see if the clay needs more wedging, cut the piece open with your Cutting String by pulling the string through the clay (see Figure 3). If there are any air pockets or lumps, you
need to continue wedging.
When you have finished wedging the clay, it is customary to roll it into a ball. It is easiest to start most projects from this shape.
Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Properly wedge about a half-pound (225 grams) of clay. (Since your set contains about two pounds (900 grams), you will need one quarter of that.) Form it into a ball and press it firmly onto the
pottery wheel – exactly in the center.
Centering is the first, most important, and most difficult step in using a pottery wheel. The lump of clay is forced, by the firm and constant pressure of your hands, into a symmetrical mound in
the center of the wheel.
You must understand the word “symmetrical.” It means that if you looked down on a piece of properly centered clay it would look like a perfect circle.
Nothing else will do! And always remember that the key to a good finished project is proper centering.
Some problems in centering are:
If the bottom of the clay is off center on the wheel, your hands will ride it unevenly and throw everything off.
If the top of the clay tears off while you are raising it, you are pushing too hard. Also, the clay may be too dry or too wet.
Keep the clay, and your hands, wet. The clay should slip by your hands easily. But be careful: if the clay gets too wet your project may lose its shape.
If you take your hands off the clay too quickly, you will see that it is distorted, uneven and/or off center. Keep in kind that when working on a pottery wheel, all of your
motions must be made smoothly and gradually.
Turn on the machine. As you work, keep in mind that if you press too much on the clay, the wheel will stall.
Work the clay with the palms of your hands. Lean forward over the center of the wheel so that you are looking down over the clay.
Squeeze the clay with your palms by pushing your hands together as if you were clapping (see Figure 4). Push firmly – do not let your hands ride with the bumps in the clay.
Figure 4
Keep your arms braced against your body to steady your hands.
Press the clay toward the center and up. Then press it down again and repeat. Press with the heel of your hand. You want to keep this going until the cylinder of clay is turning in the center of the wheel
without wobbling.
Remember – “practice makes perfect.” You must learn to center well, if you want to be successful in using your Pottery Wheel.
Now you make the cylinder hollow. Press down in the middle of the cylinder. (Keeping it well lubricated with water.) Press evenly so the hole is centered and the wall even (see Figure 5). Leave enough clay at
the bottom so it will be solid. Keep the distance between the thumbs and fingers even. Don’t press too rapidly. Let clay move at its own speed.
Figure 5
Using the brace fingers, start at the bottom of the cylinder and squeeze gently, keeping the fingers the same distance apart and pull the wall up – don’t try to move too much clay at a time (see Figure 6).
Keep the clay well moistened with water inside and out. Do not use so much that you weaken the walls to the point of slumping.
Don’t take too long getting the wall pulled up for this also will make it collapse.
Don’t work down – just up.
If you get too much water in the pot, soak out some with a sponge or paper towels.
Keep the fingers braced so they stay a constant distance apart.
Important: If the cylinder begins to wobble, center it again with the hands on the outside (see Figure 7). Squeeze in very gently starting at the bottom and sliding to the top. You can use your damp sponge to
smooth the clay while the pot is still spinning.
Figure 6
Before you start forming different shapes, make sure you can do the beginning cylinder well.
The pot can be shaped by pressing out as you pull up. It can be shaped by pressing with the hands on the outside (see Figure 8). Endless variations are possible, but strive to keep the walls even and the pot centered. Press gently and don’t make quick movements.
Figure 7
Once you have mastered the basic shapes, you can guide your clay into an endless variety of interesting shapes. Don’t force the clay. Guide it while keeping your fingers evenly apart so you are not squeezing the
clay. Even as the pot assumes its new shape, you want the walls even and the pot centered. Practice is needed for shaping as in all other steps.
While the machine is running, the top can be made even by trimming. Take the sharpest sculpting tool and press it against the outside edge while pressing from the inside with the fingers (see Figure 9). After
going all the way around, lift off the cut-off piece. This may require a little practice.
