Mastering Clay Techniques - Clay: Wedging vs Kneading ✋

Wedging and kneading clay are two essential techniques in working with clay, but they serve different purposes. Let's delve into these techniques and understand their importance in the art of pottery and clay sculpture:

When it comes to clay, wedging and kneading are often used interchangeably, but they actually have distinct meanings and functions. Understanding the difference between the two can greatly improve your clay crafting skills.


Wedging is a technique used to prepare clay for throwing on a pottery wheel or hand-building. It involves a series of steps to remove air bubbles and ensure the clay is evenly mixed and consistent in texture.

To wedge clay, start by cutting a block of clay into two equal pieces. Take one piece and slam it down onto a clean work surface. This action helps to remove any trapped air bubbles. Then, take the other piece and slam it down on top of the first piece. Repeat this process several times, alternating the direction in which you slam the clay. The goal is to compress the clay and create a uniform texture.

Wedging is important because it helps to prevent the clay from cracking or exploding during the firing process. It also improves the plasticity of the clay, making it easier to work with and shape.


Kneading, on the other hand, is a technique used to condition clay, especially polymer clay or air dry clay. It involves manipulating the clay with your hands to soften it, improve its elasticity, and make it more pliable.

To knead clay, start by breaking it into smaller pieces. Take a piece of clay and roll it into a ball. Then, using the heel of your hand, press down and push the clay away from you. Fold the clay back onto itself and repeat the process. Continue kneading until the clay becomes smooth and easy to work with.

Kneading is crucial because it helps to remove any air bubbles or lumps in the clay, ensuring a smooth and even consistency. It also makes the clay more malleable, allowing you to shape it into various forms and designs.

In summary, wedging is primarily used in pottery to prepare clay for throwing, while kneading is used to condition clay for sculpting or crafting. Both techniques are important for achieving successful clay creations.

I hope this clarifies the difference between wedging and kneading clay. If you have any more questions about clay crafts or techniques, feel free to ask!

Amy Roberts
polymer clay, jewelry making, beadwork, sculpture

Amy Roberts is a dedicated clay artist, boasting over a decade and a half of experience in the realm of clay crafts. Her expertise lies in crafting exquisite polymer clay jewelry, and she finds joy in imparting her wisdom to fellow artisans in the craft community.