Saturday, October 7, 2017

Butter Dish Template Tribulations

For some time I've been thinking of making a covered butter dish but hesitated because of the complexity of the task, butter dish template tribulations. Today I decided to push through my hesitation. Nothing ventured, nothing gained as they say. There are different sizes of sticks of butter to consider. I read East of the Rockies in the U.S. most butter is sold in sticks which measure 1 1/4 x 1 1/4 x 5 inches. West of the Rockies in the U.S. most butter is sold in sticks that measure 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches. Then I measured my stick of butter and it's 1 1/4 by 4 3/4 inches. Oh brother. 

There's clay shrinkage rates to consider. My white stoneware shrinks 11 1/2 percent when fired to cone 6. Then I reasoned I need to allow for a little space between the cover and the stick of butter so it doesn't stick to the cover on the inside or top. I also need to allow for the thickness of the clay form when fired.

After calculating size, shrinkage, and extra space, I decided to wing it. I grabbed some bubble wrap as texture and made a butter dish large enough to hold either size stick of butter.

If you have measurements for a butter dish you'd like to share please let me know. I'll post my measurements after final firing if my butter dish turns out. I'll be at the farmer's market Saturday from 7 am to 1 pm. Hope to see you there. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.


  1. Wow. That does sound complicated. Our butter comes in half pound or pound blocks. And their dimensions don't vary.
    Good luck.

  2. Hi Sue, thanks, ours comes in quarter pound sticks, I'd have to make an even larger one for your butter. Ha.

  3. I love this kind of pottery, decorative as well as practical.

  4. Hi Denise, thanks, I am thinking in the summer a ceramic butter dish will keep the butter from getting too soft on the table.

  5. Put me down for one. My butter is 1 x 4 3/4. I always bought my butter dishes from artists, and been delighted with the creative ways of making butter dishes. I pass on dishes without lids. What's the point?
    Good lids are big enough not to nick the stick of butter by old hands like mine.
    The best lid I ever had was a dome. Think a square piece of clay and each end is like a bee hive. The square is laid over two end squares that have the top rounded. If you need a picture, let me know.
    It had a handle like you have. The base actually was pretty flat, not formed like yours.
    My sister's cat knocked it off the counter. It broke. Never, ever found any butter dish like it since. Twenty sad years.

    1. Hi Joanne, thanks, I have a glass butter dish in the fridge, shame on me, it's an antique one and I love it but I was reasoning that a ceramic one could be left on the table in summer and the butter would stay cool longer. I saw the dome shaped ones you are talking about and I am planning on making that shape as well. I am not taking this on as a challenge for myself to make a bunch of these butter dishes. Years ago I made some round ones (Europe has round butter and so do the Amish) but they were too low for the butter. This one looks a bit tall but will shrink, we shall see how it turns out but I'll be back in the studio tomorrow to try a couple of other shapes like the one you mentioned. Thanks for the info.

    2. should be " I am NOW taking this on as a challenge"

  6. A real butter dish, and all slab work!@ :-)


I love suggestions, questions, critiques, thanks for your comment