Before you begin any project you must go through the preparing stages.

The first time you fire the kiln it must be made ready for this and any future firings.

This action only needs to be done once, as the kiln wash will last for a few years.

Other items that must go through a preparation stage would be the kiln shelf and any molds that you might be wanting to use.

These items need to have kiln wash applied more often than the kiln.

When you see that the wash is beginning to flake or wear off then scrap off the old wash and start with a new coating.

Preparing Kiln

Preparing your kiln for its first firing takes a little time. The floor and sides need protection.

This protection is to prevent glass from sticking to this surface if it should come in contact with it during any firing.

First vacuum the kiln, to remove loose dirt or dust from the floor.

Be sure you don't bump the thermocouple or mess up the fire wall bricks.

The fire wall bricks are soft and they make up the floor, sides and top of your kiln.

Now that your kiln is clean, you will need to apply kiln wash to the floor.

If any pieces of glass should happen to fall on the floor of your kiln, you don't want it to become stuck and damage the fire bricks.

You can make your own homemade kiln wash.

Be sure to read and follow the manufacturer's directions in mixing and applying the wash.

When mixing kiln wash, be sure to wear a mask, because the dry powder can be harmful if inhaled.

Mix in a glass jar with an air tight lid.

You won't be using it all, and it can be shaken up and used later.

This mixture can be poured into a bowl for easier application, being sure to shake or mix before pouring.

It should be watery in consistency.

Use a haik brush, wide paint brush, or foam paint brush if surface is cool to the touch.

The haik brush is soft and leaves a smoother finish.

Go in one direction only.

Then apply another layer in a 90 degree angle from the previous application.

You need to apply about five to six coats in this manner.

Plug in your kiln and heat it to approximately 500 degrees.

This will evaporate the water in the kiln wash.

Be sure that you vent the kiln lid with a kiln post or fire brick. Shut the kiln off and unplug.

It will cool off and the kiln wash will be a powdery substance.

Check to see that you have a covered smooth layer.

You can use an old pair of pantyhose to smooth the layer. Having trouble with your kiln wash not sticking?

Check here for some helpful hints.

You could use a sprayer, but there is a chance of spraying kiln wash on the kiln elements.

To eliminate this problem use a haik brush.

preparing to fuse glass

Preparing Kiln Shelf

Preparing your kiln shelf is easy.

You can protect your shelf with kiln wash, fiber paper, thin shelf paper, or lava cloth.

You only need to use one type of protection.

Apply kiln wash to your kiln shelf, just as you did for the inside of the kiln.

Be sure not to open your lid to wide, or you might crack the shelf.

Fiber paper can be cut with scissors to the size and shape of the shelf.

You need to pre-fire this fiber to approximately 1200 degrees.

This pre-firing will burn the binder out of the fabric.

Be sure to vent your kiln during the process.

It will give off a sweet smell and even some smoke.

The smoke is not harmful, but can be a little distasteful.

Once pre-fired, it is now ready and can be used in your fusing projects.

Allow the paper to cool before removing.

It can be used over and over again, unless ripped or soiled.

Thin shelf paper is a one time single firing paper.

It is designed to protect your shelf for a single firing only.

It can easily be cut with scissors to fit the size of your shelf.

There is no pre-firing of this paper.

When you are through firing, this paper will be nothing but ash on your shelf.

Use caution when removing it, and wear your dust mask.

Lava cloth is great for adding a unique texture to your glass.

It does not stick to glass, kiln shelves, kiln brick, or fiber board.

It will also last through many firings, but can be very expensive.

Preparing Molds

You will need to apply kiln wash to your mold before using.

Apply just as you did for the kiln and kiln shelf.

Check the holes in the mold.

They should be open for air to escape during slumping.

If these air holes have been filled with wash, just poke the wash out of the hole with a wire or any other sharp object.

A little tip: molds can be heated in your home oven for drying.

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