What is scoring clay?

Scoring clay is a ceramic technique that involves creating shallow marks or scratches on the surface of clay before joining two pieces together. Scoring enhances the bond between the pieces and helps prevent separation during drying and firing.

Function of Scoring

Scoring serves as a key step in the “3 S’s” method (Slip, Score, Seal) used to join clay pieces securely. The scored surface provides texture for slip (a mixture of clay and water) to adhere to, ensuring a strong connection between the joined pieces.

Scoring Process

The process of scoring involves:

  • Using a needle tool, fork, or other pointed tool to create shallow marks on both surfaces of the clay pieces to be joined.
  • Applying slip to the scored areas.
  • Pressing the scored surfaces together and sealing the edges.


Scoring is commonly used when attaching handles, spouts, and other additions to clay vessels. It ensures that the joined areas can withstand the stresses of drying and firing without separating.


Scoring clay is a fundamental technique that contributes to the structural integrity and longevity of clay creations, allowing artists to create intricate and durable ceramic pieces.

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