Pick up the pieces!

Pottery glue: Your guide to repairing broken ceramics

Read on to find out how to use pottery glue and fix broken bowls, mugs, planters, and just about anything made of ceramic materials. You’ll repair rather than replace once you’re armed with this information.

Why use a special pottery glue?

Pottery and ceramic products are attractive and versatile. They also break easily. But don't just throw them away; most of the time, you can repair them. What is the best type of adhesive for pottery repairs?

Fired clay is a brittle and porous material, so you will want to use pottery glue designed to bond to ceramic surfaces. Also, the adhesive must be resilient to prevent it from breaking at the same place. The pottery glue should actually be stronger than the surrounding material. 

Finally, it should be transparent or at least tintable so that the repair will blend in with the surface. See the section below for two of the best glues for broken pottery. 

How to use glue to repair broken pottery

The procedure to repair broken pottery is relatively straightforward. Just follow these guidelines:

  1. When working with adhesives, always wear latex or nitrile gloves.
  2. Collect the pieces together. Make sure you know where each piece goes and that they fit together snugly. See our second recommendation below if any small chips are missing or unusable.
  3. Make sure the surfaces to be bonded are free of dust, dirt, or oily residue.
  4. Apply a small amount of adhesive to the edge of the part to be repaired. 
  5. Join the parts and carefully hold them until the glue sets or place the item in a position where it will not move until dry.
  6. If any pottery adhesive has seeped onto the surface, gently scrape it away with a razor blade. You may soften the dried glue by applying acetone to the area with a cotton ball or clean cloth. Softening the glue will make it easier to remove.

If you are joining multiple pieces of the same object, join two pieces at a time, assembling the item in stages. It can be challenging to keep everything straight if you try to glue several parts simultaneously.

The best glue for broken pottery: Our recommendations

If you're going to make a repair, rely on the best adhesive! Here are our two recommendations for pottery glue.

For quick fixes and minor repairs, nothing beats Loctite Super Glue Control. Quick-setting and durable, this super glue is water resistant, dishwasher safe and can withstand a wide range of temperatures. You'll love the easy-grip dispenser bottle. Just squeeze the sides of the bottle to apply the perfect amount of adhesive. It dries transparent for a nearly invisible repair.

Need a super-strong, gap-filling glue for broken pottery? Loctite Epoxy Quick Set will do the trick. This two-part epoxy forms an extremely tough, high-strength bond in just 5 minutes. It's perfect whenever some small shards of pottery are missing since Epoxy Quick Set can bridge the gaps. It is tintable with sand, cement, or earth pigments – so colour matching is no problem.