Introduction: Faux Kintsugi Ceramic Plates Repair
I first began hoarding these ceramic plates from a restaurant I worked at. They had handmade pottery specifically for events and every time they broke a plate they had to be thrown away. Of course before they could, my hoarding brain would light up and say, "No no, I'll take them home and re-purpose them into mosaics." Which of course I didn't. Then when I realized I wasn't using them, I still collected more thinking well I can just donate them to an art school for them to use. Which I didn't. Then my supervisor mentioned the idea of repairing broken ceramic with the Kintsugi Method. Repairing the ceramic or pottery with gold to give the item a new life. It's the idea of not throwing something away because it's broken, but rather the idea of repairing the item, highlighting the crack to show the beauty of it's life and it's history. It was something that really resonated with me when she explained the idea behind it. Embracing our flaws and sharing them with the world. As someone in recovery I've been on the side working to remove the stigmas not from Mental health and Addiction in order to allow people to lead lives were they can be open about who they are and what issues they're working through without being judged.
It represents everything I believe in when it comes to the human race. We can't keep this mentality of locking people up and throwing them away in prisons and jails without working to understand and help rehabilitate them. We are all criminals in this world. Some of us get caught some of us don't. We can't stigmatize people based on crimes they've committed and leave them suffering. We are only as strong as our weakest links and being unwilling to show compassion makes us, on the outside, the weakest link. We need to work for a change where compassion is used to heal all these wounds. To help build people back and help them grow as individuals.
"Not only is there no attempt to hide the damage, but the repair is literally illuminated... a kind of physical expression of the spirit of mushin....Mushin is often literally translated as "no mind," but carries connotations of fully existing within the moment, of non-attachment, of equanimity amid changing conditions. ...The vicissitudes of existence over time, to which all humans are susceptible, could not be clearer than in the breaks, the knocks, and the shattering to which ceramic ware too is subject. This poignancy or aesthetic of existence has been known in Japan as mono no aware, a compassionate sensitivity, or perhaps identification with, [things] outside oneself."
— Christy Bartlett, Flickwerk: The Aesthetics of Mended Japanese Ceramics
That began my journey into turning these broken ceramic plates into Kintsugi repaired dishes that could be used again. This project had many ups and downs. The materials required for the actual Japanese method consist of urushi (Japanese Lacquer) dusted with gold powder which turned out to be a little more than I could afford. I looked into a few other ideas and found people used basic heavy duty glues that could be used to repair basic pottery, but rendered the pottery unable to be eaten off of or used in a dishwasher. (Also there may have been a safe glue but I got tired of researching...I'm can be pretty lazy when I get home from work...
I came across epoxys of all sorts until I found this wonderful thing called Art Resin. It was strong, sturdy and FDA approved to be even used on charcuterie boards.
My first two attempts went extremely terribly wrong. It was a huge mess, resulting in gold resin dripping everywhere, on everything, coating my hands in it and just leaving me feeling miserable. I had never used resin before and didn't realize how runny it was. Whenever I would use the weight of the plate to hold pressure on the crack, all the glue would run out and drip down the sides. It definitely held the pieces together well, but you could no longer see the gold crack.
The second time I tried it, I decided to give it 45 minutes to let the resin thicken up to make it more of a thick putty feel where I could spread it on the crack with a q-tip and it worked a little bit better, but still too much of the resin had pushed out not leaving the desired gold crack.
After a few discussions with my dad (Who by far surpasses my brain when it comes to engineering tools and ideas to create things) we came up with a fairly good idea to get the look we wanted.
I hope this instructables makes sense and if you have any tips for a better and more successful way of doing it please share!
Broken Ceramic Plates
Painters Tape/Packaging Tape
Jacquard Pearl Ex Brilliant Gold Powder
Piece of scrap paper
24 hours to dry and cure
Step 1: Piecing the Plates
1. Clean the plates and let the cracks fully dry before piecing together. (I believe the raw edge of the ceramic will hold/absorb water)
2. I leave a small space in between the plates to ensure the resin will fill in the empty space making for an aesthetically pleasing line. You can use a toothpick to gauge a reasonable amount of room and go wider from there.
3. Once I've got the desired look I take a piece of painters tape and place it across the middle, then two more pieces towards the end to give the plate some stability while securing the whole plate with tape.
*Note if you use Painters tape you will be left with a cloudy line. If you you Packaging take you will have a shinier gold line, but you will be left with a sticky residue you have to remove later. Both work to keep the resin from pouring out.
4. I take the tape in small sections and run it right over the top of the crack on the top side of the plate. After each piece I apply, I rub my finger nail along it to further secure the tape to the plate so as not to leave any bubbles and to really make sure its attached. I then run another strip of tape on each side of that first piece making it 3 strips thick for good measure. Helping to prevent leakage.
Step 2: Mixing the Resin
The next steps are creating the "Faux gold lacquer" (Gold resin)
When mixing resin always follow the directions on the package. For this art resin you mix one ounce of resin with an equal part hardener. When using resin they tell you to mix the resin quickly and very thoroughly to make sure the resin hardens and cures evenly, and also to use the resin as soon as you can because once that 45 minutes hits it no longer has a flowing consistency.
1.Set up your funnel. For this I used a scrap piece of paper rolled to create a funnel and taped along the side. This will be used to add the gold powder to the resin.
2. I was lucky enough to have a sample pack of art resin which means I didn't have to measure anything out of the bottles (A lucky relief)
For this package I just had to remove the pink tube allowing for both parts of the bag to mix together. All you have to do is squish the bag back and forth which is kind of fun, and was actually my favourite part. (You can see how clear the bag is before mixing and you can even feel the reaction as it heats up during the mixing along with the bubbles that appear.
When I do mix it by hand, I use a disposable dixie cup and a coffee stirrer to mix the resin in, as well as disposable mixing cups to measure it out.
Step 3: The Magic Ingredient
1. This next part gets a little tricky, so move slowly and carefully. Here I had to squeeze all the resin towards the bottom of the bag and then cut barely 1/4 across the top. Insert the funnel and pour some powder into the bag. (I have no measurement on the powder right now, I just add until I get a nice gold)
2. I then taped the bag shut and went back to mixing and squishing.
You can see the gold finally mixed in at the end!
I really love the look!
Step 4: Filling the Crack...painstaking Work...
I will not lie to you. This part was way more work then it needed to be. (It took me longer then it should have to realize why it wasn't working.
Here you will turn all your plates and bowls upside down. They should be secured pretty well with the tape so there is no need to worry about them moving.
1. Squeeze all the resin away from the bottom uncut edge of the resin bag and cut a tiny slit in the bottom corner. Keep it small enough so not too much resin pours at. If it's too big it can over flow to quickly before the plate gets a chance to fill.
*Tip is to use this like a piping bag
2. Cut a slit into the tape in the middle of the dish at the highest point of the plate. Here is where you will pipe the resin into in hopes it will drip and follow along the crack down into the ends of the plate...
*Make sure to poke two holes, both on the backside, but each on opposite ends of the plates furthest from the middle. This will leave you with 2 holes and one slit, one hole on the right end, one slit in the middle and one hole on the left end. These holes will allow for the air trapped in the tape crack to move out, and allow the resin to move along the crack to fill the plate.
I forgot this part and sat there squeezing resin into a plate for almost 20 minutes puzzled as to why it wouldn't fill. Oh the things we learn in life. (I had to actually put myself in my dads head to try and figure out why it wasn't working and then it came to me.)
3. Once you see the resin starting to pour out the far two end holes you can grab a piece of tape and place it over both those holes and squeeze a little more resin in to fill in the rest.
4. Once you've filled it in you can leave the dishes to sit for about 24 hours to set and cure. (It might be 24 to dry and 48 to cure.
Tips-I did tilt the plates back and forth to help get the resin into each end...this was something I did during the first 20 minutes before poking the holes in the side. Poking the holes before filling may make these tip unneeded.
Do everything on top of a towel so you can wipe off excess drips from the plates
PLEASE WEAR GLOVES!- This stuff is dangerous and it doesn't wash off your skin. It coats it and is uncomfortable.
DO NOT INHALE-This is a heavy chemical reaction so be careful and use in a well ventilated space.
Also, do not drink. I can't imagine it would be good for your insides.
NEW NOTES FOR NEXT TIME-Next time I won't have this luxury "Piping bag" and will have to mix the resin in a cup. My idea is to use a disposable syringe or disposable plastic bag.
Step 5: FINALLY!
After two years of different methods and ways of doing this I finally got the result I've been looking for!
My heat dropped when I peeled off all the tape and saw a result that made me smile.
It was a gold crack visible to the eye, no drips, no uneven edges. Just something beautiful, wonderful and amazing!
They can be used to eat off of and are safe to hand wash!
No microwave! Please do not put resin or plastics in the microwave!
I am so happy and am excited to make so many more! Oh how I love them!
Tip-You can take a fine sand paper and run it along the top and bottom of the plate to even out any edges where the plate became uneven.
Tip-You can use any color powder for your resin! Get crazy and colourful!
Thank you all for viewing this instructable and I hope it inspires you to create and also to understand others! We are all flawed in the most beautiful ways imaginable and that's what should bring us closer together.
“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.
― Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms
Participated in the
Epoxy Speed Challenge
2 years ago
Great results! : )