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A Mini Guide To Kiln Shelf Paper

Why use kiln shelf paper?

When fusing glass, one of the most important parts of the process is to protect the kiln shelf so the glass does not fuse to the kiln shelf. After spending a lot of time creating your mold, your piece and firing, the last thing that you want to discover is that your piece has stuck to the kiln shelf.

Many people commonly use kiln wash or shelf primer, but as a relatively inexpensive alternative you can also use shelf paper. Shelf paper is a heat-resistant light weight ceramic-based paper that enables your glass to not stick to your kiln. It acts very much like grease proof paper in baking and will ensure that your completed project is not damaged and can be removed from your kiln with ease.


There are several reasons why kiln paper is a useful alternative to other more traditional methods of creating a non-stick layer on your kiln shelf. These include:

Reducing Prep Time - Primer needs to be mixed together or stirred before using and it needs to be applied using an applicator brush. The primer then needs to be left to dry and may require more than one coat. Kiln paper allows you to simply cut the paper to the shelf size, place it on the shelf, insert it into the kiln and start firing!

Achieves Great Separation - Primer can miss parts of your kiln if it is not applied liberally or accurately. With kiln paper you know exactly what is protected and a single layer of paper will prevent glass from sticking to the shelf at full fusing temperatures.

Reduces Breakage - As mentioned previously, shelf primer can be applied unevenly which could lead to glass sticking to unevenly coated areas during firing. Because the glass is in a fragile state, it can pull apart and break. Shelf paper ensures an even coat between the glass and kiln, meaning that no areas are uncovered.

Reduces Air Bubbles - The beauty of kiln paper is that it is porous which allows air to circulate around your piece. This reduces the likelihood of air bubbles from forming between the glass and kiln shelf.

Convenience - Kiln washes and primers are cheaper than kiln papers. However, kiln papers are very easy to use, simply cutting them to shape and placing them into the kiln, whilst using kiln washes means having to strip clean the kiln and kiln wash reapplied every time a kiln shelf is used. This can be a messy and time-consuming process, particularly if you are producing pieces en masse to use for a glass fusing business.

Potential Reuse - Is kiln paper reusable? In general, kiln papers can only be used once, but some paper manufacturers suggest that a few firings can be achieved as long as the product is carefully handled after each firing.


Be careful when using kiln shelf paper

There are some potential health hazards with kiln papers. As with any ceramic fibre based products, kiln papers need to be handled sensibly and cautiously. You should avoid breathing residual dust when cleaning post-fired kiln paper from your shelves, by wearing a mask, and any residue should be disposed of appropriately.


How do you use kiln paper?

Firstly, the paper is cut to size so that it fits the kiln neatly, leaving no gaps. The paper is then placed between the glass and the shelf before the kiln is started.

The first job is to burn the binders off the paper. This is important as the kiln paper can sometimes leave a milky white film on glasses. In order to achieve this, the kiln should be vented and the temperature brought up to about 1000f/538c. The paper will darken as the heat increases and the binders burn away.

Once the binders have been burnt away, the paper will become white again and glass fusing can proceed. Place the glass carefully on the paper to ensure that it sits on the paper and not on the shelf.

As previously mentioned, once the process has finished and you have removed your piece, you should wear a mask or respirator to avoid breathing in any dust from the paper when removing it.


There are many advantages to using kiln paper in your glass fusing project. Not only is it convenient but it also helps to save time, particularly if you are glass fusing on a commercial scale. There is also the factor that it could potentially reduce your wastage as you will not have many incidents of glass sticking to the kiln.

As with any glass fusing project, the kiln is the vital piece of equipment. If you are looking to find a kiln that is suited to using kiln paper, then we have a range of electric kilns perfect for any glass fusing project. Please contact us if you need any more information.


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