What is a Sgraffito clay?

Sgraffito is a decorative ceramic technique that involves scratching or carving designs through layers of underglaze or slip on clay. The word “sgraffito” comes from the Italian word “sgraffiare,” meaning “to scratch.”

The Sgraffito Process

The process of sgraffito involves:

  • Applying a layer of underglaze or slip to the leather-hard clay surface.
  • Allowing the underglaze or slip to partially dry, creating a workable surface.
  • Using tools like knives, carving tools, or even toothpicks to scratch away the top layer of underglaze or slip, revealing the clay body underneath.
  • Creating intricate designs, patterns, or images by selectively removing the applied layer.

Effects and Applications

Sgraffito can create bold and visually striking designs with contrasting colors and textures. It is often used to enhance the surface of pottery, tiles, and other clay objects.


Sgraffito is a captivating ceramic technique that allows artists to add detailed and intricate designs to their clay creations, resulting in visually appealing and unique pieces of art.

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