How to Mend a Glass Ornament

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How to Mend a Glass Ornament
Image Credit: Olesya Eroshenko /iStock/GettyImages

Glass ornaments are beautiful but fragile, and it's not uncommon to pull out your holiday decorations and discover that one has broken while in storage. It's often possible to repair a glass ornament using the appropriate glue, but doing so can be tricky if it has broken into multiple pieces or if any pieces are tiny or missing altogether.

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Fixing a broken glass ornament calls for a careful approach, a steady hand and patience, so consider whether you want to tackle the job yourself, consult a professional or resign yourself to saying goodbye to the ornament. The answer will largely depend on the value of the broken ornament, sentimental or otherwise.

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Figure Out How to Repair a Glass Ornament

A straightforward break in a glass ornament in which one or several pieces have broken off the main part is usually easy to repair. Before applying any glue, carefully gather the pieces in one place and use your fingers or tweezers to gently match the broken edges and set the pieces back in place. If there are any glass particles obscuring a close fit between broken edges, brush them away with a cotton bud or dry paintbrush. Once you're able to fit the pieces neatly back together like a jigsaw puzzle, you can do so permanently using glue. If you have multiple pieces to glue, plan the order in which you will assemble the pieces in advance.

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Use the Right Glue

To fix a broken glass ornament, you need to use glue that is specifically designed for use on glass. Regular super glue is not typically suitable for glass, so check the label before purchasing any glue. Options include fast-drying super glue for glass and epoxy glue for glass, which has two separate substances that you mix together immediately before use. Epoxy glue has a much longer drying time, which enables you to take a little longer with the repair. Whichever glue you choose, read the manufacturer's instructions thoroughly before you start to fix a broken glass ornament.

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Fix a Broken Glass Ornament

Set up a way to hold a broken ornament securely with the broken part facing up and both of your hands free. You can fill a shallow bowl with sand and nestle the ornament into it or mold a piece of modeling clay around the base of the broken ornament. Do this in a spot where the ornament can sit undisturbed for as long as the glue takes to fully dry. In the case of epoxy glue, this might be several days.

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With epoxy glue, prepare a small amount following the manufacturer's instructions and use a toothpick to apply a thin but consistent layer along one of the first two broken edges to be repaired. If you are using super glue for glass, use the applicator to do the same. Gently position the broken edges back together and hold them firmly in place for 30 seconds to one minute. Repeat with additional broken pieces if necessary. Do not touch or move the ornament until the glue has completely dried.

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For some hollow glass ornaments, it might be helpful to stuff the inside with pulled-apart cotton balls. This will give the broken pieces a surface on which to rest as you glue them back into place. Only do this if the ornament is opaque or if you can reach tweezers inside to remove the cotton after the glue has dried. Remove excess glue using a cotton bud dipped in nail polish remover.

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Fix a Hole in a Glass Ornament

If you want to fix a broken glass ornament with a small hole in it and don't have the missing piece, purchase a special gap-filling glue that dries clear. Hot glue is a handy alternative if you want to repair a hole in a glass ornament that isn't too precious. Apply a blob of the thick, gellike glue over the hole and if necessary, coax it into place with a toothpick or paintbrush. This type of repair will remain visible, but it will seal the sharp edges of a hole and prevent further damage. With a painted or glittery glass ornament, you might be able to cover the glue with a matching paint color or glitter.

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