A friend asked me to look at repairing her charming antique, art-nouveau mirror. It’s not large, about 30 cm plus the frame. I disassembled it and used UVA (sunlight-activated) clear glue to hold it together just enough to put back into the frame. The options for repairing it are to:
- simply glue the pieces together leaving the seams less obvious
- apply copper foil along the broken seams.
If the foil is left “as is”, it will result in something a bit like the effect of Kintsugi, a Japanese technique for repairing ceramics with gold leaf.
If the copper foil is soldered, and a patina applied, the seams will blend in to be more like the frame.
Stage one – disassembly
Once the glass came out of the frame, it revealed a pretty paper lining. It’s a fragment of a medieval oil painting showing a graceful young woman in a lovely dress. It’s a shame that the maker cut off her head.
Stage two – glue
There was a splinter of mirror about the size of a 5p coin that could be fitted back in. On the first go, the glue hadn’t quite set yet. It came loose when I tried to put the mirror back into the frame.
Stage three – repaired with copper foil
In the final piece (not shown), I applied a patina of copper sulphate to the foil to give it a more antiqued look. This removed the shine and made it a little bit of a closer match to the original metalwork.