Restoring a Broken Vase With Kintsugi

Introduction: Restoring a Broken Vase With Kintsugi

This little stinker(seen in the next picture) broke my vase, and instead of throwing it away, I decided to restore it using kintsugi.

Step 1: What Is Kintsugi?

Kintsugi is a pottery restoration technique and a form of Japanese art. When the piece of pottery is put back together, the damage is not masked, but highlighted by filling the cracks with gold. The philosophy behind this technique is to embrace flaws and imperfections, and to accept change.

I really appreciate the message behind this art form, especially in times of big changes we are experiencing right now. So I decided to make a kintsugi vase!

It is important to note that I didn't follow the technique exactly, but rather was inspired by it.

Step 2: Tools and Supplies I Used



  • Knife to cut off excess glue
  • Hammer and sand paper to get rid of extra pieces of the vase

I bought both orange and blue EL wires, but chose to go with the orange because it resembles gold more

The EL wire needs a special AC converter, which is included in the starter pack.

Step 3: What I Wish I Knew Before I Started

  • The vase shards are super sharp. Wear gloves. I cut my finger pretty bad
  • I tried using the silicone sealant for aquariums depicted above. Don't waste your time and money. Hot glue holds water and has similar adhesive properties. The silicone takes hours to dry and needs a ventilated area.
  • You can cut off extra EL wire with a pair of scissors. It is super easy, and you can just stick the end in the glue and it will be sealed. I wish I knew that before I started because that makes it so much easier.

Step 4: Bring the Pieces Together and Plan Where to Start Putting the Wire

I thought it would be cool to run the EL wires through all of the cracks because that would make the cracks the source of light and highlight them better. (although I ended running it through most but not all cracks).

I started with the biggest piece, and with the end of the wire (the one that doesn't connect to the power supply). The exact location is in the picture above. That was a bad choice.Start with the part that connects to the power supply because if you have any wire left over you can just cut it off with scissors.

To hold the wire in place, I taped it with office tape (it is easy to rip off after the glue solidifies) and then glued the pieces together. If you use silicone, it seems to even soften the tape a little bit.

Step 5: Repeat Until Pieces Start Not to Fit In

You can see how I taped the wire in the pictures above. Just keep taping it and glueing pieces back into the vase.

As you put the pieces of the vase back together, you will run into a situation where some pieces will be too big because EL wires take up extra space. If you run into this situation, you can try a couple things:

  • Break it into a smaller piece with a hammer, and make up for the extra void with glue (that can get ugly though, you can see it in picture the third picture above)
  • Sand off just enough of the piece to be able to fit back in. I tried that, and I do not have the patience

Step 6: Cut Off Excess Glue

After all the pieces are back together, either cut off the end of the EL wire or jam it into the vase. And to polish the look, cut off all of the excess glue with a knife

Step 7: Done!

The vase should be good now. You can check if it holds water, and if it needs some more glue. But the look should be ready. Just plug it in to the battery pack and it turn it on!

Step 8: Flaws and Potential Improvements

  • The AC converter makes an awful high pitch noise all the time. Make a case or something to make it sound-proof
  • Hot glue is better than silicone, but it is still hard to cut off or sand. Try a different material. Epoxy resin or plastic cement could work nicely.
  • Orange EL wire looks cool but the blue EL wire seems to be brighter
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    2 years ago

    This is so cool!!

    Penolopy Bulnick
    Penolopy Bulnick

    2 years ago

    That's an interesting idea incorporating the lighting :)


    2 years ago

    I like the concept and I like your discussion approach .