Introduction: How to Fix a Broken Garden Buddha

My cat loves rambling in the garden and it was inevitable that she knocked over our buddha. She was still a kitten and very rambunctious when the accident happened a year ago. The poor buddhas head broke off but this can easily be fixed with a minimum of fuss. It'll take two days as you need to wait for the cement mix to cure properly.

Step 1: Gathering Your Material

You will need:

1. Cement 'ready mix' quick drying powder of which you will need about 1 kg/2.2 pounds.

2. A large carriage bolt or a piece of old plumbing pipe. Even a PVC electrical conduit pipe will work. It should not be shorter than 20cm/7.8 inches though to be able to give enough support.The one that I used was a bit short but it did the trick. Scrounge through your garage and I'm sure you will find something appropriate.

3. A jug with some water for mixing the cement with.

4. A small container to be used as a mixing bowl.

5. A plastering trowel or small garden spade.

6. Some sand and a few small stones found in your garden to fill the inner cavity of the Buddha.

7. A bucket for the sand and stones to be used as filling.

8. Some old newspaper to be used as a 'bib', an old rag or packet to cover the figure and an old cloth to wipe off any excess cement spillage.

9. Rubber gloves

Time to complete the project:

Around 2 hours but spread over two days as you have to wait for the cement to set.

Step 2: Filling the Buddha

Patiently fill the inner cavity of the Buddha's head and body with sand and stones and compact nice and tight with your finger. Do the same at the base of the figure.

Step 3: Preparing Your Cement Mix

Slowly add water while mixing the cement powder until the consistency is smooth and flows like cream.

Use about three-quarter of the cement mix for step 4 and 5. Tomorrow you will use the remaining quarter to fix the head onto the body.

Step 4: Filling the Head

Having already filled most of the head cavity with sand and stone as per Step 2, close the hole with the cement mix.

Wait a few minutes until the cement has set enough and then stick in the carriage bolt half way into the hole. Let this set for at least 24 hours. In the meantime go to Step 5.

Notice that the face was also broken but I managed to glue it back together. That's not for this 'ible' but it was like putting together a 3-D puzzle.

Step 5: Closing the Body Cavity From Below

Most garden buddhas, gnomes and other hollow garden sculptures will have an opening in the base. Close the base with the cement mix and compact with your fingers. Remember the statue is now already full of sand and stones and is quite heavy so be careful when picking it up. Cover with a cloth or packet and let it cure for 24 hours.

Don't forget to wash the mixing container under running water once you've finished. You will be making another batch of cement mix the next day.

I'm wearing rubber gloves as the chemicals in the cement are not conducive to human skin but if you work without gloves and you wash your hands immediately after, you shouldn't have any problems unless you've got sensitive skin.

Step 6: Closing the Top

The next day the bottom opening will have set. Carefully turn the figure the right way around and place it on a level surface.

Cover the buddha with a few sheets of old newspaper and cut a hole in the top where the opening is.

Prepare a new batch of cement mix. Carefully pour the mix into the opening, wait for it to harden a little and level the cement flush with the rim of the neck.

You now have to work fast. Carefully remove the newspaper with the excess cement, then quickly move on to the next step.

Step 7: Attaching the Head Back Onto the Body

This is quick-drying cement which hardens within 15 minutes so you have to be vigilant.

After about five minutes check the consistency of the cement and if it is hard enough, place the head carefully onto the body. The bolt will stick into the body of the buddha and act as anchor holding the two parts together.

Check visually if the head is sitting properly and snugly on the body. You can still move it a fraction but you have to do this quickly before the cement sets.

Once you're happy, wipe away any excess cement spillage around the neck with a wet cloth and cover the buddha with a cloth or packet. Let it set and cure for 24 hours.

There will be a little shrinkage once the cement has dried out but this will not be of concern.

Step 8: Place Back Into the Garden

Be careful as the buddha is now heavier and the last thing you want to do is drop it after all that repairing. It almost happened to me...

Step 9: ...a Year Later

A year later and the cat has found a new respect for the buddha, who is now on firm footing. The buddha is also slowly acquiring a layer of moss covering his 'scars'.

Thank you for checking out my first ible.