The old school ways of 'waste not want not' run deeply through my veins. I used to ride around town with my Opa and Oma finding the best deals on TP & canning jars to stockpile in their basement in case of WWIII. Anyhow, when one of my fave coffee cups that a friend gave me for my birthday broke recently, I wanted to find a way to save it (now repaired in the photo above).
Inspired by the beautiful Japanese tradition of Kintsugi, which translates to golden joinery, I wanted to find a simple way to repair my broken ceramic faves. I experimented with a gold powder & a ceramic glue to see if I could get anywhere close to the awe-inspiring Kintsugi tradition. My quickie solution isn't as drop-dead elegant, but for a 5-minute fix, I'll take it!
I tried this with a ceramic friendly glue, Liquid Nails adhesive and a fine, brilliant gold powder made by Pearl Ex Pigments. I had used this powder before in my furniture making days, to tint stains for wooden furniture. They make a lot of different colored powders, so if you'd like to experiment with different colors of kintsugi-esque repairs, go for it!
What you'll need: glue, tinted powder, applicator stick (I used some to-go chopsticks that I had in my kitchen), something to mix the glue/powder on (scrap paper), and a paper towel for cleanup.
Wouldn't it be sad to throw these away? For this repair, I'm fixing: 1. My fave little bowl from Pearl River in NYC back in the day & 2. My studio-mate Kathleen of Smoke Perfume's ceramic incense holder, made by barebone ceramics for a special gift set.
Make sure that both sides of your broken object are clean before mixing. Check the setting and curing time for your glue. This version of liquid nails adhesive quick sets in 10 minutes and cures in 1 hour.
To start, scoop out the teeniest bit of tinted powder, you really don't need much. It's about 8 parts glue to 1 part powder. Scoop out a little at a time and mix it in until you get it as tinted as you'd like.
Pro tip: Don't pour the powder out like I did the first time, you'll get half a jar.
Mix your glue/powder relatively quickly and apply to both sides of the broken object. Apply just enough to coat the edge, too much will create a bulbous bead of gold glue once the sides are placed together.
Once both sides are coated, place together on the broken edge.
You may need to slide the pieces back and forth a bit to get them to seat properly into the break.
If your piece has multiple breaks, go piece by piece to rebuild your object one glue seam at a time.
The last step, let sit to fully dry. This glue's cure time says an hour, but I let it sit overnight to be on the extra cured side of things. *I wouldn't recommend using this glue as a food safe object any longer, but you can use your bowl or cup as a planter or catchall, etc. Check the glue package that you select for your project for details on whether or not you can use with food items again.
I have left the gold glue bead as is, as I thought that wiping it away might not work well with this glue as far as leaving gold smears on the side of the piece. If you try another glue/technique let me know, I'd love to hear how it works for you (maybe try it on a couple of scrap or test pieces first). I hope this is helpful & restores some of your favorites!
I love this about Kintsugi: "As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise."