Wabi-sabi is the name for the Japanese cultural practice of embracing the beauty of imperfections. One way to practice wabi-sabi is through kintsugi, which is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery and ceramics with a precious metal adhesive.
Kintsugi emphasizes imperfection and asymmetry instead of hiding it. The term translates to mean “golden repair.” While traditional kintsugi uses gold powder to repair cracks, those practicing modern kintsugi often use silver, platinum or copper instead.
Kintsugi is a fun DIY project that most people can do well. Keep reading to learn how easy it is to repair your own broken pottery with kintsugi methods.
Kintsugi is a great way to repair your broken dishes and reduce waste. Through kintsugi, you can also create a one-of-a-kind piece of art to display on a shelf, or give broken ones a new, extended life. To perform a kintsugi repair at home, you will need:
- your broken piece of pottery
- old newspapers or a drop cloth
- two-part epoxy (like this)
- metallic powder – if you can afford real gold powder, that’s great! If not, there are great mica powders available that mimic precious metal powders very well.
- a mixing stick (a wood coffee stirrer works well)
- a fine-point paint brush
Here’s how to do kintsugi repair at home in four steps:
- Protect your working surface; newspaper is a good material for this purpose.
- In a disposable container, mix a small amount of metallic powder with your epoxy.
- Work quickly but carefully to glue your broken pottery back together using the epoxy-mica mixture. A wooden coffee stirrer is the perfect tool for mixing and applying your epoxy. Glue one edge at a time, and don’t touch the epoxy until it is completely dry. The epoxy packaging should tell you how long this will take.
Pro Tip: fill a container with rice. Nestle the largest piece of broken pottery in the rice and start gluing the pieces back together. Let the rice do the holding for you!
- After you’ve re-attached all the broken pieces, fill in any remaining chips and gaps by carefully applying epoxy mixture with a small paintbrush. Don’t worry about getting the lines perfect – the imperfection of the seams is the point of kintsugi.
Precious antiques may not be good candidates for DIY kintsugi repair. A talented ceramics restorer can do amazing work with precious pieces of broken china.