How to Glaze Pottery Without a Kiln

forming pottery on wheel

In this article you will learn actionable steps on how to glaze your pottery without a kiln.

Most ceramics projects I and my students complete require a glaze and I have found that many artists would like to work on their pieces at home. Sometimes it’s just not possible to make it to the studio and few artists have a kiln in their home. So learning how to glaze pottery without a kiln is a skill that is well worth learning.

Glazing Pottery Without A Kiln

Glaze is required for many types of clay. Glaze also creates a waterproof seal and adds durability to your pieces. So any piece that is functional will need to be glazed.

When not using a kiln to glaze your clay you must pay close attention to the type of glaze you use. There are dozens of options available so be certain the glaze you use is produced for your needs. Read the label before glazing without a kiln

Always use a decorative glaze when not using a kiln. The majority of these glazes are not food safe and should only be used on decorative ceramics. If you want a food safe no kiln glaze you will need to use one with flux. These glazes still require heat but required temperatures can be achieved without a kiln.

Another kiln glaze alternative is acrylic paint. Paints can be used to decorate your ceramics but again, these pieces will not be food safe. Read my recommendations for the best acrylic paint.

couple in ceramics studio

How To Make Roadside Glaze

If you have access to a pit firing location you can also do a roadside glaze on your pottery. Check out how to fire pottery without a kiln including how to pit fire.

Making your own traditional homemade glaze is a very rewarding experience and it creates stunning ceramic projects. A homemade glaze is also perfect for firing in a bisque or smoke firing. It won’t release toxic plastic fumes either!

Once your pit or bisque is setup find local rock formations for clay deposits. Natural clay works best with a roadside glaze so I highly recommend finding your own natural clay. Roadside glaze applied to natural clay provides deep and warm colors.

Once you find local rocks you will need to crush them. I use a large sledgehammer. Then you will place your broken rock pieces into a mill or grinder and create fine pieces of rock. Now mix these tiny particles with water until well blended.

Then simply apply this glaze to your pieces and fire them in the pit. And now you will have beautifully unique pieces.


Glazing your pottery without a kiln takes some effort but not only is it possible to do at home it is also very rewarding. I find the entire process of locating my rocks to crushing them to be meditative in it’s calming qualities. I also love the one of kind colors I get. So go make your own glaze and practice firing your clay without a kiln.

For more ceramics guides and tips read these articles