I love sharing my knowledge and experience of in-home improvement and DIY projects with others.
What Is Kintsugi?
If you have a broken glass vase that you want repairing, one of the best ways to go about it in a typical DIY (do it yourself) approach is through the process of kintsugi—also sometimes referred to as Japanese broken pottery art.
It creates a beautiful overall look because you are essentially fixing and sealing a crack in the glass vase with gold. What we love about it is that it combines creating a unique piece with fixing something that would otherwise end up in the bing (most likely).
Better still, it makes for a really great talking point for when friends and family come around. They'll ask what it is exactly and you can take great pride in letting them know that it's something that you have fixed up yourself—then of course you can talk about the wabi sabi philosophy of kintsugi too (we will go into this in more detail later in this article).
How to Repair With Kintsgui
Here's what we are going to get into in this article:
- The supplies and materials you'll need for this project
- A step-by-step guide on using kintsugi to seal and fix up your broken glass vase
- More about the wabi sabi philosophy behind kintsugi
What You'll Need
First, we need the following:
- An epoxy glue
- A regular brush
- Gold powder (you can get these in a range of other colours as well; it’s just that gold is traditional kintsugi)
- Protective gloves
- A little pot
- Stirring stick
You will, of course, need the broken glass vase as well—as that’s the bit we are going to try and repair with the following instructions. It will certainly end up looking better than its current broken state.
Other Options: Try a Kintsugi Repair Kit or Buy in Bulk
Alternatively, you can just pick up a kintsugi kit that provides a whole range of the items that you need rather than getting everything individually. It’s probably best to weigh your options in terms of price.
Generally speaking, if you plan on doing a fair bit of kintsugi and want to take it up as a hobby, it’s worth buying in bulk to get all the necessary items needed. However, if it is more of a one-off thing then, of course, a DIY kintsugi repair kit will do just the job.
5-Step Kintsugi Glass Vase Repair Instructions
Follow the 5 steps below on how you can start to carry out your very own kintsugi glass repair and seal up the cracks.
Step 1: Prepare Your Supplies & Materials
Of course, the first task you have to carry out is getting yourself prepared. Make sure you have a good workspace to work from—where everything is nicely and neatly organised in front of you so you have everything on hand.
Make sure that you are wearing the appropriate protective wear, and it should go without saying but: When fixing glass you are going to need to be careful doing so! In front of you should have all the necessary equipment as well as the broken glass vase.
Step 2: Plan How You'll Piece the Glass Vase Back Together
Now, before you get into anything of the sealing and fixing of the glass vase, start to try and visually piece it back together. This is basically just giving you a quick map ahead of what you need to do next.
The idea is basically that you won’t start fixing the wrong piece of glass to the wrong segment and then make a bit of a mess of the overall mend. Of course, you don’t need to go right to the end, but I always encourage you to know what you are doing perhaps 3 or 4 steps ahead.
When you have got a clear vision of where you are planning to go with the overall repair, then it is time to move on to the next step.
Step 3: Mix Up the Glue
Unless you have some special epoxy glue with gold powder already mixed together, this is the time to start doing just that:
- Get a pot and start to pour in the glue.
- Next, pour in some of the gold powder.
- Then, mix and blend it together with the stirring stick.
Once you are happy that you have produced an overall nice gold lacquer that is evenly mixed up, you can go ahead to the next task—and that’s actually starting to fix and repair the glass vase itself.
Step 4: Apply the Gold Glue
Now, with the brush, you want to start to apply the gold glue along the side of one of the broken pieces of glass that you plan on attaching together. Don’t rush, but you need to do this with haste as the glue starts to dry.
Brush the glue all the way along the broken glass edge. Once you have applied a decent amount onto the glass, attach it and firmly hold it in place. Usually, it will take around a few minutes for it to completely dry.
At this stage, you will often have the option to create a neat or rustic look to the overall attachment:
- Neat Look: To keep a neat look, wipe away any of the excess glue that is sticking over the edge of the vase.
- Edgy or Rustic Look: If you prefer the more edgy look, just leave it to dry.
Step 5: Simply Repeat Step 4
Now it’s time for the next piece. Simply repeat the step you carried out in Step 4. Build from the support and base, and work upwards.
Eventually, once you have repeated this step enough, before you know it you will have a completely repaired glass vase that you have repaired kintsugi-style. Once you have finished, don’t be ashamed to stand back and admire your work, and don’t go ‘accidentally’ breaking other objects such as mugs and dishes around the house just give you an excuse to give some more kintsugi a try.
Kintsugi and the Philosophy of Wabi Sabi
Kintsugi takes on the philosophy of wabi sabi, which is basically to find perfection in imperfection, or make something that was once broken into something even more beautiful than it was before.
There is a metaphor there that can be applied to life. No matter how bad something can get or how ‘broken’ a situation is, it can be mended—and as a result, you come out more beautiful and bolder than ever. So, there is a beautiful meaning behind kintsugi, and this vase goes beyond the original ‘aesthetics’ of the vase itself.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Bradley Morrison
Danny from India on September 21, 2020:
This is an awesome technique Bradley. Good for joining pottery, cups , porcelain items.