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The limits of repairing your porcelain ceramics

The limits of repairing your porcelain ceramics - The Bright Angle

It’s common for pieces of pottery or ceramics to be passed from previous generations, due to the longevity and durability of porcelain. Breaking a piece can be devastating. Even if your piece is new, straight from the kiln, it hurts all the same. But as long as a piece isn’t smashed into small fragments, porcelain ceramics can be repaired. If you’re equipped and armed with the right high-quality adhesive, it’s possible to fix your ceramics. 

If you’ve never repaired porcelain before, you’ll need to start by figuring out which adhesive to buy. Sealants aren’t great for every material. For example, if you’re repairing terracotta, baked earth, or other stoneware, you’ll need to find a strong epoxy. But, if you’re repairing porcelain, especially one that comes in contact with food often, you’ll need to find an adhesive that is both food-safe and can handle the strength and heat of an everyday dishwashing routine.


Those new to repairing might try and use superglue, a cheap and ineffective fix. It’s quick, as it dries in about 10 minutes, and within 24 hours the ceramic is ready for practical use. There are a few issues with using superglue as an adhesive for ceramic repairs.

  • For an effective fix, a thin film layer is needed to properly bond the two pieces.
  • Superglue is very ineffective at filling voids.
  • Heat will be a constant problem, as 180°F will quickly melt the glue.
  • Unhealthy and unsafe for food, which rules out repairing mugs, plates, and other porcelain kitchenware for repairs.

If you’re simply repairing a piece that isn’t handled too often, and don’t have the time to find a proper adhesive, superglue can be great. But if you want a strong, long-lasting repair for common everyday use, then you’ll need to prepare some proper repair supplies.


While superglue can be thought of as a quick band-aid solution, there are plenty of alternatives. Epoxy, for example, is a great gap filler for fixing broken ceramics. On top of that, epoxy is great at bonding with shattered pieces of stoneware. It’s a little pricier, and a little more time-consuming, but it’s a strong way to restore ceramic material. There are plenty of benefits to using epoxy for different types of porcelain ceramics.

  • Great at filling gaps between broken pieces of ceramic.
  • Strong adhesive bonds with the stoneware.
  • Longer lasting and more durable than superglue.
  • Intended for more high-quality pieces.


But, unfortunately, there are a few drawbacks as well.

  • May take much longer to set, from 90 minutes to 12 hours.
  • Epoxies may release toxic fumes, depending on their composition.
  • Not safe for pieces that handle food or drink.
  • The resin may start to discolor over time.
  • Not always heat resistant, ranging from a heat resistance of 150°F to 300°F.

Porcelain Glue

The real star of repairing porcelain is porcelain glue. It’s a specific type of epoxy, that’s food safe, resistant to heat, can be sanded down, and used on a variety of household items. As white porcelain and porcelain enamel is commonly used as tableware, household items, or sanitary ceramics, the ability to have a clean, durable, and resistant epoxy is necessary.

It has all the benefits of regular epoxy but removes any risk of toxicity or contamination in your kitchen or home. Great at filling gaps, has strong strength and adhesiveness, and survives high temperatures during a wash. While having similar temperature limits to epoxy, be careful when using this in an oven. Breaking kitchenware may call for a replacement.

Telling a Story: Kintsugi

As porcelain originated in Ancient China and was nurtured under the Tang Dynasty, it's no surprise that their neighbors also benefited from the strength and beauty of Chinese porcelain. And the Chinese were no strangers to stoneware, from their intricately designed luxury vases to the Terracotta Army, they were masters of the craft. From Marco Polo's journeys from the west, to trade with the east, porcelain was a highly sought-after commodity. The Japanese were one of them. While breaking luxury kitchenware, especially back then, may have been a tragedy, the Japanese decided to see it from a different angle. 

When, for example, a teacup, had been dropped and broken, the pieces were collected for repair. A practitioner would use silver or gold mixed with lacquer and take their time repairing the porcelain wares. Each repair is a different story or moment in the teacup's lifetime. And, rather than striving for absolute perfection, they chose to see the beauty in the flaws or imperfections. It’s a longstanding tradition that’s lasted in Japan for hundreds of years.


Cherishing a broken heirloom, or repairing your own handmade crafts, it’s sometimes hard to let go of a piece of porcelain. And nobody wants to start from scratch, from the raw material to the final product, after a slip of the fingers. But, it’s important to know what you’re repairing with, as you still want to reap the benefits of a healthy, clean, and sanitary environment, especially in the kitchen. Repairing a piece can tell a story, and give your piece a bit of history, but it’s equally important to make sure it’s done properly and safely.


Not all porcelain products can be repaired. It’s highly recommended that kitchenware, especially those used in cooking, is replaced, as to minimize contamination and keep a sanitary environment. If you’re looking to replace some kitchenware, check out our storefront. From cups and trays to utensil holders and salt containers, porcelain’s clean and hygienic properties won't be emulated by epoxy repairs.



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