Updated: Sep 22
"How to do kintsugi at home?
"What basic supplies for traditional kintsugi should I get as a starter?
"Can you give me a traditional kintsugi supply list?
"What is the Best kintsugi kit?"
YES! We have prepared this blog to help beginners and learners of traditional kintsugi in search of kintsugi supplies, tools and material.
It is easy to get a conventional kintsugi kit in the market. And it is extremely easy for us to sell our own kit. BUT, we choose not to!
By browsing and choosing your own traditional kintsugi supplies, you are also reading and learning about each tool and material! It also gives us the opportunity to connect with you and answer any question you have. Conventional kintsugi kits are fine if you preferred, but watch out for over-priced chemical glue, latex gloves, bamboo skewer sticks, masking tape, low-quality brushes, Q-tips and sand-paper packaged in an expensive-looking box. Know what you are paying for.
The best kintsugi kit would be to build your own, select your own tools and material and let your tool kit grows as you advance in knowledge and techniques in kintsugi.
To help you get started, here is our recommended list of essentials for traditional kintsugi repair projects.
"Why do I need all three?
Because each has different properties. Ki-urushi has the strongest adhesion properties to build a solid base repair. You can also use it as a final protective coat over your gold powder finish (not all ki-urushi is created equal).
Black and red ki-urushi are heat-refined with added mineral pigments, which reduces their ability to bond. They are perfect for all the intermediate lacquer layers that are also used for patching and waterproofing. In addition, you can also create urushi-tsugi with these lacquer colors.
Read "What is urushi" to understand more about the material.
Essential Base Material: We have bundled jinoko, tonoko, hemp fiber and wood powder for you. Or order a la carte if you already have some of these items.
Small Files Set. These small files are perfect for cleaning up broken edges and chips before repair. Filing by hand allows for better precision, though tedious. Some people uses Dremel tools, but they are too powerful for delicate work, and it is easy to "over-grind" the piece. The high-speed vibrations can also damage fragile fine porcelain.
Whetstones. Get the basic package #400, #800, #1000. You can also use wet sandpaper. Watch our video on how to use whetstones and polishing charcoal for kintsugi.
Mixing Palette. Glass plate or ceramic tiles work well. You need something smooth to mix and scrape, and is easy to clean. Ours are of custom-size, designed for kintsugi projects.
Brushes. We recommend 1 nylon hobby brush and 2 maki-e brushes. (1 maki-e brush is also ok, as they are not cheap). We have selected a range of high-quality kintsugi-use maki-e brushes both with synthetic hair and traditional cat-hair. Not all brushes are created equal! Watch our video on choosing and caring for lacquer craft brushes before making a decision.
Brush cleaning stick. Use this stick if you have a very fine maki-e brush.
Spatulas and Palette Knives. Wood, plastic, metal. Your choice. You can also find them at hardware or art supply stores. I always have a few plastic spatulas on hand. We also recommend you try our handmade wooden spatulas. They look nice when patinated with oil and urushi, and the edge can be trimmed and sanded to sharpen or change shape if needed (unlike plastic spatulas).
After using and practicing for a while, you'll know what size and material works best for your needs. Oil-painting palette knives are also great to use.
Filter paper. Many people skip to use the filter paper. But to get pristine and smoothest final layer of urushi, you must filter the lacquer before using it. Any dust or debris will show on the surface.
Finish Metal Powder. Your choice! Our pure gold powder is 1 gram (compared to other suppliers and kits that sell you 0.1 g). When gold price keep on rising, we recommend that you practice with pure silver (4 grams). We recommend beginners to start with matte silver or matte gold. Many learners who have taken quick workshops have started with substitutions of gold, mica, bronze, tin etc... But the material properties of these substitutions are completely different from those of gold and silver (weight, particle size, polishability). To learn and practice traditional kintsugi dusting and polishing, start with silver (matte, non-polishable or gloss, polishable), move on to pure gold when you are ready. Then experiment with all the other metal powders to see what colors and effects they have. By the way, the set of brass weights is very useful (you'll understand why once you open one of the powder packets...). Feel free to use any small weight, as long as it is heavy enough to hold the packet in place.
Dusting Brush. We recommend using both S and M dusting brushes. The short brush (Ashirai -S) loads the gold powder better, while the M brush (Harai -M) "sweeps" better. Budget concern? Get the S size. If you plan to use a variety of metal powders, buy separate brushes to avoid contamination. (For example, you don't want to get leftover silver in your gold powder).
Silk cotton balls. They are essential after piling the powder onto the wet lacquer. They help to even out the powder and pack it lightly onto the wet urushi. Some people use it to load the powder onto the wet urushi directly, but we think that (1) it picks up more powder than necessary due to the large surface area of the ball and results in more waste (2) it is easy to accidentally smear the wet lacquer compared to the dusting brush. However, it is up to your preference.
Summary list of basic kintsugi supplies
Set of base powder (tonoko, jinoko, hemp fiber, wood powder)
Brushes (recommend 1 nylon brush, 1 or 2 maki-e brushes)
Brush cleaning stick
Set of 3 metal files
Set of 3 whetstones
Palette (glass or paper or ceramic tiles)
Spatula / Palette knives
Finishing metal powder of your choice (gold ? silver ? bronze ? tin ?)
Dusting brush (1 or 2)
Silk cotton balls (pack of 4)
Other things to prepare yourself:
Rapeseed oil or canola oil
Rubbing alcohol (ethanol) or camphor oil
Scalpel or cutter (to cut the hardened kokuso if necessary)
Protective gloves and sleeves, apron
Tissues, rags, table cover
Build your own "muro" lacquer drying box (instructions in our video library)
Toothpicks and cotton swabs (optional)
Whether you're building your own kintsugi kit or restocking your kintsugi supplies, we're always here to answer your questions. We will continue to post more educational information as time goes. If you are a member, try using our forum and post your questions and comments. (We are waiting for the brave one, still. Let's make this a great kintsugi learning community.
Have a wonderful kintsugi journey!
QUICK Kintsugi WEB LINKS:
Video library (free sign-up)
Notes: Recently, we noticed other online shops copied our assortment, imagery and content and claimed they partnered with Japanese artisans on their kintsugi supplies. We investigated and took proper action to have their content removed. We also notice some of their merchandize are not suitable for kintsugi / lacquer craft use. We believed some shops are out for quick profit and do not even validate their material before marketing. Kintsugi supplies are expensive, it is smart to do proper research before making purchases, and select qualified, reputable shops! Be a smart consumer!
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