Mending: Broken Glass

The story of two seemingly hopeless items and how they were repaired

Elbow + Chemex

Kyle discovered coffee soon after we married. It started with a demand for caffeine and grew into a full blown love affair with the process. The Chemex was his first brew system. He loved it, cared for it, washed it regularly, and always told me to stay away because I might break it.

It was a sad day indeed when the Chemex finally met its maker. However, it wasn’t any of my flailing limbs that did it in. Someone else’s elbow knocked the drying Chemex over on the dish rack. Kyle has missed it ever since.

I saw the Chemex, expecting it to be shattered, but I saw it and was filled with hope. Only one piece had been removed from its award-winning figure. “I can fix this” I thought to myself, just like the Japanese would fix cracked pottery with gold, I can make this Chemex even more amazing.


Lofty goals.

Ladder + Bedroom Door

Kyle and I live in a weird house. An early 1900’s single family home turned duplex. What once was the kitchen is now our bedroom…it has two entrances…with textured glass panes on both doors. (Weird)

After hours of debating if we could stand the sage green bedroom walls for one more second, we finally decided that, even though we were renters, we could fork over some cash to paint one room. Our tall friend was crucial for reaching top of the 12 foot walls, he was also a little clumsy. We awoke to a crash one night. It wasn’t a break in, but a ladder that met the glass part of our bedroom door with a smash. Frightened, shocked, and confused, we realized our ladder placement was horrible. Our friend briefly brushed it with a shoulder and caused the ladder to lose all balance. The glass pane was a goner.

Mending Broken Glass

I headed to my favorite place in the world – Perennial, my local community workshop and crafting haven. They’re all about fixing broken things and reusing materials. I knew they could set me up with someone who could solve my shattered problems.

Amazingly, they had the exact textured glass for our bedroom door in storage. A little corner was missing, so I learned how to solder to add a bit of stained glass. Now it truly is more beautiful than before.


The Chemex has a happy ending too, after learning how to grind glass, I could successfully solder the broken pieces together to make a water tight seal. The solder is lead free, so it’s safe to use on things like coffee brew systems and pipes. Now all I have to do is convince Kyle that this Chemex is even better than its old self.


I followed this tutorial for soldering glass pendants. It’s so helpful. My glass items would still be broke without it.

Glass Reflections

I postponed these mends for a number of months. Partly because I’m a grad student and semesters are always busy, but also because I was afraid of glass. I had no idea how to solder, no idea if fixing glass was an option, and no clue how to fix a glass pane in a door.

I probably could have made it easier: like supergluing the chemix. But soldering adds so much beauty.

With a little direction and the right tools, both of these tasks were quite simple. Now I want to repair all the broken glass and ceramics!

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