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How to Build an Outdoor Kiln

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How to Build an Outdoor Kiln

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Handcrafted pottery can be fired at home without spending a massive amount of money on an electric kiln. Kilns can be created outdoors with little or no money, and these kilns work well for most types of firing. An open field or a large grassy area are the most important materials for an outdoor kiln. These types of kilns also are perfect for Scouting activities.

Open Pit Firing

Step 1

Dig a bowl-shaped pit that measures 2 to 3 feet wide and is anywhere from 3 to 5 feet long. Make sure that the pit is at least 16 inches deep, but no more than 30 inches deep.

Step 2

Use the dirt that has been removed from the hole to make an edge around the pit. This will give the pit additional height.

Step 3

Place kindling into the bottom of the pit and allow the kindling to line the sides. Select materials like sticks, leaves, sawdust and newspaper.

Step 4

Pack the greenware, or unfired pottery, into the pit close together. Place the kindling both around the pottery and inside the pottery. Make sure to cover all the exposed areas of the greenware with the kindling.

Step 5

Ignite the kindling and allow the fire to burn slowly. Restoke the flame periodically as it buns down. The firing process will take several hours. Allow the fire to burn out completely, and the pottery should be cool before removing it from the pit.

Outdoor Brick Kiln

Step 1

Place 20 bricks flat onto the ground in a rectangular pattern. Make sure that there are no buildings close to the bricks. Stack the bricks around the flat rectangular section of the kiln and on top of each other. Form a rectangle that is about eight layers deep.

Step 2

Leave a one-quarter-inch gap between the bricks on all four sides of the kiln at the bottom. This will allow the air to flow freely through the kiln. For the third layer from the top, stack two bricks on each side of the kiln so that the long side of the brick points outward. This will allow the bricks to be moved if more airflow is needed inside the kiln.

Step 3

Place 4 inches of sawdust into the bottom of the kiln and add the greenware. Make sure that the heaviest pieces of greenware are placed on the bottom, and that the sawdust is placed inside and around the greenware.

Step 4

Make sure that at least 2 inches of sawdust is between each layer of greenware. Cover the last layer of greenware with sawdust 2 inches from the top of the kiln.

Step 5

Place the metal lid on top of the kiln during the firing process.

Things You'll Need

  • 100 bricks
  • Sawdust
  • Shovel
  • Measuring tape
  • Metal lid
  • Kindling
  • Matches


  • Fairfax County Schools; Outdoor Kiln Firing
  • Mother Earth News; Made from Scrap Outdoor Kiln
Keywords: how to build an outdoor kiln, how to make a pit kiln, how to make a brick kiln

About this Author

Susan Elliott is a published poet, artist, and photographer. She has been writing professionally for 10 years, Her works have appeared in Visions and Poesia, as well as on Associated Content, and Mom's Red Kitchen. She has a degree in general studies from Northwest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Article provided by eHow Home & Garden | How to Build an Outdoor Kiln

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