How to Repair Small Pieces Broken off a Clay Sculpture

Written by stephanie mitchell
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How to Repair Small Pieces Broken off a Clay Sculpture
Fingers and other small pieces often break off clay sculptures. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Clay sculptures are delicate works of art, and even a small fall or collision can damage them. Ears or tails on animal sculptures, human figures' hands and other small pieces are especially fragile, and people who decorate with clay figures are likely to break a few over time. Fortunately, repairing minor damage to sculptures made of ceramic modelling clay is relatively easy. It is wise to hire a professional to repair particularly valuable items, but most repairs to clay pieces can be done at home.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Rubber gloves
  • Dish soap
  • Warm water
  • Paintbrush
  • White glue
  • Modelling clay
  • Razor blade

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  1. 1

    Put on the rubber gloves before handling the broken pieces to protect your hands from sharp edges. Clean the pieces with the dish soap and warm water to make sure there is no dust or dirt adhering to the edges. Allow the pieces to air-dry.

  2. 2

    Use the paintbrush to paint white glue over the broken edge of one of the pieces. Cover the entire edge with a layer of glue thick enough to be visible but not thick enough to ooze much when you apply pressure.

  3. 3

    Press the broken piece onto the place on the sculpture where it belongs. Wrap the ends of the joint with damp clay to hold the pieces together while the glue dries. If the broken piece is too small to cover just the ends of the joint, pack clay all around the repair.

  4. 4

    Wait one hour for the glue to set, then remove the clay. Use the razor blade to carefully scrape off any excess glue and clay residue. Leave the sculpture untouched for another 24 hours to allow the glue to dry fully.

  5. 5

    Repeat the process with any other broken pieces.

Tips and warnings

  • If using a razor blade will damage your sculpture or its finish, use a dampened cotton swab to remove excess glue and clay residue instead.
  • Repair broken pieces one at a time to ensure that you do not accidentally damage one repair while working on another.

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