Photo by Mosaic artist Sophia Othman of her puppy in her studio Mosaic art San Francisco Bay Area
Art Studio’s Chief Morale Officer – Jasmine the puppy doing a superb “Down” on a kiln shelf

How do you prevent your ceramic wires from sticking to your kiln shelves? you use kiln wash – here’s how to make it yourself

Today I’m repairing, reshaping (with a tile wet saw), and reapplying kiln wash to my ceramic kiln shelves. Pleasant outdoor work on a bright winter day in service to my mosaic art studio. A lot of ongoing maintenance to keep my tools happy and show them love.

Basic Salt Kiln Wash Recipe
50% Alumina
50% Kaolin

To prepare your own kiln wash measure out a ratio of 1 to 1 of each ingredient and add water. Mix the kiln wash dry mixture with water thoroughly to the consistency of whole milk. To prepare your kiln shelf ,sand or grind your shelf as needed to remove flaky old kiln wash and wipe with a moist sponge to remove any loose flakes and dust. Then use a brush to apply a thin layer or two of kiln wash either in bare spots or covering the whole shelf.

These ingredients are very very cheap compared to buying premade Kiln wash and you can get them from any Ceramic supply store. My favorites in the bay area are Clay People in Richmond and Clay Planet in Sunnyvale. If you don’t want to do your own measuring you can buy dry pre-mixed kiln wash powder which is also much cheaper than buying prepared wet containers of kiln wash from the suppliers.

San Francisco bay area mosaic artist Sophia Hoffman prepares her own kiln wash for making handmade ceramic tiles for mosaic garden art bench
Raw Materials to make your own kiln wash

Even if you’re not interested in being frugal there’s a deeply enjoyable aspect to Diy in the art studio and it’s fun to know how to go from raw dry mineral ingredients to a product that matches a commercial kiln wash.

I laid down this kiln shelf separately so I would remember to add kiln wash to it. My puppy, Jasmine, is now eight months old. She can’t wait to grow up like all children saying that they their age is “5 1/2 “ years old – they are eager eager to go forward into life. Here if she is sitting on my kiln shelf saying to me, “ Mom I’m only half baked! “

Photo by Mosaic artist Sophia Othman of Handmade ceramic tile for mosaic art bench fired in ceramic kiln  in her studio Mosaic art San Francisco Bay Area
Handmade ceramic tiles On shelf protected by Kiln wash which is appearing as a bright white powdery surface on which the tile sit these tiles are for an art Mosaic bench with the most recent offerings from the Kiln

More DIY Kiln Wash :

If you want to get Uber geeky about kiln wash, here is a superb article in Ceramic Arts Monthly by John Britt that dives deeply into the topic and offers many recipe variations for specific applications.