Friday, May 30, 2014

Fixin' Chips

My friend Kelly and I bonded over a love of overpriced paint your own pottery studios. The worst part about these places, though, is that just about any thing that you "make" at one will chip. Ask around. I challenge you to find one piece of "hand panted" pottery that gets used regularly and isn't chipped.
But, they're special, because they're hand made. So, while they're the first to chip, they're also they hardest to get rid of when they do.

Over the years I've accumulated a little collection of chipped pottery (both hand-painted and otherwise) that I just can't bear to part with. And now, as I prepare for a cross country move, I am getting rid of things with a vengeance! If I don't love it and don't use, it's going to goodwill. Chipped dishes included. Gulp.

So, a little online sleuthing and I found a solution I could get behind, and seemed like it just might work. Miss Beatrix gives a suggestion for fixing chipped pottery that I put into action.

Step 1: Fill the chip
With a little white Fimo clay, fill in the shape of the chip. Remove any extra from around the edge. You want the smallest filler you can use. I started with the cat dish, for practice, and worked my way up.
Step 2: Bake
Put the piece in the oven (do not preheat!) Heat the oven to 250˚F for about 30 minutes to harden the clay. Turn off the oven and let the piece cool.

Step 3: Sand
Using ultra-fine grain sand paper (I used 600 grain) sand down your clay "fills" to make them flush with the rest of the ceramic. Smooth the surface until your finger doesn't feel it anymore.
Step 4: Paint
Acrylic paints are cheap and available in every color. You'll only need a dab, but it's worth the 69cents to match the color well (unless you're fixing the cat dish). Let the paint dry overnight. Use as many coats as it takes to cover the clay.
For the mug, I didn't need white paint for the background, but pulled out a black Elmer's "Painter" marker to fix the missing parts of a word.

Step 5: Seal
Cover the chip with a durable varnish of the same sheen. DuraClear Satin Polyurethane Varnish (next to the acrylic paints at the craft store) worked great as a varnish for this project and was just as glossy as the original surface.
Step 6: Bake again
Put the piece in the oven (do not preheat!) Heat the oven to 250˚F for about 30 minutes to set the varnish. Turn off the oven and let the piece cool. I have hand washed these a number of times with no problems.