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Kiln Pointers

Firing Ceramic and Glass Decals

With a tile holder, you can fire decals on up to five tiles in even a small kiln.

You can fire ceramic or glass decals in any kiln that can reach 1450 degrees F / 787 degrees C. Decals are a good project for beginners, because you can achieve success with your first firing.

You can fire decals onto glazed ceramic cups, tiles, light switches, photo frames, and much more. See your local ceramic supplier for blank ceramic ware and the decals to fire onto them.

Don’t worry if you ruin the first few decals. Applying them takes practice. Before starting, clean the ceramic or glass piece with water.

1) Cut out the decal and soak in lukewarm water until you can slide the image from the paper backing onto the ware. Slide the image off the backing rather than attempting to lift the image off.

2) Position the decal on the ceramic or glass piece. The side of the decal that was up on the paper is the same side that goes up on the ceramic or glass.

3) Use a damp sponge or rubber squeegee to squeeze out air bubbles and water from the decal. For flat surfaces, use a rubber squeegee; for curved surfaces, use a damp sponge.

4) Dry the ceramic or glass piece overnight before firing.

5) Fire a glazed ceramic blank on a stilt placed on top of a fireclay shelf. Glazed pieces must not touch each other. Fire glass directly on a fireclay shelf. The shelf must be coated with kiln wash or glass separator.

6) Fire in a well ventilated area. Keep the top vent plug out during the first hour or until the smoke and odor disappear.

7) Fire at a rate of 500 degrees F / 275 degrees C to the recommended temperature for the decal you purchased. Most decals fire to cone 015 - 018. Use the Orton cone chart to convert the cone number to a temperature.

8) After the kiln shuts off, leave the door closed until the kiln cools down to room temperature.


Last week’s Kiln Pointer was coating the firebrick kiln lid with Liquid Kiln Coating. Here is a related question that came in last week:

Q. I have applied kiln wash to my shelves. Should I kiln wash the underside of the lid? Also, on some of my shelves the wash is flaking off.

A. Please do not kiln wash the lid. The coating I was referring to in the Kiln Pointer is a special cement that hardens the firebrick surface. Kiln wash, on the other hand, is a fine powder that does not fuse at high temperatures. It protects the shelves from glaze drippings. Kiln wash should never be applied to the lid or walls of the kiln. It is especially important to keep the kiln wash away from elements.

If the kiln wash is flaking from the shelves, you can reapply more wash on the bare spots.


I trust that you are having an enjoyable summer. Making projects in your kiln is a memorable way to spend time with your children during summer vacation. My 18-year-old son, Patrick, made small ceramic pieces when he was around seven. We cherish those hand-made pieces, as I’m sure his own children will one day—and perhaps even his grandchildren.

With best wishes,

Arnold Howard Paragon Industries, L.P. – Better Designed Kilns 2011 South Town East Blvd. Mesquite, TX 75149-1122 Voice: 972-288-7557 & 800-876-4328 / Fax: 972-222-0646 /

PRIVACY NOTICE: Under no circumstance do we share or sell your email address.

Copyright 2006, by Paragon Industries, L.P.

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