How to fire pottery without a kiln

Fire Pottery on Grill
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If you’re an aspiring potter, but you have no kiln, then what can you do? Different from an oven, a kiln is needed to fire pottery, but not everyone can afford it. Luckily, there are many ways to fire pottery without needing a kiln at all, and in this post, we will look at three ways. Let’s not waste any time and get to it.

The Charcoal Grill

Summer’s approaching, so many people are dusting off their grills and thinking about all the food they will cook with them. However, did you know that there are more uses for a grill than just cooking food? One way you can fire pottery is to use your charcoal grill. These grills tend to be inexpensive, and many folks who grill will claim that it’s the best way to do so.

How to Do it

First, clean the grill. If there are any ashes or other pollutants at the bottom, then clean it off. Once it’s all nice and clean, then you need to look at your party. Make sure all the pot’s walls are about 3/8 inches, and dry the pot before use. For clay, look for clay that can withstand thermal shock. This can include raku, paperclay, or groggy stoneware.

Heat up your coals in your own way, either through lighter fluid or another method, and then put the pots on there during preheat time. Make sure to use gloves. Fire them like you would food, and move the pots whenever the coals begin graying at their edges, which should be about 15 minutes. Once you move them, spread the coals a little bit, cock the cover, and wait for about 30 minutes. If the pots ring after being tapped, or they won’t scratched, they are fired.

Pros of This Method

  • It gets multiple uses out of a charcoal grill.
  • Charcoal grills aren’t too much.
  • It can be quite effective.

Cons of This Method

  • Charcoal can be annoying to start.
  • Weather can make or break this method.
  • Certain shapes of pottery are only allowed.

Use a Regular Oven

Almost everyone has a kitchen oven, so why not try that? While more limited than a kiln, it can work if you’re in a pinch.

A regular oven is especially good for beginners, who may be limited with what they make. It’s also good for kids as well. Although, you want to make sure your kid is old enough to be around a kitchen oven.

In order to fire pottery in an oven, you need to touch a pot made of clay and make sure it’s dried. Put it in the center of the rack, upside-down, and heat up the oven to 325. About a half hour later, remove the pot and cool it. Afterwards, you can decorate it.

Pros

  • Everyone has an oven.
  • It’s great for beginners and kids, being less dangerous and more basic.
  • Firing with an oven will not take as much time.

Cons

  • It’s very limited, and you can’t do as much as traditional kilns.
  • It won’t have that glassy appearance pottery is known for.
  • More advanced users will need something else to satisfy their pottery cravings.

Use a Giant Clay Pot

Finally, you can use pottery to fire pottery. Get a couple of clay pots with wide mouths, some sawdust or wood shavings, coal, kerosene, a lighter, and some tongs. 

For the first pot, add an inch of sawdust or wood shavings and put the clay on its top. Then, put another inch of sawdust on it.

Then, look at the second pot. Put coal in there and burn it until it’s red hot using the kerosene or lighter.  Afterwards, move the coal to the first pot with using some tongs. Put it on the upper sawdust layer. Then, wait until the coal exhausts itself. It should take about four hours.

Finally, get the pieces out of the pot. The pieces will be dark and strong, making them water insoluble.

Pros:

  • This method gets the clay quite hot.
  • It’s quite easy to do and doesn’t require too much effort.
  • You can do this with any other container that can handle heat as well.

Cons:

  • Finding two giant clay pots can be a hassle.
  • It does require some careful transferring of hot coal, which can be dangerous.
  • Not as good as a kiln.

Conclusion

These are just some ways to fire pottery without a kiln. While the kiln is the best way to do it, these methods also work well if you’re in a pinch. Try the out and see how well they work for you. Chances are, you can make some killer pottery.