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Tool Talk Thursday Sponges

Sponges are a good way to finish off your leather hard clay pieces.  They are much safer than sanding since the wetness of the sponge traps all that silica dust.  There are a number of sponges on the market.  I personally prefer the natural sponges.  In the pic above all but the round light yellow sponge are the natural kind.  These sponges are softer and more pliable than a plastic product.  They are also easier to squeeze out the water from which is important when you are smoothing off your piece.  Too much water and the detail on your work quickly disappears.

All you need for sponging is a small dish of water and your sponge.  It is important to keep your water clean by dumping it frequently into a bucket.  Not in your sink.  If  you don't keep the water clean, you will leave a clay residue on your piece as the water gets  full of floating clay dust quickly.

In this pic I am showing you a piece of a natural sponge.  Those curves and thin edge are great for getting into small spots and smoothing off the rough edges.  The sponge is soft enough to fit the contours of your piece.  Sponges also make it possible for you to make some minor shape changes in your piece as well.  The clay quickly wipes off and corners can be rounded and slightly irregular circles can be reshaped.

In this picture you can see that the edges are soft but the image remains clear.  I have gently sponged the edges and the center of this toggle.  The image remains clear because the sponge is so flexible that it doesn't even touch those parts.  Very had to do with a commercial sponge.

Please let us know your experiences with sponges.  What works for you?  What kind do you use? And what are some of your sponging tricks and tips?  Thank you in advance to adding to our clay sponging knowledge.  It is so helpful to all of us.


  1. My first sponge for ceramics was bought in 1998 and recently I had to stop using it because it was old and torn basically. It was my favorite sponge, I believe it was a natural sponge that they call elephant ear's sponge but maybe I am wrong. I have many others that I've gotten over the years, but they do not compare to the one I really really liked.

  2. Yolanda, thanks for writing in about your sponge. I will add a photo of an elephant ear sponge. It is a natural, flat and very fine textured sponge. Thanks for adding to our pool of info.

  3. Thanks Mary for saying it was flat.... Been a long time since I got that first one, I thought it was like the one on the first pic above, bottom left. No wonder the ones I have do not compare, they are too thick. My supplier no longer carries elephant ears... I guess i will look somewhere else. Thank you for all the postings you do I really enjoy them.

  4. Hi Yolanda, here is a link for sponges including elephant ear:

  5. And here is another link for sponges from Big Ceramic Store. They have the Greek Elephant Ear Sponges:

  6. Thanks so much for that post Mary and for the links. I Love the elephant ear sponges because they get into those little corners, but they do wear out, so I'm glad to know where to order more!

  7. Good to hear about you enthusiasm for elephant ear sponges and how you use them. Thank you so much for writing in. Glad you can use the links.

  8. Thank you for the links Mary!


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