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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Just a little work...not a complete facelift

One of my favorite boomerang-shaped dishes had a small chip, so I did a little web surfing to find tips on how to cover up minor flaws. I found this post by mod-mod-world on the Modish site, and I thought I'd pass it along to you.

How to Fix-up that Chip

You probably have at least one piece in your hutch, angled in a particular way, in order to hide an unsightly chip. But you love the piece and, if you're like me, will never get around to having it professionally repaired. The following is a technique that I have been successful with for some time, and if you're feeling creative, it can help bring back some of that lost beauty.

One thing that I'd like to say first is that this type of repair is not intended to restore the piece for food use. One of the materials used contains toluene, a toxic chemical found in products such as spray paint. This repair is simply to get that piece looking good for display use only.

You will need the following materials: 

  • A "white putty" type of hobby filler*   You can find this online or at a hobby shop. This item contains toluene.
  • Air-drying, gloss enamel paint for glass and tile. These come in little bottles in many colors.
  • A very fine piece of sandpaper (a 320 grit)
  • A sponge
The Steps:
  1. The first step is to fill in the negative space of the missing piece with the white putty. Over-fill the chip a little bit; we are going to sand down the excess later. Let the putty dry for 30-60 minutes.
  2. When the putty dries, it will turn gray. Sand it down with a very fine 320 grit sandpaper to exact contour of the missing piece. This type of sandpaper will not scratch the surrounding glaze; do not use a typical grit type sandpaper. Don't rely on your eyes to get the perfect contour. Close your eyes and run your finger over it. If you can feel where the filler begins and ends, then keep sanding. If you sand too much, you can add more filler and repeat Step 1.
  3. Now that you have the perfect contour, it's time for the real artistry. In this step, you put on the first layer of glass paint. You will likely need to mix colors to get a perfect match the the glaze of your piece.Apply the paint mixture with very light dabs with a sponge. (Just cut off a little piece from your dish sponge. A small piece is easier to work with.) In this first pass with paint, cover the putty and slightly feather the paint over the surrounding glaze to hide the edge of the repair. You want the repair to blend in as much as possible, and the feathering is important. That's why we're using a sponge and not a brush. Let the paint dry and repeat.
  4. It will probably take about 3 or 4 layers of light dabbing with the sponge and paint mixture. The repaired spot will have a very fine texture from the sponge, but if you've matched the paint mixture to the glaze of the piece well, and you've feathered the edges, you will still have a nice result.
The repair is very durable too. After 7 days, the item can be submerged in water.

*My Note: Milliput, an epoxy putty, is available on I'm sure you can find it at your local hobby stores too. It comes in several basic colors besides white, like black, terra cotta and gray.

In a pinch, I have had pretty good results repairing minor chips using acrylic craft paint, mixed to match exactly, which I apply directly into the chip with the tiniest brush I own. Then I take clear nail polish (or sometimes a very, very sheer off white as used with French manicure, depending on the glaze of the piece) and apply layer after layer, letting each layer get slightly tacky before applying the next, till the chip is filled.

Hope this helps you work a little cosmetic magic on your favorite piece that's showing its age.

My boomerang dish that has had a chip filled


  1. Thanks Dana! I have a few pieces that could use a little help.

  2. I think most of us who love vintage pieces have either brought a chipped piece home from an estate sale with the intention of repairing it (but not really knowing how) or have passed on a really great piece because it was chipped. Armed with this information, I think I'll be more inclined to look at a piece in terms of how much life is left in it, rather than prematurely chalking it up as "too far gone."