Broken mugs are, for most of us, heartbreaking. Because let’s face it. Most often than not, they have an emotional significance, bring back beautiful memories, or represent a sweet souvenir. No matter the reason, breaking the favorite tea or coffee mug can be a traumatic experience.
And let me ask you another thing. Considering the pollution threats nowadays and the tons of damaged items people quickly get rid of, would you still consider simply throwing the old mug into the garbage even knowing that you could fix it?
This article will cover the most accessible and professional DIY hacks to improve the ceramic mugs that have suffered minor accidents. Whether they are a bit chipped, missing a handle, broken, or have any other physical deformities, there is still a chance to save ceramic mugs. According to that famous saying, “broken crayons still color” well, broken cups can still keep your drinks all warm.
Even if you don’t consider them suitable for drinking after the repairs, you can reuse the mugs for different purposes, just like storing make-up brushes or other trifles. But let’s find out more.
The Love For Ceramic Mugs
According to a survey coordinated by a famous food processing company (1), nearly 60 percent of interrogated people declared they have an emotional attachment to a particular mug. Nevertheless, more than 40 percent of them said their special appliances for the kitchen are irreplaceable, while one-third admit they would be devastated if their favorite mugs would break.
Considering all this love for mugs, I can definitely say that chips and broken handles are worth repairing.
Of course, there are also those situations when you simply cannot do anything for your drinking cup, like dropping a mug onto a tiled floor and breaking it into hundreds of pieces. However, you can apply the following tips and tricks I will list below for all the other situations.
Choosing A Ceramic Glue Criteria
Learning to fix broken ceramic includes choosing a suitable adhesive. If you want to make sure every little part will bond back together, you should focus on the glue. Also, think of the object you are now repairing. Will you use it in the microwave? Are you going to wash it in the dishwasher? Here are the specifics of the best glue for ceramic mugs:
These are the top types of glues that suit ceramic repairs:
- Super Glue (2) creates a super-strong bond. It dries quickly, in just seconds, and requires no mixing. Super glue is ideal for lightweight ceramic and creating bonds in fragile spaces;
- Epoxies have a hardener in composition, and when mixed, they provide a strong bond, making them the ideal ceramic glue. Epoxies can be great fillers, too, given their viscosity.
Container and Applicator Shape
The shape of the container is crucial, mainly if you have to reach tiny spaces. Many supertypes of glue come with a small applicator that can tip to deposit the adhesive exactly on the necessary spot. Some products come with a precise nozzle; others have a brush that allows easy control.
Tip: Avoid any containers that cause dripping and waste much from the product.
Opacity And Drying Time
No matter the adhesive you look for, each has different drying periods. Some start from 30 seconds; others will rise to 5 minutes even several hours for curing. I recommend an adhesive that has an average drying time, so you can make some adjustments and position the pieces correctly.
Opacity is another essential aspect to consider. While most glues will dry to a transparent finish without causing discrepancy, others may change the shade as they dry.
The critical aspect regarding adhesives is their chemical composition. However, all these chemicals might not be food-safe, so you won’t be able to use them on cups, dishes, or other kitchen items used for drinks and food. Avoid those glues that contain cyanoacrylate, a chemical that causes skin irritation and stomach issues.
Look for glues that are FDA approved, a food-safe certification.
Waterproof Versus Water Resistant
There are different adhesives for ceramics that are either water-resistant or waterproof. If the ceramic items are frequently exposed to liquids, and wet environments, try and find a waterproof glue, like epoxy. If you prefer washing the kitchen crockery in the dishwasher, then super glues will help your cups survive these conditions.
Important: So keep in mind epoxy glues are primarily waterproof, while super glues are water-resistant. Read the labels to determine all these characteristics.
As with most arts and crafts products, ceramic glues come with additional items that are helpful for repairs. These can be spatula, scrapers, brushes, syringes, or other attachments that better control the glue flow.
When working with ceramic glues, make sure you cover the working surfaces. A protective sheet would be ideal.
Fixing Broken Ceramic Mugs
Now that you know the introduction let’s move to more practical guidelines. Down below, I have brought together some possible broken mugs scenarios. For each of them, you have step-by-step recommendations for fixing the beloved ceramic mugs.
Repairing Chipped Ceramic Mugs
One of the dominant issues when it comes to ceramic mugs is chipping. This is quite an easy-to-fix matter, primarily if you deal with a small chip in a specific area. Here is what you need:
- The chipped mug (of course)
- Safety Razor
- Baking Soda
- Any flat utensil
- A knife or a cutter
- Apply superglue on the chipped area and fill it until it is even with the cup’s surface.
- Spread baking soda all over the sticky glue part.
- Spread the baking soda using a knife or a flat utensil until removing the excess. You may use your fingers in this step.
- Apply another layer of superglue, but thinner. This way, you won’t risk creating a bump.
- Apply the second layer of baking soda, then smooth it out with fingers.
- Take some time to let the mixture dry. When it is hard enough, cut the excess.
- Take the cutter or the knife and remove the bump surplus.
- A safety razor will help you smooth the edges.
- Use sandpaper to sand the affected area and make it smooth, just like the rest of the mug. You can drop some water too and make the sanding process smoother.
- After cleaning the surface with a cloth, the mug is ready for handwashing.
This video describes all the steps.
Repairing Broken Mugs
Do you have a broken mug you used to love keeping on your desk? This is an easy way to repair a smashed mug using only a few tools and simple procedures.
