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Repairing Broken Pottery

Whether you collect pottery or ceramics, make them for a hobby or make them to sell, believe me there will come a time when you will need to do some repairing on them.
You might think they are just dirt, which is half right, but once they are fired they are glass.

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And what happens when glass gets bumped or falls on the floor?
That's right, big crash and big mess!!!!!
Hopefully this page will help, if you ever have to repair a piece of pottery or ceramics.

Here is a list of what you will need:

white glue or epoxy
razor blade
paint brush for applying glue
shallow container
uncooked rice or beans
rubber gloves

With the glue that we have today, it's possible to make invisible repairs to damaged ceramic and pottery items.
If the damaged piece is very valuable or of sentimental value, have the repair done by a professional restorer to ensure the best possible results.

Choose Your Glue.

Two kinds of glues are generally used to mend ceramics and pottery: Polyvinyl acetate, also known as white glue and dries clear or a slow setting two part epoxy.
In order to choose the correct glue for a repair you must first identify the type of pottery or ceramic you have.
Use white glue for repairing pottery and ceramics and use epoxy for ironstone, porcelain, and glass.
Because an exact fit is necessary in repairing ceramics and pottery, you must fit the pieces together exactly before the glue sets.
Five minute epoxies and instant glues dry too fast and are not recommended for this type of repair.
You also want a glue that is water soluble when wet so the excess can be cleaned off of the piece, but dries clear and water resistant.

Prepare The Surface.

The most important step in repairing broken pottery, ceramics or glass items is to make sure both of the broken surfaces are clean.
If the item has been fixed before, undo the old repair or the new glue may not bond.
Before handling the pieces, put on rubber gloves to protect your hands from sharp edges.

Clean the pieces with a mixture of mild dishwashing liquid and warm water, gently loosen dirt with a plastic scrubbing pad or old tooth brush.
Rinse the pieces and let them dry completely.

If there are still stains, fill a gallon plastic basin with warm water and add one cup of bleach.
Carefully submerge the pottery pieces in the liquid.
Cover the basin with plastic wrap to contain the fumes and let it sit undisturbed for two to three days.
Remove the pottery pieces, rinse them under running water and let them dry overnight.

Applying The Glue To Broken Pottery

Use a disposable brush to apply white glue to only one of the broken edges.
Use only enough adhesive to cover the edge.
Too little will leave gaps, resulting in a weak repair; too much will make it difficult to get a tight joint.
Quickly join the pieces together while applying light pressure.
Avoid shifting the pieces because small chips may come loose, ruining the repair.
Any glue that oozes from the joint can be removed later with a damp sponge.

Set The Repair on the Pottery Piece

Make a positioning box by filling a shallow container three quarters full of uncooked rice or beans.
Place the repaired item in the box so that the item stays balanced.
Let the glue dry for at least one hour.
Gently scrape off excess glue with the razor blade.
Use cotton swabs dipped in hot water to remove remaining glue, use lacquer thinner to remove epoxy.
Return the item to the positioning box until the glue is completely dry, to be on the safe side, leave at least 24 hours.

Filling In Small Chips

To repair chips that are 1/8 inch or less in depth, mix a small amount of slow setting clear epoxy.
Blend in oil base hobby enamels to create a shade that matches the item, then stir a small amount of the paint into the epoxy with a toothpick.
Use only enough paint to tint the glue.
Too much paint will thin the epoxy.
Dab the epoxy on the chip and then smooth it until it’s flush with the surrounding area. Let the repair dry for 48 hours.
Repeat this as necessary to fill the chip.

Touching Up Decoration Breaks on Pottery and Ceramics

To touch up a faded or worn design, you’ll need some hobby fast drying oil based enamel paints and a small, good quality artist’s brush.
For cleanup or to thin the paints, use mineral spirits or paint thinner.
On the bottom surface of an inverted paper cup, mix small amounts of different colored paints until you come as close as possible to the color of the original decoration.
If during the mixing, the paint becomes too thick, use an eyedropper or toothpick to add tiny amounts of mineral spirits to the paint until it reaches the desired consistency.
Brush on the paint so that it blends in with the design.
If you’re not happy with the result, you can wipe it off with a rag dipped in mineral spirits and begin again.
Before adding any more colors, let the paint dry overnight; otherwise you may smudge the first color.
Once the design is touched up, set the item aside for a week to dry completely before using it.

For Your Safety

Wear sturdy rubber gloves when handling broken pieces of pottery, ceramics, ironstone, porcelain or glass, the sharp edges can cause serious cuts.

When using glue, lacquer thinner, paint thinner, enamel paints or any other compound that contains toxic chemicals, work outside or in a well ventilated area.
Do not use any of these products near an open flame or when firing a kiln.
Avoid contact with skin and eyes, but should this happen, wash the area well with soap and water and consult a physician.

Don't interfere with somethin' that ain't botherin' you none.

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Have you ever come up with a good idea while working with your handmade pottery and thought that you would like to share it with others? You have? Well, why not send it to us and we will add it to the tips page for all to see.

Handmade pottery can be a very gratifying hobby that produces fun and satisfying results. For many people it's an enjoyable release that is created by working an inanimate mound of clay into a beautiful work of art that you made through your artistic abilities.

The best way of starting out is to take a few lessons from Youtube. You will probably waste quite a bit in materials when you first get started. Figuring out how to truly make handmade pottery correctly and shape into what you want it to be can be quite an ordeal. The different tools that a normal shop will have can be fun to try. You will soon see which ones you like to use the most and then when you are ready you will know which ones to buy.

With the help of the internet, you can now purchase most if not all of your ceramic and pottery tools and supplies online. We are located far from any well supplied dealers and yet working with reliable ceramic and pottery suppliers online has allowed us to recieve most of our orders within a timely manner.

When you get all set up, just enjoy the hobby and have fun at it. Some people get pretty serious and start selling their creations at craft fairs and small stores, but others just like to create items for themselves, relatives, and friends. Whichever kind of handmade pottery you desire to endeavor, enjoy the hobby and have fun doing it.

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