Kintsugi DIY: The Japanese Art of Repair

DIY

Kintsugi DIY

I guess you could say I like to collect a few things. I have a collection of vintage ice cream scoops. I have a few vintage salt and pepper shakes. And recently, I’ve been slowly buying beautiful ceramics.

Well, a few of them have broken. The bowl you see pictured was broken by Amelia who excitedly ran into it when someone knocked on the door. (It was on the floor because I was unpacking from a shoot.) The spoons were broken because I didn’t realize the bag was on the bed and when I threw off the covers because I was exhausted, well, they went flying.

Kintsugi DIY

I always have something that needs repair. I always promise myself that I’m going to glue things back together and I often times do but this time I wanted to try something different.

Enter: Kintsugi. It’s the Japanese art of repair. Think of it like a beautiful rendition of gluing things back together. The philosophy behind kintsugi is about seeing the breakage and repair as part of the object’s history—embracing it rather than hiding it.

I feel like there could be some sort of analogy drawn out of this DIY and applied to life and I’m especially hormational today so I’ll stop while I’m ahead!

Kintsugi DIY

Traditionally kintsugi involved mixing a lacquer (gold, silver, copper) with a binding rice flour. It sounds simple, but nailing does that ratio is incredibly difficult. For some, repairs can take up to two months!

We ain’t got that type of time on A Cozy Kitchen, so I made some shortcuts. Here’s what you’ll need:

1. Gold Liquid Gilding
2. E600
3. Thin paint brushes
4. Your broken ceramics

Kintsugi DIY

I found it easiest to do the painting process first. I gently went around the edges of the two broken pieces and then pushed them together.

Doing this made it so the paint pushed out a bit, creating a thin line. I allowed both pieces to dry completely, about 10 minutes.

Kintsugi DIY

Next, I dabbed a bit of E600 (feel free to use your paint brush if you like) and pushed the pieces together once more. I found that a little went a long way AND that if I used too much, it would make the gilding all clumpy (you can notice one of the scoopers has some lumps, well, it’s from too much glue!)

I held the pieces with the glue together for about a minute and then allowed the object to dry, untouched, for about 2 hours.

Kintsugi DIY

Kintsugi DIY

That’s it! It couldn’t be simpler. Obviously, the technique varies slightly depending on the pieces you’re putting back together.

Remember that the gold line doesn’t have to be perfect. At first I was bummed because a bit of the gold liquid gilding sort of ran out and the line wasn’t absolutely perfect, but that’s the point.

And I sort of think that the bowl looks prettier with the gold cracks; it has character now, it’s been through it.

Kintsugi DIY

Kintsugi DIY

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34 Comments

  • Reply lucinda July 15, 2015 at 7:18 am

    beautiful philosophy, kintsugi.

  • Reply Ashley Nathalie July 15, 2015 at 7:40 am

    I love this idea! I’m so clumsy and will definitely take advantage of this in the future.

  • Reply Megan July 15, 2015 at 10:50 am

    Love this! Kintsugi is the name of the new Death Cab for Cutie album, and now I know what it means. 🙂 I break stuff quite a bit, so I will definitely have to try this.

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme July 15, 2015 at 10:58 am

      YES! I found this out and then learned that the album is supposedly about his break-up with Zooey Deschanel. It all made sense! Haha.

      • Reply Megan July 15, 2015 at 1:24 pm

        WHAT. I did not know that! But it definitely makes sense. I just went to their show last week too, it’s magical every time. 🙂

      • Reply Light minder August 30, 2017 at 7:07 pm

        Anyone who breaks up with a Hicksite Quaker like Zooey is going to head straight to wabi sabi aesthetics to mend his broken heart, it’s a thing.

  • Reply Sara July 15, 2015 at 11:37 am

    This post is such perfect timing because one of my cats just broke my Herriott Grace cake stand AND it’s my day off!

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme July 15, 2015 at 1:32 pm

      WHAA!! Cat needs to get a job to help pay for a new one! 😉

  • Reply cynthia July 15, 2015 at 11:45 am

    I. LOVE. this. I’m always breaking gorgeous ceramics and never thought I’d be able to do something like kintsugi at home. I have a broken bowl sitting on my desk right now that might just have your tutorial in store for it. Too amazing as always, Adrianna. (PS You are so right, these gorgeous ceramics ARE more beautiful now and they do have character! They’re fabulous.)

  • Reply Nicole July 15, 2015 at 11:51 am

    A big YES to this.

