How to Glaze & Fire Pottery in a Kiln


Working with a kiln can be dangerous if you don't follow many safety precautions. A kiln can get up to 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit in order to fire and glaze pottery. Electric and non-electric kilns require different methods for preparation and firing. Since non-electric is most common, this method is best to learn.

Things You'll Need

  • A kiln
  • Pottery glaze
  • Freshly made pottery pieces
  • Gloves
  • Protective eyewear
  • Kiln tools to extract pottery pieces

How to Fire Pottery in a Kiln

  • Prepare the kiln to heat up if it hasn't been used in a while by using kiln wash on its bottom. Brush the wash in one direction with a cloth, repeating the process four times.

  • Leave the wash in the kiln and fire it up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit; let it cool naturally with the lid on. This helps prepare the kiln to reach its extreme temperatures.

  • Place your pottery into the kiln after it has cooled, starting at the bottom. If you have multiple pottery pieces, work your way up to the shelves, making sure the pottery isn't touching.

  • Set the time and temperature for the firing process. Depending upon your materials, this may differ. The usual temperature for firing pottery is around 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit. You can keep an eye on your pottery from the kiln peep hole to ensure it does not become too baked. Overheating pottery has a couple of signs, such as blackening when there is no coloring or glaze, and excessive cracking. For the first firing, pottery is usually in the kiln for 14 to 18 hours.

  • Let the pieces cool completely and remove them from the kiln.

How to Glaze Pottery in a Kiln

  • Wipe the pottery pieces you intend to glaze in the kiln with a damp cloth to remove oils or debris.

  • Use the pottery glaze of your choice to cover your pottery piece. Place the pottery on a kiln tray and load it carefully into the kiln on one of the shelves, making sure it touches nothing else so it does not stick while firing.

  • If you place the pottery in the bottom of the kiln, it takes less firing time because the bottom gets hotter.

  • Set the kiln's temperature to around 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Let the pottery bake for 15 to 18 hours once again.

  • Let the kiln cool completely before removing the glazed pottery pieces. This can take a couple of days.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure you do not open the kiln at any time while the pottery is firing, as this can ruin the pottery.

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  • Photo Credit Courtesy of Photobucket.
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