Not every one has access to a professional kiln. And it may seem ridiculous to invest in one when you are creating miniatures or jewelry out of natural clay as a DIY project or as a one time experiment.
If you plan on creating clay pieces on a regular basis and wish to try out glazes, The FireBox 8x6 LT Multimedia Kiln by Skutt is a great starter kiln. And guess what Instructables is hosting a clay contest in which the grand prize winner gets this amazing kiln along with loads of clay suppplies, glazes, Laguna clay and tools from The Ceramic Shop
Anyways, in your DIY projects, you can't do away without firing, as the firing process is necessary to create the bond between clay molecules to prevent it from dissolving in water
So how do we fire natural clay WITHOUT a kiln?
Let's find out in this instructable
Step 1: Materials Needed
If not a kiln, what are the materials needed for firing?
You will need:
1. 2 wide mouthed clay pots
2. Sawdust (rice husk/wood shavings can also be used instead)
Step 2: Set Up Pot A
Added a layer of saw dust (about an inch or two thick layer) to the Pot A and place the completely dry clay pieces on it, taking care to evenly distribute them
Step 3: Top It Up With Another Layer of Saw Dust
Top it up with another layer of saw dust to completely cover the pieces
Step 4: Burn Coal to Red Hot Temperature in Pot B
1. Take coal in pot B
2. Sprinkle some kerosene on the coal pieces
3. Light it up and bring coal to red hot temperature
*Exercise caution while dealing with fire. Coal tends to crackle and spurt out of the pot. Make sure to take necessary precautions*
Step 5: Transfer Coal From Pot B to Pot A
Once the coal is red hot, transfer it carefully with the help of tongs to the first pit, right on top of the sawdust
Step 6: Leave the Set Up Undisturbed Till It Cools by Itself
it will take atleast 4 hours for the coal to burn completely and another couple of hours until the heat subsides. Leave it aside for this whole while
Step 7: Carefully Fish Out the Fired Pieces
The output of this method is black. This is NOT soot. The sawdust which helps in gradually and evenly distributing heat, also acts as a barrier limiting oxygen supply to the clay pieces. So the iron compounds in clay undergoes reduction reaction, resulting in black output. However the pieces turn strong and the clay molecules bond together similar to kiln firing, making it insoluble in water.
All my clay jewellery and keepsakes are fired using this method and painted with acrylic paints.
You can find another instructable on DIY clay jewellery where i have elaborated on making a pair of cute clay earrings. You can see how the painted pieces look like in that tutoral.
Feel free to take a peek into my facebook page Festoons Creations for more of my creations
You can buy my creations from Festoons Etsy shop
Step 8: If You Found Instructable Helpful, I Greatly Appreciate Your Vote in the Contest
If you found this instructable helpful, i highly appreciate your support with a vote
Thank you all for reading
If you try this method out, do post your creations in the comments. Looking forward to see all your wonderful creations