Using Cosmetic Sponges for Handle Supports

A while back I picked up a multi pack of cosmetic sponges in varying shapes and sizes figuring I would find some way to use them in the studio. And I have found them to be useful as finishing sponges. But until seeing Liz Vicena’s article in the January 2023 issue of Ceramics Monthly, I hadn’t found a use for the little cosmetic triangles!

In today’s post, an excerpt from said issue of Ceramics Monthly, Liz shares how she uses these sponges for supports for freshly made handles! She also shares a hack for doing this with a regular clean-up sponge.

Making handles can be a painstaking and frustrating part of the pottery process. In my pursuit of efficiency, I have found a simple and very helpful handle hack. Cosmetic sponges, also known as makeup or beauty wedges, can be used to support newly pulled or extruded handles as they firm up before attachment. The angled sponge provides support so that the handle can maintain its natural curvature, while allowing airflow for even drying.

1 Lay desired number of sponges on ware board.

2 Drape freshly pulled or extruded handles over the sponges.

Cosmetic sponges can be found in the makeup aisles of most grocery stores, pharmacies, and big-box stores or online. Keep in mind that they will expand once wet. I opt for the largest triangles I can find, as my handles are substantial.

Begin by wetting all of the sponges and squeezing them dry. To use, simply lay the desired number of sponges on a ware board, orientating the wedges to best fit your handle slope. Drape the freshly pulled or extruded handles over your sponges. If one sponge is not enough, additional sponges placed at varying angles can support larger and softer handles. These can be used repeatedly as handle wedges, and are also nice to have around the studio for surface cleanup of hard-to-reach areas.

3 For bigger handles, cut a large sponge diagonally using a serrated knife.

4 Use the large wedges to support your longest handles.

A handy adaptation of the makeup-sponge tip can be used for larger handles. Simply cut a large, rectangular sponge diagonally with a sharp, serrated knife. Be sure to maintain the largest faces of the sponge, and trim up any rough edges with scissors. Use these as you would the makeup sponges, being sure they are dry enough before use.


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