How to Make a Column Out of Clay

By Kaye Wagner
Ribbed columns with square caps are relatively easy to make.

The earliest known columns were made in 2600 B.C. in ancient Egypt and were carved to look like papyrus reeds. The most recognizable columns, however, come from ancient Greece and Rome. They were most often ribbed, and had square or rectangular caps. You can make these classic columns fairly easily out of clay by using some easy-to-find tools.

Roll the clay into a cylinder and flatten the ends.

Stand the cylinder on one end and use the rounded end of a vegetable peeler to carve rounded ribs into the column from the top to the bottom. Continue all the way around the column, removing the excess clay as you go.

Roll out another block of clay until it is 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick, depending on the size of your columns and proper proportions.

Determine the size of the sides of the two square column caps by adding 1/4 to 1/2 inch to the diameter of the column.

Cut two squares out of the clay according to the dimensions.

Attach the column caps to the top and bottom of the column. Blend the seam by dipping a paintbrush in water and running it over the seam.

Follow the clay manufacturer’s directions for firing the clay. Most clay requires a kiln for firing. However, some may only require the use of your home oven or will simply require that the clay air dry.

Tip

Cover your workspace with plastic to prevent the clay from sticking to your work table.

About the Author

Kaye Wagner has been working in the fields of journalism and public relations since 2006 and is a recipient of a National Hearst Award. She is particularly interested in home-and-garden projects, as well as beauty and fashion writing. An avid traveler, she also writes travel reviews and guides. Wagner earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Brigham Young University.