Introduction: Kintsugi Pot Base Repair

About: I make things

When the base of this pot broke, I thought it might be a perfect opportunity to test out a cheaper version of the ancient Japanese technique of Kintsugi. The original way to do it would be to use lacquer mixed with gold, silver, or platinum dust. Today, in the interest of ease and saving money, I'm using a 2 part clear epoxy and metallic pigment.

Step 1: Materials

  • Broken ceramic
  • A broken object that's less precious to practice
  • A mixing surface
  • Mixing sticks
  • 2 part clear epoxy that works with ceramic. It's probably a good idea not to use this on something you want to eat out of
  • Metallic dust of your choosing. I'm using a gold powdered pigment
  • Acetone for cleanup
  • Paper towels
  • Gloves
  • Respirator
  • An open or well-aired space

Step 2: Test Piece and Prep

I tested this out first on a broken glass to get a feel for the materials and to try cleaning the excess with acetone

What I found was that just a little bit of the powder was necessary and that I didn't need to spread the mixture all the way to the edges of the piece. Then, I held it in place for a minute or so and cleaned up the edges with acetone on a paper towel.

Now that we're feeling prepared, it's time to start on the real thing!

Step 3: The Fix

Take your broken pottery and piece it together. Then, form a game plan. Figure out which pieces to glue first in order to simplify the process as much as possible. Next, mix a small amount two-part epoxy with the gold pigment, and quickly spread a good amount onto the piece. Press the matching piece onto the other, and hold it until it no longer needs your support. If you prefer a cleaner, more delicate look, use the acetone and rub away the overflow. It's easiest to wipe away the spillage while the epoxy is still fresh, but if you wait too long, then chisel as much of it away, and then go in with the acetone. I've heard that rubbing alcohol works well for the cleanup too.

If there are any gaps, or places that you'd like to fill in more, go over the top of the surface with more fresh epoxy and immediately wipe it away. If there's a missing piece, build up the epoxy on the spot. It may help to use a piece of tape as a back support to hold up the glue.

Let it set and fully dry as long as your glue requires, and then you're done!

Step 4: Admire