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Hand build a mug

How to hand build unconventional mugs by using wall-mounted clay extruder,
Relyef Extruder Hollow Dies, Relyef stamps and Relyef handle forms.

What is needed:

  • Ceramics clay suitable for your firing temperature and your glazes
  • Wall-mounted ceramic hand extruder (Shimpo EX 115)


You can also use our dies with extruders other than Shimpo EX 115 if you manage to secure the die in your extruder.

1) Extruder preparation

Choose the most desirable Relyef Extruder Hollow Die for your wall-mounted clay extruder Shimpo EX 115.

Place the chosen Relyef Extruder Hollow Die in the standard white adaptor sold with the extruder, the one with a hole 63mm (2,5inch) in diameter.  

Tighten the adaptor into the extruder with two screws using a round flange.

For reliable operation of the device proper fit and support are needed. With a properly assembled device a minimal amount of mass escapes through leaks. 


2) Clay preparation for extruding

The clay used for extruding should be on the soft side, softer than the clay we use for throwing on the wheel. The clay needs to be well wedged, free of air. If you are unsure, extrude the test tile and then adjust. 


Dirt, hardened pieces of clay, or air create defects in the product. However, they can be incorporated intentionally and create a certain kind of decoration

3) Extruding using Relyef Extruder Hollow Die

Insert a lump of clay around 2-3 kg (4-6 pounds) into the extruder.

The mass should pass through the press evenly at the normal pressure exerted by the force of a medium-strength woman. If not, the mass is probably too hard.


The dies are made to withstand the pressure of approximately 35-40kg, so use only the handle that comes standardly with the extruder, any extension of the handle might result in the dies or the extruder breaking. 

The softer clay has a higher tendency to collapse and deform, so it is necessary to work gently and with care.

However, it is possible to let the tile dry in the press for a while before cutting it. (You can also use a heat gun to speed up the process.)

Cut the tile with a string and transfer the settled semi-finished product from the extruder onto a suitable pad placed on the table. The final precise cuts are done in the leather hard stage. 

 4) Possibilities for working with the leather-hard semi-finished product from the extruder

Various products can be made from the semi-finished product obtained from the Relyef dies for the Shimpo extruder. Let yourself be guided by your imagination.

Creating a mug from heptagonal Relyef Extruder Die

Extrude the heptagonal semi-finished product, taller than your mug will be. Let it settle for a while, cut it from the extruder and place it on the working mat on the table. Let it dry to the leather hard stage. Cut to the required length so that the wall corresponds to the required volume of the future container. 

Assembling the mug

Roll out the flat slab, let it settle to the leather hard stage. Place the leather-hard semi-finished, cut walls of the future mugs vertically on the slab. Mark the bottom adding about 3mm all around using a ceramics needle. Cut the bottom. By using the scoring and slip method attach the bottom to your mug. Smooth the bottom with a sponge. 

Let it slightly dry again upside down. Keep the body of the mug still in the leather-hard stage as it is the best stage in which to decorate it. We offer a large variety of Relyef stamps to personalize your mugs.


Handle for extruded mugs can be pulled, hand build or hand build using Relyef handle forms. For our handle forms roll out a coil, place it around the assembled form, press it against the scored+slipped surface on the mug, let it slightly settle, and pull the form out to the sides disassembling it into two parts again.



To make sure cracks do not appear in joints, dry the mug as evenly as possible. 

Bisque firing



 Firing to the clay + glaze temperature needs to follow.

Final look:

  • If you want to read more about using Relyef Hollow Dies, you might like this article
  • You can find tips for making handles here

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