You can consider these techniques for art purposes if you want to reuse the mug for different design purposes, such as make-up brushes holder.
First Method – Superglue
Although this method might be more time-consuming, you need to apply the glue first, then the decorative ink, ensuring a more accurate result. Here are the supplies you need:
- The broken mug
- Rubber gloves
- Superglue (ideally one that comes with a nozzle)
- A paintbrush
- Put on the rubber gloves so the glue will not touch your skin. Apply the super glue on the broken sides.
- Take the pieces and combine them, just like when doing a puzzle. Be very attentive and place the elements in a way that all fit together perfectly.
Method 2 – Epoxy and Gold Ink
This method ensures that your work dries quicker. But don’t expect it to be an instant job. Here is what you need to have:
- The broken mug
- Some rubber gloves
- Gold Ink
- A sharp scraping object
- Put the safety gloves right before starting to handle the glue. This way, you avoid possible skin irritation.
- Combine the epoxy glue with the gold ink, mix them onto separate cardboard, and mix the painting part.
- Apply the mixture all over the fragmented mug pieces and fix the parts together. If you want to achieve a long-lasting result, wait for at least 10 minutes before putting all the pieces together. This step will prevent the glue from dripping.
- Scrape the excess using a sharp object and remove any glue drip.
This video will help you a lot.
Fixing Broken Mug Handles
There are times when the mug handle is the one that breaks first. So, how should you hold your hot beverage when drinking it from now on? Well, there are multiple ways to repair mug handles.
This is what you need:
- Glue or epoxy
- Glue accelerator
- The handle of the broken mug
- A sharp object to remove the excess
- Put on the glue accelerator where the handle is supposed to connect.
- Have patience for about 30 seconds for the material to activate.
- Spread the glue on the handle parts that will stick to the mug.
- Stick the broken handle right on the mug. Try to rush and remember there is not too much time to adjust the mug handle.
- Let the parts dry, along with the glue.
- Take the sharp object and the knife to scrape the excess glue.
- Let the mug cure for at least 6 hours until you wash it like usual.
This video follows these steps.
Method 2 – Using Pin Joints
If you want to follow a more professional approach, you can use a super-strong pin. The pin joints are ideal for semi-porous, softer pottery pr earthenware mugs.
You need to have good hand-eye coordination and drill holes in the cup handle to coincide as closely as possible to the spot in the mug. The hole needs to be somewhere around 3/16″ to 1/4″ to work best.
The second step is inserting the pins. If all the holes are not precisely lined up, a pin will help you align them. A wooden or a bamboo toothpick with a diameter a little under ⅛” is ideal. Before applying the epoxy, make sure to practice the pinning in a “dry run.” When you feel confident enough, fill the holes with epoxy and press the parts together.
Leave the mug for some hours until it is perfectly cured.
Fixing Broken Mugs With Milk
Milk? Did you read that correctly? You might consider the idea of milk as an adhesive a bit odd. Nevertheless, it is worth considering it. This is what you need:
- The broken mug parts
- Electrical tape
- Put the broken pieces together.
- Fix electrical tape to seal the fragmented pieces.
- Put the mug into a saucepan and pour milk until the cup is all dipped.
- Let the milk boil for an hour, then make sure it has completely cooled for 24 hours.
- Peel the tape carefully after the curing process.
How does this method work?
Well, the electric tape won’t melt at boiling temperatures, while the milk turns into a natural plastic when heated due to the casein protein. Consequently, you can use milk for repairing broken ceramic items, like mugs or dinner plates.
This video is helpful.
How To Repair Cracked Mugs With Epoxy
If you have a mug with lots of cracks, and it becomes dangerous to drink from it, epoxy is a great way to fix it. This is what you need:
- Epoxy (any brand will do)
- The broken ceramic pieces
- Dry cloth
- Safety razors
- Rubber band
- Spot the crack on the cup, but be aware not to part. The damages can become dangerous and worse. Make sure you don’t touch it too much if you suspect more space between the cracks.
- Mix the hardener with the epoxy in equal amounts.
- Open the crack a bit to put it in the epoxy solution. Do not overfill it as you may cause dripping. Use a sharp blade, and move it until it widens the crack.
- Lay the epoxy into the crack, then take the toothpick to reach all the parts inside. Ensure you work fast, as Epoxy is popular for its short drying time.
- Clean the area, and tie all the parts to hold the crack together. Clean the epoxy excess using a dry cloth.
- Let the mug dry completely, and wash it normally.
Fixing A Leaking Mug
Sometimes, ceramic mugs can develop those frustrating leaks before the cracks appear, making the cups unusable. Follow this easy tip to continue using your favorite drinking vessel.
The best adhesive to use is transparent DAP silicone, suited for both microwave and dishwashers. Plus, it is non-toxic.
Apply the DAP adhesive into the cracks from both sides of the mug. Remove the excess and let it dry overnight.
Hairline cracks can add personality to kitchen crockery. Think about those old cups from Italy, Spain, and Mexico. Aren’t they lovely?
Anyway, the point is this – you can add the DAP non-toxic adhesive when those cracks become dangerous.
What can be said now that we are at the end? I can only give you a piece of advice – do not give up your favorite memories, dear people, or beloved souvenirs.
Ceramic mugs can represent all of them, so why not give them a fresh make-over using these easy techniques? Whether you prefer super glue, epoxy, or natural methods, like milk, there are multiple ways to fix broken ceramic mugs.