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2006 Past President
Posts: 225
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Kids Project - Newspaper FireIf we look at all the low cost, easy firing options we have explored in the Research Projects, we would have to find Newspaper Fire is easiest.  Here is the step by step for this simple kids' project.

How to make mold form spirals:
Center a handfull of smooth clay (like b-mix) on a wheel.  create an indent while making a nice spiral.  About half an inch deep works well.  The bottom and walls should be fairly thick - over half an inch thick.  Make sure there are no undercuts that would catch clay and prevent removal from the form.  Allow the form to dry completely.  Do not fire.  Make 3-5 molds for a large class.  (Or make more and let your students take over from here.) 

Press any type of clay into the form.  Press firmly to ensure a good spiral design.  Turn the mold upside down to let the clay drop out.  If the clay will not drop out immediately, wait a minute and it will come out.  (Which is why it is handy to have multiple forms to work with.)

When leather hard, the pieces can be quickly trimmed woth a pin tool to remove sharp edges and a hole punched with a straw.  (Straws clog quickly.  Use scissors to cut off the clogged ends.) A quick rub with a wet sponge will remove any creases and flaws.

When bone dry, coat with Terra Sig (find the recipe at and then bisque fire normally.

Kids Project - Newspaper FireHow to newspaper fire:
Twist newspaper into a rope shape and then wrap around burnished or terra sig'd bisqueware.  Do not cover the piece completely.  You want some areas of pottery showing.

Place the piece (or a whole bunch of pieces) in a metal garbage can or a saggar (anything that can stand a little fire.)

Light the paper on fire and let it burn.

Remove with tongs after 1-3 minutes.

If you dont like the color - repeat.

Once complete, a quick protective coat (clear gloss spray paint is easiest) will protect the finish.  Then string. 

A couple of secret weapons:

Metalic silver Sharpie will not fade even at 1500 degrees.  Let kids write their names on the work so that multiple pieces can be fired together.

A small amount of Red Iron Oxide in water in a spray bottle adds a pink red tinge when sprayed on hot work to cool it.  The extra color is a hit with young kids.  A finishing spray is required if this technique is used.

Dawn Atkin
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