I wasn't sure the best sizes or shapes to create, so I just thought about what is the trickiest to fire and I found that the smaller pieces that students make are often more difficult for the students to glaze without getting glaze on the bottom. These are the pieces that would really benefit from being fired with stilts.
To make the stilts, I basically rolled out slabs and cut the base shapes that I wanted and then inserted the pins. I used the bottom of a cup to lightly press on top of the pins in order to have the pins all pressed down in the clay to a level height with one another.
I created stilts in squares, triangles, circles, and long, narrow rectangles. After the stilts had all dried to bone dry, I put the stilts in with a bisque fire at cone 06.
Now, when I need stilts, I have plenty! When I use the stilts for glaze firing, I brush kiln wash on them, being sure to coat the metal pins. They really work well. If I had more time, I could buy the wire and cut them myself, but right now, I just don't have that kind of time! The stilts are working well and I would recommend you giving this method a try if you need more stilts for your classroom.