Broken greenware

I broke a piece of (my own) greenware. It is in several large pieces. Is there any way to patch it back together using clay or slip or anything?

It’s a decorative piece that doesn’t need any structural integrity.

It’s a handbuilt piece that probably has about 8 hours of work in it. If it’s not reparable I most likely won’t make it again.

There should be some Bisque Fix on the glaze shelf that can help. I’m not an expert on the stuff though, I just know it exists. I think its a 4 oz jar.

Isn’t that for bisque? Do we have any SP-mender or Aztec high fire mender?

My understanding was that I can be used pre-bisque fire as well. I will certainly let more of the ceramics team chime in here. @cmcooper0 @brendamvilla @Monikat

I’ve not see either of the others.

How dry is it? In general you can always save something…but its like a bad boyfriend. You need to be REALLY in love to make the journey worth while and even then its never quite right. Basic options.

  1. Rehydrate with a damp box back to plasticity. Score and slip as usual with vinegar added. Make paper clay mix for big cracks. (This is the only truly reliable way)
  2. Fire broken. Bisque fix will show up under translucent glaze so either plan an opaque or glaze broken bits and E600 the finished ones. Better yet e6000 the bisque and cold finish.
    Never use bisque fix on greenware.
  3. Make a sloppy slip the texture of cake icing with vinegar. Workable, but as close to the current state of the clay as possible. Patch back together keeping vinegar soaked paper towels over the area. Repeat as it shrinks and new cracks appear.

Most ceramics people will advocate for a small funeral to wares that might of been and they’re not wrong. But I’ve had enough experiences with exploding senior projects that they can never make again that we’ve learned to resuscitate as much as we can haha

This is all great stuff here! If it is very fiddly, in a way that re-dampening and re-working could lose detail or shape, I like the ‘fire as is, use bisque fix on the pieces after’ method. It’s a good choice if you have a few, very clean/sharp points of breakage. If you can fuss with it safely, the vinegar and paper clay can do patching wonders. You can make your own with the base clay you are already using (the internet will guide you happily).

Side note: Paper clay (also available commercially from Trinity) is awesome for handbuilding. I hate handbuilding but if I’m going to do it, gimme super forgiving paper clay all the way! :slight_smile:

Yeh,I am really in love.

I had planned to use transparent glaze only.

It’s a small piece - about a 2.5" cube. It has three sharply broken pieces.

But - it has essentially no details - just flat surfaces.

If I use paper clay as part of my patching regime, can it still be fired?

Yes, the paper clay is just your clay body with added paper pulp. It is very strong and the paper fibers move moisture more evenly. You can use it to build up a repair. The paper fibers will burn out leaving only the clay so those areas will be more porous and thus weaker than the rest. If you had a boatload of heavy paper pulp clay, you might want to be doubly sure to vent when firing, but this sounds like a negligible amount, nothing of concern.


I make my own paper clay all the time it works great.

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You’ve got some good solutions here. I’ve also had good luck (in general) just repairing with slip. If you want, I’ve got a sealed container of matching slip. That would also come in handy if you want to use the paper clay thing.

Thank you everyone for the suggestions.

When I dampened it, it became apparent that there were more fractures than I was originally aware of. It doesn’t appear to be salvageable.

But I learned a lot. Thank you.