A Crafts Community For Craft Ideas & DIY Projects - Craftster.org
Help | About | Contact | Press | Advertise | Cookie Policy | Terms | Site Map
Welcome, Guest.
Please login or register.
Random Tip: Joining an Organized Swap? Please review the rules and info on a regular basis.
Total Members: 316,235
Currently Running With Scissors:
272 Guests and 8 Users
Home Craftster Community Crafting Articles Craft Tutorials My Craftster Crafting Calendar City Guides Craft Shop


Pages: 1 2 [All]
Jump to page:
  Show Images Only     Send this topic  |  Print  |  Bookmark  
Topic: Any cheap alternatives to kilns?  (Read 24691 times)
Tags for this thread:  Add new tag
Share the love... Pin it Submit to reddit add to Wists
1+
 
msiddiqi
« on: March 08, 2009 10:04:32 PM »

I've been itching to try out making ceramics - but the cost of kilns keeps holding me back.  Is there a cheaper alternative to buying one of those expensive ones? 
THIS ROCKS   Logged

Unique handmade jewelry and henna art
http://beadsandstain.etsy.com
evilcraftlab
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2009 02:25:00 PM »

If you are just interested in trying out ceramics I would suggest you take a class first.  Typically in part of the class offering they will fire your pieces for you. Another less expensive alternative would be to join some type of studio where you would pay a monthly fee to join and perhaps a fee per kiln fire. I just recently purchase my first kiln and I found a used one on craigslist.

Hope this helps!

Madeline
THIS ROCKS   Logged

crafty gurll
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2009 08:12:42 PM »

I would definitely try a class first, to make sure you enjoy it, which I'm sure you will. Cheesy  Kilns usually require a 220 line, they should be vented outside and are expensive to fire.  Plus in the class they will teach you about the firing process, glazing, handbuilding & wheelthrowing.  Good luck!
THIS ROCKS   Logged
Space_junk
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2009 01:25:49 PM »

As a ceramist with a home studio, I have a couple of suggestions:
DO NOT buy a kiln, either new or used, until you are sure that you want to commit to ceramics. They are expensive, usually require 220 power, and sometimes other structural improvements. You can't just buy one, bring it home in your car, and plug it in and start firing away. (There are some test kilns, in which one or two small pieces will fit, which can be used with household current.) When we bought our Skutt a couple of years ago, we had to have electrical work done, and the total for the work plus the kiln came to more than $6000. You may not have the same issues, but some always arise.  There is also the issue of kiln "furniture" (shelves and posts) and kiln wash, cones, and various other sundries. These can run you an additional $500 -$1000. My spouse and I are both potters, so we thought the investment prudent, and it has turned out to be so. BUT, we knew we loved ceramics, so we were ready to commit.
The suggestion to take a class first is excellent - if fact, taking several before you set up at home will pay dividends, if you pay attention to what is done not only in class, but out of class, i.e. firing of kilns, mixing glazes, storing clay, etc. Depending on where you live, an art center with pro potters will be the best, these folks know what works, obviously.
I must disagree that an electric kiln is expensive to fire. Our Skutt will fire to cone 6 (2232 F) in about 10-12 hours. By firing overnight, when electricity is cheapest, it costs us about $3 to fire a kiln load.
Of course, this is just the raw electricity cost, the taxes and fees make it a bit more (maybe $5.)
I have gone on for too long, and this isn't meant to discourage you, but kilns, studios require somewhat of a hefty investment in both money and time.  In our current economy, those issues are best taken into account, no?
If you do decide that you love ceramics, and do set up at home, you will be amply rewarded. It is an amazing, and amazingly rewarding activity.
THIS ROCKS   Logged
sugarbeth
no such thing as too many projects!
Offline Offline

Posts: 379
Joined: 24-Jan-2006


View Profile WWW
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2009 06:51:39 PM »

I agree, taking a class is a great way to get access to a lot of equipment. I would also ask around the ceramics community where you live - someone might have an idea of where you can use a kiln, or you might have a potter in your neighborhood that can share their kiln for a small fee. Have fun!
THIS ROCKS   Logged

Beth
crafty momma to Lilu and Toby
Martin Handmade Tile
msiddiqi
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2009 03:05:47 PM »

Wow, yeah it seems like the investment is pretty steep.  I will def take up a class first to see if I like it - and wait till my DH finds a job  Cheesy  Argh, this economy!
THIS ROCKS   Logged

Unique handmade jewelry and henna art
http://beadsandstain.etsy.com
Ashling
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2009 04:51:54 PM »

