Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

[Enamel Bits] Kiln Shelves

Hi, With the high volume of enamel tiles I am turning out I find it is
time saving to enamel both sides of a tile at the same time. No
pickle, no scalex! I do have a problem though. I get a small dusting
of enamel that falls onto the kiln floor whenever I do the double
sided firing. About once every two weeks I have to rotate out my kiln
shelf and put in a fresh one while I clean the old one off and put a
fresh coat of kiln wash on it. My supplier of pre-mixed kiln wash
closed and I ordered some powdered to replace it. This new stuff
tends to flake off the new shelves while drying. It is supposed to be
high fire. Is there some trick I don’t know about? I have mixed it in
different thicknesses to try to aleviate this and no improvement! Any
advice would be helpful as I am not that expert in the ceramics area.
While I am at it if anyone knows a good supplier of 14" square kiln
shelves I could use a couple of new ones.

Karen in Northern Illinois

Thompsen Enamel carries a kiln blanket that may be cut to fit the
floor of your kiln. It is relatively inexpensive and easy to replace.
Phone: 859-291-3800 Alana Clearlake


Have you considered using fiber board for kiln shelves? You can use
the board for repeated firings and when they get to looking bad you
just replace it with a new board. Also, you can cut the boards to
whatever size/shape you want. Kaiser-Lee suggests this usage on
their web site at You can also
use a regular kiln shelf with thin fiber paper. Some papers are for
one time use, but you’d save a lot of time cleaning off your shelves
and prep time painting on primer.

At Corning Glass, they sift powdered kiln wash onto the shelves
instead of mixing and painting wash. When the firing is complete
they scoop the powder out of the kiln and use it again. (Sifting
will keep impurities from the next firing.) This technique does
leave a texture on the back side of your product, but that might not
be an issue, depending on what your doing. Also, use a mask if you
try this.

Some sources you might want to contact for a regular kiln shelf aRe: Your kiln
manufacturer will more than likely have a web site as well and be
able to give you exactly what you are looking for.

There are a few “brands” of shelf paper and boards I have seen. Here
are a couple types:

FIBERFRAX PAPER & BOARDS are *" thick non-asbestos ceramic fibers,
woven loosely together to form boards that withstand the high
temperatures of fusing and the corrosive effects of molten glass. Use
as a lining to protect the expensive firebrick in your kiln. Also can
be used as a heat proof pad to put on your workbench to set your
Rapid Fire Kiln or slumping molds on. When first fired, Fiberfrax
will turn brown, as the sugar based binder burns off. (Provide

FIBER PAPER can be used in place of shelf primer. Does not stick to
your project, and gives a slightly textured surface to the back of
your work. 1/8" paper is good for many firings, the 1/32" paper for
a few.

BULLSEYE THINFIRE SHELF PAPER is a heat-resistant light weight
ceramic impregnated paper. ThinFire shelf paper provides excellent
separation between kiln shelf and glass in kiln firing applications
up to 1600�F. Compared to kiln washes, ThinFire reduces shelf
preparation time and improves surface release qualities. Benefits
(when compared to more conventional ceramic fiber materials):
glossier finish on the shelf side of your finished project, less
binder burnout odor, & lighter weight for easier handling and

Good luck!