The Pottery merit badge provides an introduction to pottery making, enabling Scouts to gain skill and understanding from actually creating pottery. Completing the requirements will include hands-on production of a work of art, from start to finish.


  1. Explain to your counselor the precautions that must be followed for the safe use and operation of a potter’s tools, equipment, and other materials.
  2. Do the following:
    1. Explain the properties and ingredients of a good clay body for the following:
      1. Making sculpture
      2. Throwing on the wheel
    2. Tell how three different kinds of potter’s wheels work.
  3. Make two drawings of pottery forms, each on an 8½-by-11-inch sheet of paper. One must be a historical pottery style. The other must be of your own design.
  4. Explain the meaning of the following pottery terms: bat, wedging, throwing, leather hard, bone dry, greenware, bisque, terra-cotta, grog, slip, score, earthenware, stoneware, porcelain, pyrometric cone, and glaze.
  5. Do the following. Each piece is to be painted, glazed, or otherwise decorated by you:
    1. Make a slab pot, a coil pot, and a pinch pot.
    2. Make a human or animal figurine or decorative sculpture.
    3. Throw a functional form on a potter's wheel.
    4. Help to fire a kiln.
  6. Explain the scope of the ceramic industry in the United States. Tell some things made other than craft pottery.
  7. With your parent’s permission and your counselor’s approval, do ONE of the following:
    1. Visit the kiln yard at a local college or other craft school. Learn how the different kinds of kilns work, including low fire electric, gas or propane high fire, wood or salt/soda, and raku.
    2. Visit a museum, art exhibit, art gallery, artists’ co-op, or artist’s studio that features pottery. After your visit, share with your counselor what you have learned.
    3. Using resources from the library, magazines, the Internet (with your parent’s permission), and other outlets, learn about the historical and cultural importance of pottery. Share what you discover with your counselor.
  8. Find out about career opportunities in pottery. Pick one and find out the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss this with your counselor, and explain why this profession might interest you.


Scouting Literature

Archaeology, Art, and Sculpture merit badge pamphlets


  • Andrews, Tim. Raku. KP Books, 2005.
  • Atkin, Jacqui. Pottery Basics: Everything You Need to Know to Start Making Beautiful Ceramics. Barron's, 2005.
  • Birks, Tony. The Complete Potter's Companion. Bulfinch, 1998.
  • Brommer, Gerald F., and Joseph A. Gatto. Careers in Art: An Illustrated Guide, 2nd ed. Sterling, 1999.
  • Burleson, Mark. The Ceramic Glaze Handbook: Materials, Techniques, Formulas. Sterling, 2003.
  • Cooney, Nicky. Decorating Ceramics: Over 300 Easy-to-Paint Patterns. Sterling, 1999.
  • Cosentino, Peter. The Encyclopedia of Pottery Techniques: A Comprehensive Visual Guide to Traditional and Contemporary Techniques. Sterling, 2002.
  • Daly, Greg. Glazes and Glazing Techniques. Gentle Breeze Publishing, 1996.
  • Gibson, John. Pottery Decoration: Contemporary Approaches. Overlook, 1997.
  • Hamer, Frank, and Janet Hamer. The Potter's Dictionary of Materials and Techniques. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004.
  • Hopper, Robin. Functional Pottery: Form and Aesthetic in Pots of Purpose. KP Books, 2000.
  • --------. Making Marks: Discovering the Ceramic Surface. KP Books, 2004.
  • Illian, Clary. A Potter's Workbook. University of Iowa Press, 2003.
  • Mattison, Steve. The Complete Potter. Barron's, 2003.
  • Nelson, Glenn C. Ceramics: A Potter's Handbook. Wadsworth, 2001.
  • Peterson, Susan. The Craft and Art of Clay: A Complete Potter's Handbook. Overlook, 2003.
  • Speight, Charlotte, and John Toki. Hands in Clay. McGraw-Hill, 2003.
  • Triplett, Kathy. Handbuilt Ceramics: Pinching, Coiling, Extruding, Molding, Slip Casting, Slab Work. Lark, 2000.
  • Van Gilder, Bill. Wheel-Thrown Pottery: An Illustrated Guide of Basic Techniques. Lark Books, 2006.
  • Warshaw, Josie. Handbuilding Pottery: Practical Art Handbook. Anness Publishing, 2005.
  • Wensley, Doug. Pottery: The Essential Manual. Crowood, 2002.
  • Zakin, Richard. Ceramics: Mastering the Craft. KP Books, 2001.
  • --------. Electric Kiln Ceramics. KP Books, 2004.
  • Zamek, Jeff. Safety in the Ceramics Studio. KP Books, 2002.