Kintsugi is a centuries-old method of repairing broken pottery from Japan. But it isn’t just about mending what’s broken. It’s also a form of art because it highlights the break rather than hides it. Literally translated, the term Kintsugi means “golden repair”. You see, with Kintsugi, the broken pottery pieces are fused back together with golden seams. The seams are made of a special lacquer that has been dusted with powdered gold, silver or platinum. Interested to try this art form myself, I’ve put together a step-by-step tutorial on how you can DIY Kintsugi with your broken ceramics.
Before we get started, its important you remember and honor the tradition of Kintsugi. With this art form, you aren’t focused on one particular outcome or a perfect piece. Kintsugi honors the history of the piece and highlights the character of the breakage. So put aside all your expectations and let the piece reimagine itself as you work on it. You’ll probably find that it turns out to be more beautiful than you thought!
DIY Kintsugi: How to Repair Broken Pottery
Here’s What You’ll Need:
Broken pot, bowl, or dish (if you’re trying this for the first time, grab something from a local thrift store!)
E600 Clear Adhesive (make sure not to get white)
Liquid Gold Leaf
Small Paint Brush
Small Plastic Cup or Bowl
Make sure you are in a well ventilated area when using the E600 and Liquid Gold Leaf.
Lay out your broken pottery on a work table or scrap piece of paper. Make sure you know how each piece fits together as you will have to work quickly once you start painting and gluing.
Mix your Liquid Gold Leaf and E600 in a small bowl or cup.
You’ll want to stir your liquid gold leaf first in its container to make sure it hasn’t separated. Pour a little bit into a small cup and then add a big dab of the E600. You’ll need to stir it together for about a minute to get the two to mix. The mixture should be slightly thick and should be stringy when you lift your paint brush from out of the mixture. Continue to add the E600 adhesive until you have the right consistency.
Paint and Adhere
Select your two biggest pieces and paint the edges of each piece. If you want large seams that look thick from the outside, you will want to use lots of paint as it will run over the edges onto the front and inside of your piece. If you prefer, a clean thin gold line for your seam, use less paint on your brush and be careful not to let it run over the edges. When you press the pieces together, the paint/glue mixture will ooze out a little.
Press and hold your pieces together quickly after painting the edges. Hold for about a minute. If the pieces don’t stick together after a minute, then you don’t have enough glue in your mixture. Try adding some more E600 and repainting the edges.
Continue to paint and adhere pieces together until you have the pottery completely assembled. Be gentle with pressing the pieces together too hard as some of the pieces may shift or come loose as you work. The E600 needs 24 hours to get good adhesion. So you have to have the right amount of pressure as you add each piece – just enough to get it to stick, but not enough to push other pieces out!
Allow for your piece to dry for 24-48 hours.
Then, enjoy your DIY Kintsugi piece!
Read more about Kintsugi: The Art of Brokenness >
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