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Firing Decals onto Jewelry and Ornaments

You will enjoy the bright colors that decals add to ceramic or silver clay pendants. Shown here are ornaments.


Firing Decals onto Jewelry and Ornaments

Recent Q&As: Lubricating the Kiln Sitter or Auto-Cone; opening a hot kiln to remove tool steel or copper enameling

A Kiln Story: Moon Rocks

Memorable Quote

News: The Improved E & Q Series Door Latch



By Sallie Bly

When several of my students saw how easy it was to fire decals in their kilns, they added decal items to the galleries and shops where they sell jewelry. I also make quick and easy pendants to sell at the smaller shows. I make a ceramic bisque piece, glaze it, fire it, and decal it. Then I attach a finding on the back and put it on an inexpensive chain or rope. For those of you who are looking for a new way to add color to your silver clay, decals can be the answer.

1) Applying the decal

Remove the cover sheet. Place the decal in warm water (not hot) until the water is absorbed into the paper layer. Then slide the decal slightly around on the glue and slip it onto the surface of your project with water. If the decal becomes separated from the paper, the pretty side is usually up and the darker side is down.

Make sure there are no bubbles between the decal and your project. If there is a bubble, the china paint in that spot will burn away. If this happens, you can touch it up with china paint.

When you are finished applying the decal, allow it to dry for at least 24 hours before firing it.

2) Firing the decal

Decals are fired at cone temperatures between cone 019 (1252F / 678C) and 015 (1456F / 791C). Cone 015 will produce bright, glossy colors, but 5 - 10% of some colors might fade. If you fire at 018 (1319F / 715C), you need to heat-soak it well. Cone 018 is a good cone for reds and gold. China painters use cone 019. You can paint a background in china paints before adding a decal. Paint the background first and then fire at 019. Then position your decal and refire at 017 (1360F / 738C).

These are just recommendations. Test your decals, glazes, china paints, and kiln to come up with what works for you. If the decal is fired at too high a temperature and the glaze is liquid, the decal will not sit on top. If the temperature is not hot enough, the decal will scratch off.

If you have placed the decal on a glazed ceramic cab, make sure to stilt it the same way you would stilt it in the glaze firing.

For more information, visit . If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at .

Note: Sallie has been a Senior (formerly known as Level II) for Art Clay Silver since the 1990’s.



Q. A quick question on the Kiln Sitter and Auto-Cone: Is it okay to use a silicone-based spray lube on the pivot point where the weight attaches to the front of the Auto-Cone?

A. Yes. It is okay to use a silicon spray on the pivot point.

Q. I heat treat knives and pull them out while the kiln is quite hot, say, 1900F, to cool the knives. I’ve heard that the kiln should be allowed to cool to room temperature. So, am I doing this wrong?

A. The kiln should be allowed to cool to room temperature before removing glass, pottery, or low-fire ceramics. Some materials such as copper enameling and high carbon tool steels, however, can be removed at high temperatures. The sudden change in temperature should not adversely affect the copper enameling or steel. The kiln's firebricks and elements can also withstand the rapid temperature change.



By David Kittrell of Kittrell/Riffkind Art Glass in Dallas, Texas

The power cord of a glass kiln stretched past the Kiln Sitter to the wall. When the Kiln Sitter weight tripped, it could not fall all the way, and the plunger never released. So, I'm walking into my space at the Olla Podrida into what should be a dark studio. Except there is this eerie, ominous impending doom-like yellow-white glow from the lower middle of the studio. My first thought was the movie was real and one of them landed in my studio. Then I saw the corona around the kiln.

I quickly pulled the toasty hot plug and noted the temperature at about 2050F. It wasn't until the next day that I fortified myself to lift the lid. My elements hung like decorative bead chains from the lid, and the shelf had a paper-thin layer of lightly colored glaze all over it. I wondered where all the glass went as I lifted the shelf up and there I found it, buried in two places in the bottom of the kiln. Fortunately, I had not "Chernobyled" the kiln (a term I invented later for when the glass melts all the way through the bottom). I dug what looked very much like "Moon rocks" out of the bottom and filled the voids with cement. Then, I gave the lid a new "do" with more pins and basically pretended that it never occurred. We are now much more vigilant.



“If all of us wanted things easy, no one would ever run a marathon, adopt a special-needs child, decide to master French cooking or, come to think of it, start a business.” –Marcia Yudkin



Paragon is now shipping the E-10A, E-14A, E-9AX, Q-11A, Xpress-E-10A, Xpress-E12A, Xpress-E12T, Xpress-E-14A, Xpress-E-9A and Xpress-Q-11 front-loading tabletop kilns with a new and improved door latch. We added a plastic knob that stays cool. The latch is held in place with a bracket, bolt, and nut. The new design eliminates the complaint that the door latch loosens.


The aroma of fresh pizza wafted through the office today. A customer named Gene sent us the warranty card for his new kiln along with a $20 bill. An accompanying note read, “Special thanks to my kiln builders, Erika Gaspar, Jose Rojas, Manuel Estrada and Rodrigo Corona! Pizza on the crew.” Today the crew and their supervisor enjoyed two large Pizza Hut pizzas in the company president’s office. Thank you, Gene!

New Paragon kilns come with a card that lists the names of the people who made that particular kiln. The idea came from the first Macintosh computer. Molded on the inside of the plastic case were the signatures of the original Macintosh design team.

Thank you,

With best wishes,

Arnold Howard Paragon Industries, L.P. – Better Designed Kilns 2011 South Town East Blvd., Mesquite, Texas 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 2013, by Paragon Industries, L.P.

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