How to Make a Kiln

Build your own Kiln for Pottery

One way of firing pottery at home is to make your own kiln. A small homemade kiln can be cheap and easy to build - a great solution for homeschooling pottery classes.

Although it may seem daunting, making a kiln is very possible. I looked at the options and found the simplest way you could put one together. Wouldn't that make a great homeschooling project? And ideal if you have children interested in firing their own clay creations.

Let's take a look at what you will need, and how to put it together (safely!).

Instructions For Kiln Building

You will need :

  • An old oil drum or metal dustbin with lid.
  • Ceramic fibre blanket (such as Kaowool)
  • Refractory Cement
  • A burner from a hardware store (the sort used for soldering).
  • A kiln shelf that will fit inside.
  • A propane gas bottle.

  • The shelf, cement and fibre can be bought from a pottery supplies store.

    If you are using an oil drum then you need to cut a lid in the top. Both drum or dustbin need a hole cutting near the bottom, large enough to fit the end of the burner into.

    Then cut and glue the fibre to the inside of the container. Don't forget to line the bottom and the lid.

    The best video I have found that explains this process is this one from Simon of Sleachpots

    Simon says you should get about 20 firings from the gas bottle depending on the duration and number of pots you are firing.

    Although the kiln in the video was used for Raku (not something you should try in homeschooling - it is too toxic and dangerous to do yourself), I think it would work just as well for firing small clay projects at home. Fire it up until it starts to glow red inside, then switch off the burner and let it cool as slowly as possible. Remember that it will get very hot, so stand it on a fire-retardant surface.

    Too much for you? Check out the other options for firing pottery:

    Firing Clay at Home - how to fire pottery without a kiln

    Make a Kiln

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