Clay pots crafted by pottery professionals are durable and hard given the fact that it goes through the rigorous and chemically altering firing process in a kiln. However, if you plan on creating pottery in the comfort of your home, you might not get access to a professional kiln for the firing. Without a kiln, your pottery wouldn’t be as rock-hard or durable.
But, you surely don’t need to worry because the firing process is quite possible with a home oven.
Pottery Firing with a Home Oven
Firing with the help of a home oven is doable, but the results might not be the same as that of a kiln. With a regular home oven, you cannot reach a temperature that is as high as that of any industrial kiln. Pottery that has been dried in an oven won’t be as durable or hard as compared to the pottery fired in the kiln. Most potters choose to use clay variants that are made for oven drying as opposed to the standard clay used in pottery.
As a beginner enthusiast, you might be wondering what the best ways are to fire a pottery piece with no need to shell out your dollars for an expensive kiln.
Are Pottery Pieces Fired In the Home Oven Durable?
If you cannot arrange a kiln to fire your pottery pieces, don’t worry! Even your regular oven can get the job done and create some amazing and high-quality artwork with some creativity in the crafting process. No doubt kilns are effective in firing pottery, but as a creative artist, they shouldn’t be your only option. When created with care, your pottery pieces can be heated to a suitable temperature in the home oven for the right amount of time.
Such pottery pieces will last when maintained properly and taken care of.
Pottery Firing in Oven: Is It Fired or Dried?
This is something most artists get confused about. When talking about oven firing a pottery work, it isn’t actually firing, but rather drying. Your home oven cannot reach the temperature required to physically and chemically alter the pottery work and turn it into a durable piece.
However, it can surely aid in the drying process and speed it up for you. When you leave your pottery work to air-dry, it could take a long time to dry. Depending on the thickness of your piece, it could take as long as a week to air-dry completely. With an oven by your side, you can speed up the drying process and end up with a bone-dry piece.
How Can You Care For and Maintain the Oven-Dried Pottery?
Oven-dried pottery must receive special care and maintenance to last for a long time. Here are some tips for you to keep in mind while doing so:
- Always hand wash your pottery work as opposed to washing them in the dishwasher
- Refrain from dropping or bumping the pottery piece
- Use a minimum amount of detergent & avoid using things that might stain the pieces
Here are some mistakes you might make when firing pottery in the oven:
Pottery Oven Firing Mistakes
Not using parchment paper on the baking tray
There is a chance that your clay piece might stick to the tray and dry as it is. Having parchment paper on the tray allows the pottery to be removed with ease minus the breaking.
Not air-drying the pottery
Air-drying your pottery helps the clay piece to dry in an even manner which helps avoid any unforeseen cracking issues.
Removing the piece immediately after firing
When you remove the pottery work immediately after firing, it is exposed to a fairly lower temperature instantly. This can cause cracking in the pottery work.
Creating very thick or very thin walls
When the walls of your pottery pieces are too thick or thin, firing could go wrong anytime. A piece that is too thick would not fire evenly, and a piece too thin would crack. So, make sure the thickness of your pottery work is somewhere around 1/4th the size of an inch.
Tips for Oven Firing Your Pottery Work
If you plan to fire your pottery in the oven, you should do it correctly to avoid any random accidents or unforeseen circumstances. Here are the tips you can follow for a successful output:
1. Pre-Dry Your Pottery Before Firing In Your Oven:
When firing in the oven, ensure that your pottery work is as dry as possible. If you feel that the clay is damp, ensure that you keep it in a place that is warm & airy for a minimum of one day. The clay should feel dry and light on the touch as compared to the condition when it was damp. If you try to dry it out too fast by placing it in the oven, it could crack away or chip from the sides. Keeping it in the oven lets you dry it out completely, making it stronger than ever.
2. Place Your Pottery In the Oven’s Center:
If you are oven-firing one or two pieces at a time, depending on the size of the oven, you must always place your artwork in the middle. Doing this ensures that your pottery doesn’t touch the sides while being exposed to equal heat flow from all sides. You can also place the pottery on a drying rack and keep it inside the oven. Use racks that are oven-safe for pottery drying purposes. For this, you can use the P&P Chef Store Baking Rack which is made of stainless steel and is oven-safe.
3. Set the Right Temperature:
The temperature and time for which you fire or dry your pottery in the oven can vary depending on the size and thickness. The minimum heat required to fire the pottery properly in an oven is 325oF. If your home oven doesn’t attain this temperature, you can set it to the highest possible temperature and increase the overall baking time.
4. Leave It Inside The Oven Post-Firing:
Once you are done firing your pottery work, try not to take it out immediately. Doing this would cause the pottery to experience a sudden temperature change, and this would induce cracking. So, leave your pottery piece in the oven for at least 4 to 5 hours and let it cool down slowly after you switch off the oven. Once you feel that the inside of the oven is at the same temperature as that of the outside, you can remove it and start decorating the pieces.
Apart from this, you can try other popular methods for pottery firing include dustbin-based smoke firing or pit firing. However, these methods could be labor-intensive as compared to the oven-firing method. If you aren’t planning to sell your pottery as a commercial seller, you can surely make do with oven-firing. These pieces can be used for decorative purposes or for normal home usage. But, keep in mind that they might not be as durable as kiln-fired pottery work.