  • Reply Brittany at I Love Vegan July 15, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    Yay, thanks for sharing! I just bought some pretty ceramic mugs from a second hand store and realized that one of them is cracked and probably only a fumble away from ending up in pieces. I’ll have to keep the kintsugi philosophy in mind for life too.

  • Reply Cindy July 15, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    love this! i’m always up for gilding anything in gold.

  • Reply stephanie @ iamafoodblog July 15, 2015 at 9:35 pm

    i love love love kintsugi. there’s so much beauty in fixing something. kinda makes me wish i had some broken things lying around 🙂

  • Reply Hailey Andresen July 16, 2015 at 6:33 am

    Love this! Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  • Reply Kate July 16, 2015 at 7:05 am

    This kintsugi concept is kind of blowing my mind. Love it! Thanks for sharing, Adrianna.

  • Reply Mary Frances July 16, 2015 at 7:48 am

    What a beautiful solution for such a common problem! I love all the gorgeous natural earthenware you use in your photos.

  • Reply Sydney | Modern Granola July 16, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    Wow, this is so beautiful and poetic! I could totally see myself doing this. I’m so inspired!

  • Reply Kelsey M July 19, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    These are so beautiful! I love the approach the Japanese have with accepting imperfections and embracing it in art.

  • Reply Cas July 25, 2017 at 8:51 pm

    Thank you so much for your tutorial, what would you do if there was a piece missing though? What product would you use to mould and shape to match the item? Thanks!

  • Reply Marian July 30, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    Could one mix the gold into the E6000 to save an application step?

  • Reply Chloe | Conscious by Chloe August 13, 2017 at 10:28 am

    What a great tutorial! And what a beautiful result!
    Do you know whether the products you used are food safe? Or would you have alternative recommendations? I’ve got a couple mugs I’d like to repair but am concerned about leeching chemicals.
    Thank you!

  • Reply Rosy September 21, 2017 at 6:57 am

    This isn’t food safe right? Like to put fruit on a tray that’s been repaired this way?

  • Reply Rosy September 21, 2017 at 6:58 am

    I’m sorry! I looked up after posting this question and I see the reply right there. Lol. Thank you.

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme September 21, 2017 at 9:42 am

      Hahha yes, I wouldn’t eat out of it, unfortunately. REAL kintsugi is food-safe! 🙂

  • Reply Broken is Beautiful – Arsenic & Old Place November 3, 2017 at 11:04 am

    […] You can buy a kintsugi repair kit and diy your own masterpiece like the pictures below. […]

  • Reply Claudia Cameron November 5, 2017 at 7:33 am

    Hey! I’m a huge fan of kintsugi.
    I’ve made my own masterpieces, somehow they go from being destroyed to looking like they were meant to have that gold streak the whole time.
    I’ve found a good supplier for the materials, their gold is the best that I’ve worked with. The company is Mora Approved they are in Europe, but have quick delivery to the US.
    Good luck in the future. I wish you every success! Looking forward to your next creations. Cheers, Claudia

  • Reply Annie November 27, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    I think I’ll go one step further since some of my fractures do not re-align perfectly. I’ll be finding some syringes from woodworking supply places and put some of the gold in a syringe and after e600 ing the pieces will do a follow-up with the syringe to fill deeper space where the paint brush may not settle in well. Then follow up with the brush. Just figured this out after not being satisfied with a re-glue and gilidng of a 6×9″ Grecian wall art. It looks great now, but I see spaces that need to look more finished. Thanks for this.

  • Reply Kintsugi – A. L. Lester December 2, 2017 at 4:19 am

    […] and some articles about DIY faking it. The best faking it article I found was this one from A Cozy Kitchen. So this morning I have done this. And yeah, I won’t be able to actually drink coffee out of […]

  • Reply Taylor B December 29, 2017 at 6:24 am

    This came out so great! I tried my own with a vase but didn’t use direct gold liquid sealant and it looks like the difference was significant. Love your final results! You can see the results of my own attempts on a Goodwill porcelain vase here! (https://highlyunemployable.wordpress.com/2017/12/29/kintsugi-the-beauty-of-imperfection/)

  • Reply Vance Julius February 15, 2018 at 10:57 am

    Hi! Totally randomly fell onto your blog and just wanted to say its awesome! You seem like a cool friendly person and I just wanted to give you props:) I hope your life’s been blessed and that you’re happy.
    –Vance (IG: Vance1of1)

  • Reply Kintsugi Pottery: The Art of Repairing With Gold April 9, 2018 at 7:12 am

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