A few days ago my grandmother was putting away some plates and accidentally knocked over a glass. This caused an avalanche of glasses, plates, and other assorted items. Luckily no one was hurt but it did cause a lot of breakage. Most of the pieces broken were of little value (either monetary or sentimental) with the exception of an old bowl. It had belonged to "old grandma", who I think was my great, great grandmother. It seemed such a shame to throw it away but then I remembered reading about Kintsugi a few days previously.
Kintsugi is an old Japanese art of repairing broken pottery. It traditionally uses resin and gold dust to fix broken pottery. The finished works often look better than they did before they were broken. Unfortunately the materials used are not easily available outside of Japan. I found a few "new Kintsugi" kits but all were out of my (limited) price range. So I improvised and came up with the following:
Pottery Cement (pictured below is the stuff I used. It is clear when dry.)
Liquid Gold Leaf (available at most craft stores, beside the gold leaf)
Broken bowl, plate, etc
- Arrange the pieces first. You want to make sure everything fits together so treat this part like a giant jigsaw puzzle.
- Use the cement to glue the pieces together. You will have to wait for a while in between pieces. If you try to glue more than one or two at a time the entire thing will just fall apart (guess how I know that....). I took me about 2 days to get the entire bowl glued together. You have to be very precise or things will not line up.
- Once the cement is dry you may wish to go over the cracks and chips again with the cement. This will fill in any gaps and make painting easier.
- Once again, wait for everything to dry. Then with a fine paint brush, use the liquid gold leaf to paint the cracks and chips. Do both the top and bottom of the piece, letting it dry between coats. I only did one coat per side but you may wish to do more.
And that's it! Now just sit back and admire your work. (Please keep in mind the finished piece will not be food safe! It is meant as a display piece only.)
|The finished piece|
My grandmother was so pleased that I was able to repair the bowl. My father didn't think the bowl was worth saving but even he was impressed with the results. While I wouldn't recommend breaking antique pottery, this is a great way to save an old piece that does accidentally break.