Sea Urchin Cabochons: How They’re Made!

March 30, 2015 , In: Ceramic Clay, Clay, General, Tutorials

I’ve created so many stoneware sea urchin cabochons lately because they were in high demand when I returned from the bead cruise.  They had been featured in Beverly Herman’s “Star of the Sea” workshop and the ladies had asked for more.  So I thought I’d share an inside peek at how these pieces are made…

Fresh Block of Stoneware

All urchin cabochons start their life from a block of brown stoneware.

Wedged Stoneware

I cut a piece of clay from the block and wedge it for proper consistency and to remove air pockets.


The clay is then rolled into a slab.  I use a simple wooden rolling pin for this.

I cut the cabochons from the slab and then smooth the edges.  They are then set aside for awhile.

Mold Made from Antique Button

Another piece of clay is cut and wedged then I remove a small piece and roll it into a ball.  The small decorative urchin element is created from a mold I made of an antique button.

Molded Stoneware

The little ball of clay is pressed into the mold, removed and then set aside.

Scored Stoneware

I then score the decorative urchin and the cabochon, apply a bit of slip and join the two pieces together.

Greenware Cabochons

The cabochons are then left to dry for a couple of days.

Bisque Cabochons with Oxide Applied

Once the cabochons are completely dry, they are put into my small kiln and bisque fired.  I unload them the next day and apply an oxide to the decorative urchin element.  The oxide is applied by brushing it on and then wiping the excess with a wet sponge.

Glazed Cabochons

After the oxide is applied, each piece is glazed.  I typically apply 2-3 layers of glaze.

Finished Sea Urchin Cabochons

Once I have enough work to fill the kiln, I load all the pieces and fire to Cone 6.  The pieces are unloaded the next day and then inspected for any flaws.  I then spend a day photographing, editing and writing drafts for my shop. 

And there you have it!  That’s what it takes to make a sea urchin cabochon!
Happy Beading!

Diana Ptaszynski

Powered by the magic of all things containing sugar, Diana spends her day making beads out of porcelain and stoneware.  She also enjoys needle-felting, bead embroidery and metalsmithing. A Jersey girl at heart, Diana now resides in Rochester, NY with her husband and three cat children.  You can find Diana in her studio at Made On State, spreading the bead love at Let's Bead in East Rochester or all dressed up at a cosplay event! 
  1. Reply

    Thanks for sharing your process. It makes you realize how much work goes into everything you make and the time it takes.

  2. Reply

    These are so delightful. I love those speckled glazes that you use!

  3. Reply

    So so pretty! Wow..lots of love and care added, too!

  4. Reply

    These are just beautiful! They look so simple but there is so much detail involved. Such nice work you do!

  5. Reply

    Love these! Question: does the oxide work as a resist when you glaze or do you glaze only the bottom portion?

    • Reply

      I only glaze the bottom portion. There are some pieces I apply oxide too and then glaze over. Depending on the glaze (ones that aren't opaque), you can see the oxide through it.

  6. Reply

    Can I ask whose cone 6 glazes you use? I love the look of them.

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