How to Repair Pottery

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How to Repair Pottery

Most people need to know how to repair a favourite piece of pottery in case of the unthinkable. In the blink of an eye, someone can knock over a favourite bowl or mug that has sat on the shelf for years resulting in broken pieces. Whilst there is no way to repair broken pottery perfectly, there are adhesives on the market that can make a good, strong repair, allowing the piece to have a useful life. Finding and using the correct adhesive for pottery repair, either online at a site like eBay, or at a traditional store is easier once the consumer understands the products available and the process for repairing pottery.

Tools and Materials Needed

Owners need a variety of tools to repair pottery, including two part epoxy adhesive, wooden toothpicks or a metal pin,modelling clay, beans or rice, gloves, safety goggles, and tweezers. Typically, ceramic restoration material is not food safe or heat proof, so owners should not use repaired pottery in food service or heat it above 87 degrees C.

How to Repair Pottery

Different types of ceramics, porcelain, and pottery need different adhesives. Before repairing, it is critical to first identify the type of pottery that is in need of repair. Owners should choose an adhesive that is correct for the pottery's material. Read the manufacturer's instructions on the adhesive carefully before beginning to be sure the adhesive is the correct type and properly mixed.

Epoxy adhesives are difficult to remove from surfaces once applied, so chose a flat surface like a table or counter to work on and cover it with newspaper or plastic. In addition, wear old clothing or an apron, and use safety goggles to prevent eye damage from small pieces of the pottery or epoxy. Also, put on gloves to prevent cuts.

Step 1: Dry Run

Because an exact fit is essential in repairing pottery, owners need to adjust the the pieces of pottery precisely before the glue sets. Doing a dry run first and fitting the pieces together helps to ensure a proper fit and repair. To avoid errors when replacing several pieces, be sure to number the pieces in the attachment sequence to avoid errors.

Step 2: Prepare the Surface

The most important step in repairing a broken pottery item is to make sure the pieces are clean. Clean the pieces with a mixture of mild dishwashing liquid and warm water. Rinse the pieces and let them dry completely. If necessary, scrub the pieces with a pad to remove old glue. To remove stains use a heavy duty stain remover or acetone.

Step 3: Apply the Adhesive

Mix the epoxy according to the manufacturer's directions. Use a wooden stick or a pin and apply glue to only one of the broken edges. Use only enough adhesive to cover the edge. Too little can leave gaps, resulting in a weak repair, and too much can make it difficult to achieve a tight joint.

Next, join the pieces together quickly while applying light pressure, squeezing extra glue out. Use modelling clay to hold the pieces together. If clay is not available, fill a container with rice or beans and set the piece in it to hold the repaired piece in place while it dries. After applying the epoxy, avoid shifting the pieces and handle them gently to avoid damage to the repair.

If the pottery is broken into more than two pieces, laying them out in order is a good way to be sure to attach them in the proper sequence. Allow each joint to cure according to the epoxy manufacturer's instructions before repairing the next one.

Step 4: Painting and Colour Touch Ups

If the glued seam shows, owners may need to touch up the colour. Match the colour as closely as possible with acrylic paint and apply it with a fine, small artist's brush. Use care to paint only on the repair and feather the paint as needed.


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