In order to seal in the dangerous fibers of the ceramic blanket and to add a hard wearing surface, I coated the blanket with a homemade rigidizer. It is made with roughly equal parts in volume of furnace cement and aluminum oxide:
I then add just enough sodium silicate to give it a smooth paste like consistency:
To apply it, I simply used a dollar store paint brush. Apply a thin coat and let it dry a couple hours between coats. Four coats seems to make a good rigid surface.
To cure it, a small fire will need to be built. It is important to slowly bring the temperature up to prevent bubbles from forming. When it is cured, it forms a hard wearing, durable surface.