It only takes a moment of carelessness, or an over excited child or pet, and all of a sudden one of your prized ceramic figurines is lying in pieces on the floor. You’re now faced with a choice. Firstly, do you care about your figurine enough to want it repaired? If not, it’s a simple case of reaching for the brush and dustpan and the nearest bin. If it is worth saving you now have the choice of getting your figurine repaired professionally, or attempting to repair it yourself. If your figurine is of sufficient monetary or sentimental value do not attempt to repair it yourself; no matter how good a job you make of it, it will not be as good as the work of a professional restorer. However, if your ceramic figurine is broken into large pieces rather than tiny fragments and you are happy to avoid the expense of professional restoration and have a go at putting it back together yourself, here’s a 5-step guide to repairing a broken ceramic figurine.
Gather together the items you’ll need
Ideally you’ll need a large well-lit surface to work on. Collect together all of the pieces of your broken ceramic figurine. You’re also going to need a very slightly damp cloth, a dry lint-free cloth or paper towel, super glue (cyanoacrylate adhesive) with a precision or fine dispensing nozzle (this is easily available from most stationers or hardware stores), narrow masking tape -avoid normal adhesive tape-, nail polish remover and cotton buds.
Clean your ceramic figurine
Handling with care, use a dry cloth to clean the broken edges of the pieces of your figurine to ensure that they are free of loose particles.
Begin gluing your ceramic figurine together
Take the first piece of your figurine and apply a line of superglue to the broken edge, taking care to be precise and not apply too much glue. Take the corresponding piece of broken figuring and firmly press the two pieces together ensuring that they are perfectly aligned. Your ideal goal is for the break to appear as nothing more than a hairline if possible. Keep these pieces pressed firmly together for two to three minutes or until you are confident that a firm bond has been achieved. Gently wipe away any excess surface glue that has not yet dried using the damp cloth. Repeat this process piece-by-piece until your figurine is whole again.
Apply masking tape to the joins
Whilst super glue quickly forms an initial bond it can take a number of hours to fully ‘cure’. Using the utmost care, gently press strips of narrow masking tape into place over the joins where you have glued the figurine together – these strips will hold the pieces in place until the glue has completely set; ideally you should allow 24 hours.
Again, taking care, remove the masking tape when the super glue has had time to create a permanent bond. If dry superglue is visible on your ceramic figurine, dip a cotton bud in nail polish remover and gently rub the glue away. Finally use the very slightly damp cloth to give the ceramic figurine a final cleaning and dry with a dry lint-free cloth or paper towel if necessary.
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