If you aren't able to take a class, try and find a place that will fire pieces.  Check the phone book, there was a place where I used to live that fired pieces for $0.50- $5 depending on the size.  Ceramics places like that are usually in wierd places, this one was behind a warehouse next to a rock quarry, so you have to look around, they won't be on main street.
THIS ROCKS   Logged

squeeky 01
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2009 03:59:48 PM »

Hi,I just joined this site and saw your post.I am a potter also and read the posts regarding your inquiry. If you are not sure about starting pottery or ceramics,you may think about trying polymer clay for small objects,(pendants,beads,etc).You would need to dedicate a small toaster oven to just making polymer products.DO NOT use the toaster oven for ANYTHING BUT POLYMER CLAY! You can pick up used ovens fairly cheaply at 2nd hand stores,Goodwill,etc.I just started using polymer clay and just loved the fun easy things I can make with it. Polymer clay(it is not clay but a vinyl product that works similar to clay) itself can get a little spendy so shop before you buy,you may also have to buy special jewelry tools if that is what you decide,anyway, when I take time from the real clay I play with the polyclay.
THIS ROCKS   Logged
cookieclaygirl
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2009 04:56:31 PM »

taking a class would be the best suggestion...and then the polymer (albeit it doesn't give the same effect)
THIS ROCKS   Logged

jbonato28
« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2009 12:20:27 AM »

here is another cheap way to get started that involves just a little research to get started type in the words "raku instructions" on Google. Raku is a Japanese pottery style that requires much less heat than kiln firing.

It must be noted that Raku Is Definitely no food safe... but a great start for art pieces.

On a side note : I picked up a small kiln for $60 on Craigslist that is 110 volts (standard household power). It fires to 2200 degrees.

I out fitted it with an electronic timer and thermostat. the whole thing cost around $100 to do. I am not only firing ceramics but also working glass and metal. So there are cheap ways to get started.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2009 12:26:36 AM by jbonato28 - Reason: Correction of safty information. » THIS ROCKS   Logged
tehbunnykins
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2009 07:25:34 PM »

here is another cheap way to get started that involves just a little research to get started type in the words "raku instructions" on Google. Raku is a Japanese pottery style that requires much less heat than kiln firing.

It must be noted that Raku Is Definitely no food safe... but a great start for art pieces.

On a side note : I picked up a small kiln for $60 on Craigslist that is 110 volts (standard household power). It fires to 2200 degrees.

I out fitted it with an electronic timer and thermostat. the whole thing cost around $100 to do. I am not only firing ceramics but also working glass and metal. So there are cheap ways to get started.


Ohhh....this is awesome information. I love working with my clay, but have absolutely nowhere to fire anymore (I was firing at the college when I attended, but have since graduated and don't have access anymore :\)   I have several projects I want to start, but haven't because of the firing issues. Didn't even think about looking on craigslist Smiley

THIS ROCKS   Logged

Capillus
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2009 06:51:48 PM »

One diy way to fire small ceramics pieces is with a pit fire.  In the studio where I work, we make a little oven out of kiln bricks, and pack the pieces in saw dust, seal off the top with an old kiln lid, and leave a small opening to start the fire with a newspaper wick.  The firing itself is pretty foolproof, but I wouldn't fire anything that's really precious to you- there's no telling whether or not it'll survive without a lot of practice and experience.  The resulting pieces are low fire and still porous, but they're still pretty to look at!
THIS ROCKS   Logged

I don't need no instructions to know how to rock!- Carl, ATHF
Decasas Ceramics
Offline Offline

Posts: 18
Joined: 03-May-2010

DeCasas Ceramics


View Profile
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2010 08:28:18 AM »

Look on craiglslist or on the board at a local ceramics studio for a used kiln. They are not always expensive and very easy to use!
THIS ROCKS   Logged
crafty01_87
Offline Offline

Posts: 265
Joined: 23-May-2010

I make awesome stuff.


View Profile
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2010 02:22:20 PM »

here is another cheap way to get started that involves just a little research to get started type in the words "raku instructions" on Google. Raku is a Japanese pottery style that requires much less heat than kiln firing.

It must be noted that Raku Is Definitely no food safe... but a great start for art pieces.


