How to Build a Hotplate Kiln

Written by b. ellen von oostenburg
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A homemade hotplate kiln works great for burning out the wax from moulds when making cast jewellery. They are inexpensive to build and can reach temperatures as high as 704 degrees C. Good ventilation is crucial when burning out wax which makes the portability of a hotplate kiln perfect. You can use it out in the backyard on the picnic table or set it up in your garage with the door wide open. A hotplate kiln can easily be assembled in under an hour.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Ceramic and coil electric hotplate
  • Ruler
  • Marker
  • 6- or 8-inch red clay flower pot
  • Aluminium foil, extra thick
  • Metal clothes hanger
  • Wire cutters
  • Pliers

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  1. 1

    Measure the diameter of the ceramic stove plate of the hotplate. This type of hotplate burner has an exposed wire coil that sits below the top edge of the ceramic stove plate. The exposed wire is essential for reaching a high enough temperature to burn out the wax from the mould. Most of these ceramic burners are 6 or 8 inches in diameter.

  2. 2

    Wrap a 6- or 8-inch diameter red clay flower pot with extra thick aluminium foil. Wrap just the outside of the clay pot, not the inside. You can crimp foil just over the edge of the clay flower pot leaving 1 inch or less on the inside.

  3. 3

    Cut the hook off of a clothes hanger just below where the hanger is twisted together. To make a handle for the foil wrapped flower pot straighten the bent hanger then bend it in half and then in half again.

  4. 4

    Measure in 3 inches from one end of the hanger and bend it out at a 90-degree angle. Repeat on the other end.

  5. 5

    Measure 1-inch from one end and bend it down and back towards the centre. Repeat on the opposite end.

  6. 6

    Measure 1 inch from one end and bend the wire straight down at a 90-degree angle. Repeat on the other end. Stick the two ends through the foil covering the hole in the bottom of the clay flower pot and then through the hole in the clay pot. Reach inside the pot and bend the wires back against the inside edge of the hole. This keeps the wire handle from pulling out of the flower pot. On the outside of the pot spread the two sets of vertical wires apart so pressure keeps the handle sitting in an upright position.

  7. 7

    Set the foil wrapped clay pot lip down over the ceramic hotplate burner. The kiln is ready to be fired.

Tips and warnings

  • Keep a oven glove close by and wear it to lift the clay pot off from the heated stove plate.
  • Some pots will crack from the intense heat of the hotplate. The aluminium foil acts as an armature to keep the clay pot from falling to pieces should it crack during the firing.
  • Don't wrap the inside of the clay flower pot with the foil as it will end up melting during the firing.

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