Terra-cotta is fragile when mistreated, but it can be easily repaired. When the piece is an expensive garden pot or a vase or figurine, the repair is well worth the effort. With a little art, a repair gives your terra-cotta new life. Putting broken terra-cotta back together can be like piecing together a puzzle. Today's superior epoxies and glues, and some old-fashioned methods, make a repair that holds.
Brush off all dirt. Wash the terra-cotta pieces thoroughly and let them dry completely. Examine the edges of each piece. If any edge is shiny, roughen it slightly with an emery board to better hold the caulk.
Line one edge on each of two pieces with waterproof silicon caulk. Press them together. Let these pieces dry completely. If there are many pieces, caulk several sets of two pieces together to form one larger piece. If the broken terra-cotta object is not large, caulk all of its pieces together to reassemble it entirely.
Wrap wire around the caulked terra-cotta item or assembled pieces to hold the edges closed while the caulk dries. Tighten the wire with the pliers by twisting it a few times. Make sure the pieces do not shift during this process.
Let the silicon caulk dry completely. Scrape off any caulk that has oozed over the edges and dried with the utility knife. If you have assembled several pieces but not the entire terra-cotta object, remove the wire and repeat the caulking and wiring until the pieces have all been put together to form the original whole.