Renew Chipped Dishes with "Kintsugi"! We Tried it with a Worry-Free Beginners Kit.
Your favorite dish that you use so cautiously is scratched. Surely you have experienced that too! No matter how careful you are, the edges of cups and bowls are just prone to chipping. It's even worse when it happens to dishes you are attached to. For those who know what we are talking about, we have a solution. It's "kintsugi".
What Is Kintsugi?
Kintsugi is a traditional method for repairing chipped or broken pottery using lacquer. Although "kintsugi" translates to gold patching, it's a repair method using mostly lacquer. The gold is applied only in the finishing process. Lacquer is a durable natural material and is also safe to use on kitchen-ware.
It can also fix dishes that broke apart when they fell on the floor, but this time, let's use the kintsugi set and repair a bowl with a chipped edge.
Today's Kit: "Kintsugi Set for Beginners"
Kintsugi Set for Beginners ¥7,600 + tax
The Kintsugi Set for Beginners includes all instruments a beginner needs to start repairing, including powdered gold and lacquer. Lacquer comes in a nail polish-like container with a brush attached to the cap, making it easy to apply without even having to prepare your own brush.
*This article lists the required items for each step. However, those marked with an asterisk (*) are not included in the kit.
*When using lacquer in the repair process, you may experience a rash depending on your predispositions or physical condition of that day. When handling lacquer, please put on your gloves. In case your skin comes in contact with lacquer, wipe it off with vegetable oil or something similar.
1. Solidifying the Lacquer
Let's start with the preparation necessary for a durable and lovely kintsugi finish.
Required items: Clear lacquer, *rag (cotton cloth)
Apply the lacquer on the chipped parts. Wipe away the excess lacquer before it dries.
Put inside the box that the kit came in, cover it up with a lid and let dry overnight. Also, apply the lacquer on a piece of paper. If it doesn't color the cotton bud the next day, that means it's dry.
[Points to Note] Humidity is required for the lacquer to dry. Make sure to place the bowl inside the box. If the lacquer does not dry, place a wet tissue in the corner of the box to increase humidity.
2. Lacquer Putty Application
Prepare the "lacquer putty" and fill in the chipped parts.
Required items: Clear lacquer, cotton putty, sawdust, plastic spatula, bamboo spatula, surface plate, *rice grain, *cutter, *rag (cotton cloth)
① Use the plastic spatula to knead the rice grain into a paste.
② Add clear lacquer equivalent to the amount of the paste and mix well.
③ Add cotton putty and sawdust, in this order, and mix well.
④ When it feels like an earlobe, the "lacquer putty" is ready.
⑤ Use the bamboo spatula to apply the lacquer putty on the chipped parts and use your fingers to straighten the putty.
[Points to Note] Apply some sawdust on your fingers to avoid the putty from sticking and to make it easier to reshape.
⑥ Place in the box for about a week to dry. (If you are repairing parts that broke apart and not those that chipped, then two weeks.) Here as well, apply the lacquer putty on a piece of paper to check how well it dries.
After it dries, use a cutter or a sharpening stone to flatten out the surface of the lacquer putty.
[Points to Note] Be careful when smoothing out the lacquer putty as it may come off. If it comes off, don't throw it away, but use the clear lacquer to reattach the putty instead.
3. Lacquer Paste Application & Polishing
For a more refined finish, fill in the small holes and flatten out the uneven surfaces with "lacquer paste".
Required items: Clear lacquer, polishing powder, plastic spatula, bamboo spatula, sharpening stone, surface plate, *water, *bowl, *rag (cotton cloth)
① Add water to polishing powder and make a paste.
② Add lacquer at half the amount of the paste and knead them together to make a lacquer paste.
③ Use the bamboo spatula to apply the paste thinly and evenly and then dry well. It will take about four to five days.
④ After it dries, use the sharpening stone that was soaking in a bowl of water to carefully polish the surface of lacquer paste. Wipe with a lacquered rag and let dry overnight.
4. Painting & Polishing
Paint over the whole base layer with a rouge lacquer in order to give it waterproof coating.
Required items: Bengara lacquer, sharpening stone, *bowl, *water, *rag (cotton cloth)
① Apply the bengara lacquer thinly and evenly. Once applied, dry for about three to four days.
[Points to Note] If you apply a thick layer of lacquer, it may droop or wrinkle. The key is to apply slowly and thinly.
② After it dries, use the sharpening stone that was soaking in a bowl of water to carefully polish the surface of bengara lacquer and then wipe with a wet rag. Once polished, let dry overnight.
*You can paint and polish multiple coatings. That helps to make the coating more durable and achieve a more sophisticated and clean finish.
5. Gold Dust Decoration
This is the finishing step. Let's decorate with the gold dust.
Required items: Bengara lacquer, floss silk, gold dust, *white paper
*Left over gold dust can be reused, so place a paper below the bowl when decorating it. If the paper is white, it makes it easier to see the gold dust.
① Just as before, apply the bengara lacquer thinly and evenly. If the lacquer is not applied evenly, the gold dust cannot be applied evenly either. Make sure to apply slowly and thinly.
Once painted, place in the box for about 30 minutes. Drying it slightly will help the gold dust apply well.
② Once the lacquer dried for about 30 minutes, take the bowl out of the box and coat the lacquer gently with gold dust covered floss silk. You can collect the excess gold dust with floss silk and reuse it, so we recommend that you use it plenty for coating. Once finished, let dry for about three to four days.
[Points to Note] After some time, the color of bengara lacquer may resurface. Don't worry. Keep adding layers of gold dust until the foundation colors are no longer seen.
③ After checking if it's fully dried, remove excess gold dust with a wet cotton bud.
[Points to Note] When it's not completely dry, the gold dust may come off when polished.
6. Gold Dust Solidifying & Polishing
At the end of the process, we stabilize the gold dust.
Required Items: Clear lacquer, agate, *tissue paper
① Apply clear lacquer over the gold dust and then quickly wipe away the lacquer by dabbing it with a tissue paper. Use a clean part of the tissue paper and keep dabbing until the lacquer doesn't come off anymore, then let dry overnight.
② After it dries, use the agate to polish the gold parts. All the steps are now complete.
You're finally done! The gold color is a great contrast to the blue bowl. Not only are the chipped parts fixed now, but the kintsugi is also a nice accent, adding to the design of the bowl.
At the End
The "Kintsugi Set for Beginners" that we used here includes simple tools, making it easy and worry-free for first-time users. The bowl needs to dry after each step, and the whole process might take more time than expected, but the time and the effort invested increase our love for the mended and decorated kitchen-ware. The kintsugi-repaired bowls and cups will surely have a different presence from what they had before. If you patch the dishes that are important to you, they will turn into something that you'll want to use for a long time.
*Items introduced in this article may not be available in some stores. Please contact stores for information regarding the stock.
*Some stores may offer the featured items only through mail order.
*Please note that prices and specifications are subject to change and that availability is limited.
*Photos may include items for display purposes.