Make your Own Kiln

How hard is is to make your own kiln?

I  have been researching this simply because I wanted to know if it was possible to make your own kiln at home. Was I expecting to discover that it was going to be either impossible or extremely difficult? Absolutely. I should point out straight away that I do not do any pottery or ceramics myself so I am taking what I have read from other sources to be acurate and true.

make your own kiln

The one above looks like it is simply a steel drum with vents cut around the side. The vents are used to pump air into the  kiln. This is obviously a really small kiln which would probably fire dried small pieces but would not make them fully vitrified.

Another way to make your own kiln

This second kiln is a really simple affair too. The instructions for use say to stack coals as though you were intending to BBQ some steaks. Then settle your pots into the coals and surround them with some wood shavings. Filling them with shavings is also recommended as is wrapping them in hessian soaked in copper sulphate or perhaps winding copper wire around them. Then stack some scraps of wood vertically around them, add some more shavings or sawdust. Leave the waste outlet at the bottom fully open and pour in a litle kero to get the fire going. Light very carefully if you do use an accelerant.

make your own kiln at home

Once the timber has burnt to below the level of the kettle rim, put the lid on cocked to the side to allow really free airflow. I have been told using a weber in this way gets temperatures of around 1300°F. So don't toss out that old BBQ. Put it to a new use!

Something a bit bigger

Both of the above homemade efforts would only fit small items. This next one is an idea for you if you want to throw big pots.

Get a galvanised rubbish bin from a hardware or farm shop. Cut a hole in the side near the bottom. You then go about lining it with cellulose fibre blanket as an insulator. Do the same with the lid to the bin. Arrange some fire bricks in the bottom to sit your pot on for firing.

make your own kiln from scrap

I couldn't find a decent picture anywhere of this so made the rough drawing above. Put a vent hole in the lid. You might need to experiment with more vent holes, there will be some trial and error getting it right depending on the size of your bin.

The heat source for this would need to be propane. Use a weed burner inserted through the hole at the base to supply the heat. You will obviously need to take extreme care when using propane as a heat source. Keep the cylinder well away from the kiln and have the hose shielded somehow in case the heat from the kiln body affects the hose. I reccommendhaving the propane set-up overseen by a qualified gas fitter to ensure the safety of yourself and your neighbours.

Hope you enjoyed this little read.

Browse the art for sale in our online gallery