Another note about Raku (that I have experienced): You need a fuel line. It's not something that gets plugged into electricty. You should also be familiar with/trained how to build/set up the kiln before EVER trying to do this by yourself. Even then, the artist that I was with who rakus bisque fires in an electric (oxidation) kiln, then glaze fires in raku.
THIS ROCKS   Logged

"Creativity is not being afraid to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep." -Scott Adams
lauralake
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2013 03:55:29 PM »

Hi, thanks to Jbonato for the sage advice on raku and and buying a less expensive kiln on craigslist. Yes, its important to try clay prior to a commitment by using a class or a beginner's book, BUT.........here is the downside of endless classes, after several hundred dollars spent on classes, I wound up with 43 bisque fired pieces waiting to be glazed and fired and less than
7 completed pieces.
The class was structured with the lady showing many demos on her own projects and shrinking our class time so that we never got anything glazed. As for the glazes, they were in unmarked tubs with no MSDS sheets so I have no idea if my dinnerware is lead free unless I buy the testing swabs.

I have spoken to several people online who are in the same dilemma and I now refer to this group as clay class refugees! So at this point I am more than willing to try and buy a small kiln, lest I more than pay for it with class fees.
THIS ROCKS   Logged
pjr107
« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2013 08:35:32 PM »

here is another cheap way to get started that involves just a little research to get started type in the words "raku instructions" on Google. Raku is a Japanese pottery style that requires much less heat than kiln firing.

It must be noted that Raku Is Definitely no food safe... but a great start for art pieces.



Raku is usually bisque fired and when glazes are applied, they go to cone 05-06 which I believe is around 1200F. 
I know you can do pit firing or wood firing which doesn't involve a kiln and there are a few good books on alternative firing techniques. 

If you are struggling to get pieces glazed/fired within a class time,  find out if there is open studio time that you can go in for glazing pieces.  If your class ends and you have limited time to glaze/fire... sometimes talking to the place that hosts the classes will allow pieces to go in after the class for firing.  I know my instructor will allow former students to come in for a class to fire (esp since it is raku and you have to be right there for the firing). 
As for the glazes not being marked.... that's a huge problem!  If they are a larger "school" offering classes, you might want to bring this up to the instructor as well as working your way up the food chain (director, board) simply so that this issue can be addressed, even if its just a sheet that needs to be pointed out at the beginning of the classes.

Good luck!
-pj
THIS ROCKS   Logged
uspackaging
U.S. Packaging & Wrapping LLC.
Offline Offline

Posts: 8
Joined: 08-Aug-2013

View Profile WWW
« Reply #16 on: August 17, 2013 11:03:48 PM »

Does anyone know if local colleges or any other places will allow you to use a kiln?
THIS ROCKS   Logged

Packaging Materials and Supplies! http://www.uspackagingandwrapping.com
cackle
Swap Moderator
Paper Crafts, Scrapbooking, and ATCs Moderator

Tutorial Contributor

Friend of Craftster Friend of Craftster

Offline Offline

Posts: 3403
Joined: 21-Aug-2010

Whenever I close my eyes the lights go on.. Lummis


View Profile
« Reply #17 on: August 29, 2013 05:20:35 AM »

There might be some who do, but it's unlikely unless it's some kind of adult ed class. There's a lot of liability and a firing would have to be supervised by someone authorized to be there.
Certainly wouldn't hurt to inquire.
THIS ROCKS   Logged

steiconi
« Reply #18 on: March 24, 2015 11:18:17 AM »

When I was a kid, we used to go to the military base and do ceramics (dad was a retired marine). 

As an adult, I took ceramics classes at a community college for years, really enjoyed them.  Moved to a new state, and the community college charges as much as the university for classes (hundreds of dollars a unit).

Now I finally qualify for the senior center, even cheaper than the old CC.

So there are possible alternatives to buying your own kiln. 
Ask about classes/firing at ceramic supply shops. 
Check the class listings in alternative newspapers, and at adult ed centers. 
Check Craigslist activities.  Post on Craigslist asking for kiln time. 
Google your town and ceramics to see what's happening. 
If you have access to military base or something similar, see if they offer ceramics.
Suck up to a potter near you and maybe they'll fire your stuff.
THIS ROCKS   Logged

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep." - Scott Adams
Threads you might like:
Pages: 1 2 [All] Jump to page:
  Send this topic  |  Print  |  Bookmark  
 
Jump to:  



FacebookTwitterPinterest
only results with images
include swap threads
advanced search



Latest Blog Articles
August 24, 2016 Featured Projects
OOOOOHKLAHOMA! Where the wind...
Tute Tuesday: Hand-Bound Book

Comparison Shopping




Support Craftster
Become a
Friend of Craftster

Buy Craftster Swag
Buy Craft Supplies
Comparison Shopping

Craftster heartily thanks the following peeps...
Moderators

Follow Craftster...






Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
SimplePortal 2.3.5 © 2008-2012, SimplePortal
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!

Copyright ©2003-2016, Craftster.org an Internet Brands company.