How to: Make a texture roller for clay

This project is instant gratification. Something that is not that common in the world of clay. With this texture roller, you can use it as soon as the hot glue has cooling, which is very fast. It’s a great project to do in a class, or on your own so you have a custom tool that no one else has.


  • a roller of some sort (cut up pieces of PVC, empty rolls of tape, couplings for PVC, plastic rolling pins from the dollar store or craft store).
  • a sharpie.
  • a hot glue gun. They only cost a couple of bucks.
  • extra hot glue sticks.

Draw your pattern onto the rolling pin. It’s easier to work out the pattern before with a Sharpie than it is later with the hot glue. Think about some sort of connected pattern, they tend to have the best results. And don’t go overboard with the lines, you’ll regret it later. And remember that the hot glue line aren’t going to be perfect, so just go with the imperfection.

While you’re drawing, plug in your hot glue gun. Make sure that you do it on a surface that you can toss when done, like newspaper or cardboard. When you’re done drawing on your design, start gluing. Be a bit heavy handed with the glue. If the lines are too thin, they won’t show up on the clay as well.

After the glue seems cool, start rolling away… The first attempt might stick a bit, but after there is some dusty clay on the roller, it won’t really stick.

If you’re not a hand builder, a nice use for one of these textured slabs is in the bottom of a thrown and altered casserole.

48 thoughts on “How to: Make a texture roller for clay

    1. Great idea! I’ve always saved the cardboard rolls from tape because I always felt they were a seed for something…now I know!! LOL thanks Emily for sharing this tidbit! Tina

  1. OH MY GAWD – now why didn’t I think of this? Yesterday, I was using some texture plates – and contemplating making some bisque texture rolling pieces or buying some pre-made ones. I even broke out some of my lino-cut plates from school to use as texture.

    Thanks for the tutorial – I’m going to give this a shot today!

  2. Hi Emily
    For the throwers out there:
    If you use a small print roller with a handle to put the design on, you can hold this against the side of a freshly thrown pot while supporting the pot wall from the inside. I use this type of decoration a lot in my pottery classes.

  3. Hello I’m from Italy. Thank you for this good idea. I did this last week and I made a very good job!!! Excuse me for english!

  4. This is great, we learned this technique at a Lana Wilson Workshop using PVC, the rolling pins are a better idea! Keep the ieas comin’

  5. I am a middle school art teacher in Connecticut. My students and I tried this idea on pieces of cardboard rolls from wrapping paper and cardboard cylinders from rolls of tape. It worked awesome. They turned out great!!!! The kids loved creating original-non-store-bought texture. Wow! Thanks for the idea!!! I cant wait to take pics.. when I do I will send a link to my site to check them out!
    Kelly Murphy- Smith Middle School Glastonbury CT

  6. Having trouble laying down the glue on the roller,I cut wall paper to the exact dimensions of the roller.I laid the paper out flat,transferred a design to the paper,laid down the glue,and then wrapped the paper around the roller.It was much easier for me to work on a flat surface.This way I can print out designs and then transfer them to the flat paper.This gives me much more control of the glue gun resulting in a neater design(s).

    1. I have another question
      Which roll I should use??
      There are glue guns in the market whit different peaks in the front , so you have also again different lines ??
      You understand what I mean, hopefully??

  7. Thank you for the great tut. I hope you don’t mind me adding this to my Pinterest Polymer Clay ideas board.

  8. This is fabulous! Can’t wait for the new school year to begin so my students can use these… BTW… I have ceramic tiles that stay with my glue guns for resting them on… works much better than paper :)

  9. Can you tell me what kind of glue gun works the best. I tried this before and had trouble with the glue coming out to fast. I had trouble controlling the flow of glue.
    Please help with glue guns that will work best with this project.
    Thank you!!

    1. I just used a simple, cheap glue gun. Once I made the mistake of using fabric glue in the glue gun and it never sets up firmly, so I would avoid that. It is hard to control- you have to let go of perfection! Maybe try a glue gun that works at a lower temp? That should make it go a little slower.

  10. I made a roller and created the coolest piece with it. The texture was so easy to create with pvc pipe and hot glue. Instant Gratification was right. I love this and will definitely use it for my own work and already have plans to have my students create with it next week.
    Thank you!!!

  11. Nice idea. Have you ever tried pattern rollers. We have them in germany and they are called “Musterwalzen” or “Strukturwalzen” here … normally they are used for the wall but the also work well for clay and stuff ;O)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *