Using a microwave kiln is a convenient and pocket-friendly way to fire your clay work in a microwave oven. It is the perfect device to help you fire miniature artwork including various figurines and jewelry. However, just like any other pottery process, you need to know what to do and what not to do when practicing the use of a microwave kiln. While the initial learning curve might be a bit tedious, with some tips and tricks to help, you can craft some amazing pieces. So, what are these tips and techniques that expert artists swear by? Here is everything you need to know about it!
Consider Using A Turntable For Microwave Kiln
The space inside the microwave can have uneven heating in certain parts. This is due to the fact that the microwaves produced inside the oven are absorbed by anything placed inside which leads to the heating of your artwork. However, given that this microwave energy is in wave form, some sections of the food or artwork are heated while others aren’t. To ensure that the heating happens evenly, it is important to regularly move and rotate the artwork during the heating process.
However, it is impossible to do so while work is being fired. This is where a turntable for a microwave kiln comes in handy. An automated turntable which is suitable for microwave kiln firing can help distribute the energy inside the microwave evenly. This prevents hot spots while ensuring consistent heating of the materials inside the microwave oven.
There is a trick to using the turntable the right way. Get some kiln bricks and place them on the turntable. This will lift the microwave kiln slightly above the turntable. Moreover, doing this will help the kiln benefit from the turntable’s rotation while maintaining some separation. With this setup, you can prevent direct contact between the turntable and the kiln as the extra heat transferred from the turntable to the kiln can alter the results.
If you don’t have a kiln brick, simply flip the turntable and place the microwave kiln on the flipped side. This creates an insulating pocket between the turntable and the microwave kiln. However, this technique has a downside it. Doing this will forbid the kiln from turning on its own and you will have to rotate it manually at regular intervals.
Always Check Your Microwave Oven’s Wattage
If you seek consistent results for all your projects and do not wish to do a test or trial every time you fire, it is important to check the wattage of your microwave oven. Generally, microwave ovens come with wattage ranging between 600 and 1200 watts. The higher the wattage, the better the firing experience is. So, before you start working with a microwave kiln, it is important to understand how your microwave oven’s wattage affects your artwork.
Understand Your Microwave Kiln’s Construction
Most branded microwave kilns are constructed in the same way. They comprise a lid with radiant heating material that tends to absorb the microwave energy and convert it into heat. It is also surrounded by a thick insulating material that retains heat for better firing. The base generally features a platform for you to place your artwork for firing purposes.
Whether you wish to purchase a branded microwave kiln or a budget-friendly one, if the make is the same, you wouldn’t have to worry about any change in firing efficiency. So, if you are looking for a good-quality microwave kiln, the Love Charm Microwave Kiln is surely worth investing in. Made of ceramic fiber, it can help fire your artwork faster while helping conserve energy.
Check For Any Damage In The Microwave Kiln
Before you start the firing process in your microwave kiln, it is important to look for any dust or residue left behind from the previous firing session. These contaminants can settle on the lid or the base. Due to the heat, this dust or residue can fuse with the kiln or even the artwork which can affect the final outcome. So, if you do notice these dusty sections on your microwave kiln, make sure you gently scrape or clean the same to restore the original surface. This will help ensure that the kiln functions properly while minimizing any disruptions that might happen during the heating process.
Work On Temperature Control
Determining the right firing temperature for your artwork will help ensure the outcome is perfect every time and synonymous with your entire batch. However, this can be challenging due to the uneven heating that happens inside a microwave oven as explained earlier. Moreover, factors like the thickness of the artwork, the number of pieces being heated, and the type of clay, all of these can affect the temperature at which the artwork must be fired.
To gain better control over the firing temperature, it is important to experiment with a test batch before placing the primary batch inside the kiln for firing. You can also experiment and adjust the temperature during the firing process for better control. However, this process can be time-consuming and the overall processing time can increase.
Invest In Materials That Keep Your Kiln And Microwave Oven Safe
When working with a microwave oven and a kiln, it is important to use materials and other items that might help ensure the safety and longevity of the machine. You can use fiber paper to line the interior of the microwave kiln. This helps prevent the clay or the glaze from sticking to the kiln. Additionally, you might also wish to purchase a good-quality respirator that will help you avoid any toxic fumes. To keep your microwave kiln free of any dust, debris, or residue, you can also use a kiln wash that will help ensure your microwave kiln’s longevity.
With these tips, you can ensure that your microwave kiln firing process is up to the mark and produces good-quality results for each batch. Remember, working with a microwave kiln is more economical and effective especially if you are a beginner with budget constraints. Keep in mind that a microwave kiln has its limitations and not all clay variants can be fired inside it. It is more suited to low-fire clay that can be fired to perfection. So, make sure you keep this in mind and most of all, have fun!