How to Repair Your Broken Plates with Gold

The residents of Christchurch have found an ingenious way to repair antique crockery destroyed in the 2011 Earthquake – craft expert Penelope Quinn shows you how you can lovingly upcycle your own broken treasures using the same method.

When a gust of wind blew its way into my craft room and knocked over a beloved antique toothpaste jar, the heirloom - and my heart - shattered into little bits.  I was devastated – my grandparents had bought it over from England when they had immigrated to Australia, and it had been in the family for years.  

So I can only imagine how the residents of Christchurch felt when the devastating earthquake upended the city in 2011 - waking up to survey the first damage and finding roads warped beyond recognition, homes and historical landmarks reduced to rubble and thousands of irreplaceable treasures smashed to pieces…

In the three years since, the residents have managed to rebuild parts of Christchurch in truly inspiring ways – including various museum crockery pieces broken in the earthquake.

To promote the “Christchurch Repaired With Gold" exhibition, Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism sent out broken plates with the materials to repair them - inspired by the Japanese philosophy Kintsukuroi; repairing with gold and appreciating the piece as even more beautiful for having been broken.

This is such a lovely idea and I couldn’t wait to give it a go – it also inspired me to fix my beloved jar that I really thought was beyond repair (but luckily, I’d kept all the pieces!)

If you have a precious plate or item that needs to be fixed, this is a wonderful way to do it – rather than hiding the cracks and pretending they’re not there, this is about celebrating and highlighting what is now a part of its history. It’s so devastating to break something that is precious to you, but to revitalize it and give it new life so it’s even more beautiful than before is so rewarding.

How to fix a broken plate using Kintsukuroi

What you’ll need:

  • Some very strong glue. The pack Quake City sent me included a tube of arolydite. It takes more preparation than superglue as you have to mix the contents in equal measures, but it dries very quickly and is super strong!
  • Gold dust (this can be bought at craft stores.

  1. Collect all the pieces and fit them together. Make sure all surfaces are clean and dry.
  2. Mix equal parts of arolydite (if you don’t mix exact equal parts this can affect the strength of the bond) and coat both edges.
  3. Carefully press both pieces together. Keep the pressure on for around a minute, and carefully set aside to dry.
  4. I found that in some places I needed to apply some tape to keep  the pieces from drifting apart.
  5. After 5 minutes, when the glue is still tacky, use a soft brush and gentle apply the gold dust. I found the best method was to load up the brush with dust, then gently tap it. It will grab where the glue is still wet. If there isn’t enough glue on the surface, apply a little more.
  6. Wait until completely dry (around half an hour to an hour) and do the next piece.
  7. Display your mended plate on the wall or on a plate stand for everyone to admire!

Here are some other stunning works from the ‘Christchurch, Repaired with Gold’ exhibition at District01 Gallery.

For more information on the exhibition, visit

The exhibition was supported by Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism

Have you got a novel way of repairing broken crockery? I’d love to hear about it! Just leave a comment at the Ask a Question section or head to LifestyleHOME Facebook 

For more craft tutorials, visit


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