View Full Version : How to Bake Clay (Terra Cotta); I need help.

12-31-2008, 06:46 PM
Hi Everyone,

I'm new to working with clay and I created a couple animal figures with my young son. Since I do not have access to a kiln was wondering if anyone can provide me with the instructions for Baking the terra cotta clay at home. Thanks for your help!

01-01-2009, 12:22 AM
Hi & welcome to WC!
I'm afraid Terra cotta clay can not be "baked" hot enough in your home oven. It needs a temp of about 1800 degrees Fahrenheit to become durable and hard.
You can dry it out at home, but without firing in a kiln it will remain brittle and fragile.
There are air drying clays that do not require any further hardening or firing, but they remain non waterproof & easily broken.

01-02-2009, 12:22 AM
Thanks Diane for your quick response! I'm going to have to find a studio that can fire them up for me. I'm wondering how much time can pass by before it's too late to fire the animal figures? Lastly, what might be the simpliest way of glazing the figures at home? Thanks.


01-02-2009, 01:42 PM
Well if you keep them safe from breakage, they can be held indefinitely before they are fired. There is no expiration date.
If you find a studio to fire your pieces, they can probably help you with glazing them too.
Or if you find someone to fire them, you can use acrylic paint on them instead of glazing them, which doesn't require a second firing. Also there are "paints" made by pebeo & others that require baking in a home oven, but they are permanent. http://www.pebeo.com/us/index.htm

01-18-2009, 08:35 AM
Hi i m totally new in this field.....wish to start work due to personal interest. Is there any need to bake polymer clay?

01-18-2009, 08:39 AM
Hi i m totally new in this field.....wish to start work due to personal interest. I want to know about the different types of material used for clay modeling, what paints we can use? What are the steps involved in it? Please give some tips if i have to make a face out of clay....Thank you!!

01-20-2009, 04:25 PM
If you cannot find a place to fire the terra cotta pieces, you can make your own kiln out of a metal trash can. Since terra cotta is a low fire clay, often the right temps can be achieved. Just get a metal trash can....put a small amount of either saw dust or cedar pet bedding wood shavings in the bottom....place the terra cotta pieces in...cover with more saw dust or wood shavings and fill to the top. Place a couple of pieces of BBQ charcoal briquets on top and light it on fire. Once the saw dust gets started burning, put the lid on....oh yea...drill several holes around the sides of the trash can and in the lid. It will burn for about 12 to 15 hours. Once cooled, they should be OK. Let me know of any questions...I'd be glad to help. The kids and I use this method lots during the winter especially!!!

12-23-2012, 06:39 AM
Hello TerryWal,

I'm from India. Can you please post the pictures of Trash Can used and the final product (after baking). Can we use red brick instead of trash can? Thank you.