Brace the hand, or use the tool rest, to ensure that the tool remains at the same height as the pot spins around.
The pot will not trim well if you have gotten it too wet. You can always stop and let the pot dry out a little before continuing. If
the edge is a little rough after trimming, you can touch it up with a wet finger.
Save the clay that comes off in trimming.
The edge can be shaped with the fingers (see Figure 10). The top can be rounded or flattened or turned out and down. Avoid thin
While working on the edge, be careful that the pot remains symmetrical.
Figure 10
Figure 9
Figure 8
Brace a sculpting tool against the edge of the
pottery tray and scrape away unwanted clay
at the bottom of the pot (see Figure 12).
The tool rest can be used as a brace for your hand while you work on the pot as it spins.
Use different tool ends for a variety of grooves.
If you start at the bottom of the pot and move the tool up as the pot revolves, you will
have a spiral groove.
The tool rest can also be used to brace a paint brush for painting stripes (see Figure 11).
Figure 12
Figure 11
The safest way to remove the finished pot from the wheel is let it dry first. Once dry, the pot will lift right
off the wheel. If you want to remove the pot while it is still wet, let it dry enough to handle. Hold your cutting string taut between the hands and slide it under the pot carefully to separate it from the wheel (Figure
13). After the cut is made, lift the pot off gently and set aside to dry.
The dry pot can be put back on the wheel by wetting the bottom and sticking it in the center with a slip (a
very wet paste of clay & water).
Figure 13
After the pots have become firm enough to handle but before they are dry, they may be joined together, or other
parts may be added. Make a slip by mixing a thin slurry of clay and water.
Gently scratch the parts to be joined and wet them (Figure 14 ). Add a thin layer of the slip (Figure 15) and press
the parts together. The joined parts must be wet enough to join well or they will separate when dry. The joints can
be reinforced by adding wet clay around them (Figure 16).
Starting with the basic thrown pot, clay decorations can be added. All sorts of shapes can be pressed and formed
with clay and these can all be added as described above. You can also turn shapes that can be added, such as making a lid for your pot.
Figure 14
Remember: do not put liquids into the pitcher.
Make a cylinder and trim the top. Shape
the outside with your hands while the
wheel is turning (Figure 17).
After the shape is correct,
press in a spout with the fingers (Figure 18).
Roll a ball of clay and pull out a handle
(Figure 19).
Figure 15
Let the handle set until firm but pliable – cut off the size to fit (Figure
Figure 19
Figure 17
Figure 16
Follow the instructions for joining parts to
attach the handle to the pitcher (Figure
21). Let dry until firm and remove from
Figure 20
Figure 18
Figure 21
When you complete a project, just set it aside to let it dry completely. You can decorate a finished project with paints in a variety of patterns, or you can wet the clay again, return it to a workable state, and make a new project. The cups of
paint are non-toxic and can be cleaned up with soap and water. Remember – they can permanently stain clothes, upholstery and carpeting. You should always clean your brushes and work area immediately after use.
Don’t Forget: A project must be completely dried before you can apply paint.
The paints, which are acrylic, can be mixed to create new colors. For example, red and yellow mixed in equal amounts produce orange. Mixing red and blue produces violet, and yellow mixed with blue yields green. Mixing should be done
in the mixing palettes on the base of the Pottery Wheel.
To clean paint and clay from the Pottery Wheel, wipe thoroughly with a damp sponge or cloth. DO NOT IMMERSE IN WATER !!!! See cleaning instructions on page 2.
• Keep a damp sponge handy to wet the edges of the clay and keep them moist.
• To prevent the surface from cracking as you assemble the project, moisten the surface and cover it with a piece of plastic wrap. After a while, remove the plastic, smooth the cracked surface and
continue working on the project.
• If you stop working on a project before you finish it, seal the project in a large plastic bag. If it gets dry, add a little water which will soften the clay so you can finish the project. Be careful not to use too
much water.
• Do not put heavy pressure on the turntable forcing it to stop without first turning it off. Doing so will break the machine permanently!
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