FAQs from Kintsugi Beginners
- What is kinstsugi?
- What is urushi lacquer?
- How long does it take to repair an item with kintsugi ?
- What are the optimal conditions for urushi lacquer to dry ?
- What precautions should I take when doing kintsugi ?
- How should I care for objects repaired with kintsugi ?
- What is the philosophy and history of kintsugi ?
About our products
- Are TSUGUKITs food-safe ?
- What can I repair and can I not?
- What should I prepare while waiting for my TSUGUKIT?
- How many broken items can I repair with my TSUGUKIT?
About your order
- How long does shipping take ?
- Are there taxes to pay upon reception of the order ?
- Do you offer kintsugi restoration services to international customers ?
About our kintsugi lessons
- What are the common mistakes during kintsugi processes?
- FAQ about Step 1: Pre-Treatment
- FAQ about Step 2 & 2A: Making Mugi-Uruhi to Stick Pieces Together
- FAQ about Step 2B: Filling the Deep Chips with Kokuso
- FAQ about Step 3: Filling Small Holes with Sabi-Urushi (currently writing)
- FAQ about Step 4: Applying Black Uruhi (currently writing)
- FAQ about Step : Applying the Finishing Layer (currently writing)
- How to repair glasses with kintsugi? (currently writing)
Kintsugi is the Japanese art of mending broken pottery with gold. The broken pieces are first put back together using Japanese lacquer, also called “urushi.” The lacquer is then dusted with gold powder. It is estimated that the kintsugi repair technique was developed during the Muromachi period (1336–1573 CE). At the time, the art of kintsugi was often used to repair ceramics used in the tea ceremony.
Rather than hiding the cracks, kintsugi highlights them with gold. Items repaired with kintsugi become more precious than before they were broken and they can even turn into real pieces of art.
Urushi lacquer is refined sap that is extracted from urushi trees, which can be found in Japan and China. This sap is known for its adhesive properties and it is widely used in Japanese traditional lacquer craft. Unlike chemical resins such as epoxy, urushi lacquer is completely natural and food-safe.
Depending on the number of coats you apply and the environment you find yourself in, the time needed to dry the urushi lacquer can greatly vary. One layer usually takes few days 1 week to dry completely. Therefore, it is very common to take 2-3 months to complete a kintsugi restoration project.
Urushi lacquer is a living material that is heavily affected by its environment. Optimal conditions to have urushi lacquer dry would be 20 to 25 degrees Celcius (68-77F) and humidity being around 70 to 80%. In order to create optimal conditions for urushi to dry, you can create a Urushi Box.
Raw urushi lacquer is known for its capacity to cause strong allergic reactions similar to those of poison ivy when put in direct contact with the skin. Not everyone is sensitive to urushi, but we strongly recommend to use gloves and cover your arms when doing kintsugi. You can also wear safety goggles for extra safety. If you get raw urushi on your skin, please use vegetable oil and remove it before it hardens. If you have an allergic reaction, please soak the affected skin in a warm salt bath, it will help relieve the itchiness.
Please note that Tsugu Tsugu Inc. is not responsible for allergic reactions caused by the urushi lacquer provided in our TSUGUKITs.
Should you have an allergic reaction when using urushi, please contact immediately your physician.
Objects repaired with urushi lacquer are used once the lacquer is completely dry. When completely dry, urushi lacquer does not cause allergic reactions.
Items repaired using traditional kintsugi techniques should be treated with the same care as traditional lacquerware.
Please note the following:
1. Fractured points repaired with urushi lacquer become stronger as time passes. It is recommended that you start using the item 3-4 months after it was repaired.
2. Do not place an item repaired with kintsugi in a microwave, a dishwasher, an oven or an open fire.
3. Always wash by hand. Make sure to wash your repaired item gently and avoid scrubbing around the repaired cracks.
4. Be careful not to scratch the repaired parts when using sharp cutlery such as forks and knives.
5. Please make sure that the parts repaired with urushi lacquer are not damaged by other plates and cups when storing your tableware on your cupboard shelves.
6. Do not place the repaired item in a fridge for too long.
7. Do not soak the repaired item in water for too long.
8. Store the item in a place where it is not directly exposed to sunlight.
About our products
The TSUGUKITs "Gold Only" and "Traditional" are completely food-safe.
The only ingredient that is not certified food-safe amongst our products is the alternative metallic powder provided in the TSUGUKIT "Practise." For safety, we recommend using it for decorative items. Since this finishing powder is cheaper than gold powder, it is ideal for practising your kintsugi skills.
TSUGUKIT is to repair broken pottery, porcelain, and ceramics. It cannot be used to repair glass or metal. Wooden items can be repaired with lacquer, but the TSUGUKIT manual is not sufficient for repairing these items, as the some processes are different from the normal kintsugi procedures.
There are also a caution about pottery, porcelain, and ceramics with kintsugi. Some vessels may no longer be usable in the same ways as they were before the repair. For example, if a crack in the bottom of a vase is repaired with kintsugi, the repaired part cannot be soaked in water for too long. (If the crack is at the top of the vase, it can be used as before) However, instead, dried flowers can be served in the vase.
In addition, if the body and lid of an hot pot (=土鍋, Donabe) are repaired with kintsugi, the pot may become too hot and the kintsugi may come off again if the pot is used over an open fire or exposed to high-temperature of the steam. Urushi lacquer which is used for kintsugi repair has a heat resistance temperature of approximately 95°C. Therefore, if you would like to use the pot or the lids that have been repaired with kintsugi, you could use them to just serve food (not for cooking) or those can be just displayed as a kintsugi art after the repair without using as before.
Tissues, one pair of scissors, utility knife, all-purpose flour, oil (canola or salad oil), water, additional rubber gloves, ethanol for disinfection use (+/- 70°), an urushi box (carton, wooden or plastic box which can be closed with a lid), plastic wrap and rubber bands if applicable.
Since each broken item is different, it is hard to say precisely how many items you could repair with our kit. However, we estimate that you should be able to repair the equivalent of 8-10 broken plates with the Traditional TSUGUKIT.
If you have a lot of items to repair, be careful to not use all the gold powder in one go. Also, if you feel you need more practice, we recommend you to purchase metal powder in your country and use it instead of our genuine gold / silver powder. Please note, however, that metal powder sold in DIY stores is rarely food-safe.
About your order
When we receive an order, it usually takes us 2-3 days to prepare the order and the shipping. We ship orders with DHL for most countries. Once your order has been shipped, it should arrive within 3-4 days. Please note we are not responsible for delays.
Applicable taxes and duties vary from countries. Please note that Tsugu Tsugu Inc. is not responsible for the payment of taxes. Depending on your country and the value of your order (excl. shipping), you may have the option to pay relevant taxes in advance at check out. If this option is not offered, it means that you will have to pay the applicable taxes upon delivery of your order.
EU: You can prepay applicable taxes at check out for orders up to 150 euros (excl. shipping). For orders exceeding 150 euros, you wil have to pay the taxes upon delivery.
UK: We do not offer a prepayment option of taxes at the moment on this website. If you wish to pay the import taxes in advance, we recommend you to purchase our products through our Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/KintsugiJapan
Yes, we accept repair requests by international customers. First send us an e-mail to info[@]kintsugi-girl.com with pictures of your broken item(s). Make sure to pick pictures that show clearly the size and how broken your item is. If our kintsugi artist thinks that your item can be repaired with kintsugi, we will then send you an estimate of the repair cost. Please note that you will be responsible for applicable shipping and importation fees.
About our kintsugi lessons
Tsugu Tsugu Inc. is currently unable to sponsor Student Visas and "Cultural Activities" Visas.