How to Repair Clay Pottery

    by Jill Harness

    About the Author

    Jill Harness has written on a variety of subjects for more than 10 years. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications, including "San Diego City Beat," "Mental Floss," Rue The Day! and Neatorama. Harness has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from San Francisco State University.


    A break or a chip doesn’t spell the end of a piece of pottery as long as it is repaired properly. While you can’t refire clay pottery and return it to its original condition, it is surprisingly easy to repair these items with only minimal distortion of the original piece. In many cases, repaired cracks cannot be discovered except by detailed inspection. The techniques here can also be applied to most ceramics and many glass items.

    Things You'll Need

    • Two-part clear epoxy glue
    • Wooden stir sticks
    • Gloves
    • Clay
    • Razor blade
    • Spackle
    • Paint
    • Paint brush
    • Acrylic paint finish

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    Ensure the cracks are free of dirt and debris. If the area was cracked before, you will want to wash the existing glue residue with soap and water. You may want to wear gloves to handle the broken pottery to avoid cutting your hands.

    Squeeze out the two-part epoxy glue onto a thick cardboard surface. This type of glue dries clear, is very strong and sets slowly. Mix the glue with a wooden stir stick and apply a thin, even layer of glue to the cracked area of the pottery. Apply enough glue that the seal will be sturdy, but avoid using too much or there may be a gap between the cracked portions.

    Apply a thick layer of clay on the back of the pottery to hold the item together while it dries. When the glue is completely dry, remove the clay and then use a razor blade to remove any excess adhesive.

    Use spackle to fill in any chips in the pottery after the repair, using your fingers to smooth the surface until it matches the surface of the clay. Apply paint in the same color as the original finish and use your fingers to blend in the paint with the surrounding surface.

    Use a paint brush to cover your new paint job with a thin layer of acrylic paint finish, if the pottery has a glaze. This will not only protect the new paint, but also provide shine to match the original.

    • Use a cushioned nail file to smooth any rough spots, if needed.
    • Do not use a quick-dry glue or it may dry before everything is properly adjusted.
    • When using an acrylic finish, try to find one that has the same sheen as the original piece.

    Photo Credits