You can use your self-cleaning oven as a kiln. Not as hot as a real kiln, so it probably would not work for serious potters, but great for firing clay beads and other small clay items. Run creations through 2 cleaning cycles, then paint with acrylic paints. Fun!
I've done it before (with clay beads and such), so it should work. Just place them on a cookie sheet in the oven around 400 degrees.
If you're doing something slightly larger (with a flat base especially) try waxpaper under the item.
I've never tried anything bigger than an apple though, so I don't know if that would work.
Also, clay projects (like you can buy at Michael's) often have instructions for baking in the oven. You could look into those directions for time and what not.
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