How to Build Your Own Pottery Kiln

What You'll Need
Metal bucket with lid
Cork plug
Wooden rod
Graphite, clay and sand
1 inch by 2 feet metal pipe
Plumbers torch
3 bricks

If you make pottery at home you need a pottery kiln in which to fire it. You can go to the local pottery and use theirs but it’s much more convenient to have your own. It’s not difficult to make and doesn’t need any great skill to construct. The items needed are easy to find and cheap to buy.

Step 1 - Preparation

Start by taking the clay, graphite and sand and knead together. The mixture should be 60 percent clay, 25 percent graphite, and 15 percent sand.

Drill a hole in the bottom center of the bucket. The hole needs to be 2 inches in diameter. Fit a cork snugly into this; the cork should protrude 2 inches into the bucket. The bucket needs to be 12 inches tall and 12 inches wide at the rim.

Step 2 - Core

The rod will be the core of your pottery kiln. Shaped like a cylinder, it needs to be 8 inches long by 8 inches around. Now line the bucket with newspaper. You also need to cover the core wood with paper. Don’t use a single layer of newspaper but line thickly. Now take the sand mixture and put into the bucket. Press it over the newspaper and make sure it’s 2 inches deep at the bottom of the bucket, making sure it’s in the center of the bucket. Leave this for 48 hours to cure. In the meantime, drill a hole 1 inch in diameter on the bucket’s lid.

Step 3 - Muffle

You’ll have to create what is known as a muffle for the kiln. This is a cylinder of clay, 2 inches long and with walls ½ inch thick. It allows for the correct flow of heat in your pottery kiln. After shaping it, leave to dry for 2 days.

Step 4 - Pipe

You need a chimney for your pottery kiln. To make it, take a metal pipe that’s 1 inch in diameter and 2 feet long. Insert it into the hole you’ve drilled in the lid of the kiln so it sits firmly.

Step 5 - Finishing

Once the clay mixture in the kiln has properly cured, put in the dried muffle. It should sit 1 inch away from the wall of the kiln. You will also need a rack for the pottery you put in the pottery kiln.

Sit the kiln on 3 bricks arranged in a triangle. This will prevent the surface becoming too hot. To apply heat use a plumber’s torch on the bucket kiln, or hook up a Bunsen burner. It’s important to increase the heat gradually or you risk the metal bucket cracking. For earthenware the temperature needs to be 1,250 degrees Centigrade. Ceramics need a temperature 150 degrees higher.