Just because a concrete gnome, birdbath or urn is broken, doesn't mean you have to throw it away. A perfectly sound repair can be made, leaving no sign that it was ever broken.
Clean any dust or loose debris from the break. Ensure that the item to be glued is perfectly dry, and then offer the broken pieces up to each other to ensure you know how they will fit together once you have applied the adhesive. The glue you are going to use is PVA glue straight from the tin/tube.
Apply the glue to both sides of the break and press together.
Wipe off any surplus glue that oozes out of the joint with a damp cloth.
Secure loose pieces. In the event that the break is in such a place that the glued join cannot just be left, for fear of it separating, then either prop the repaired item up against something solid or secure the broken pieces with adhesive tape. Now leave the piece for at least 24 hours in a dry atmosphere.
Hide the joint. If the break was clean, it is possible that the joint will not be easy to see, but in the event that the joint is obvious, then the following steps can be taken to hide the joint.
Mix a solution of water and PVA to the proportions two thirds water to one third PVA glue (by volume). Stir well and paint the solution onto the immediate area of the joint. Mix more than you need because you are going to use the same solution when mixing the cement.
Allow this to soak into the cement for a few moments. Next, mix as much cement as you think you will need, with the two thirds/one third solution, until the cement is pliable (a bit like "Play dough") and not runny.
Paint a little two thirds/one third solution on the joint. Smooth the "Play dough" mixture onto the joint with your fingers, chamfering the edges to almost nothing. Run a wet paint brush over the chamfered edges until there is no hint of a joint.
Leave the cement to dry. Use one of the various decorating methods available (see author's other articles). An alternative to decorating is to apply cement to the entire item. Please see the author's article entitled Artificially Aging Concrete.
Clive is an established part-time freelance writer of illustrated articles for magazines.
He was a manufacturer of concrete garden ornaments but has since retired.
There are a number of related articles on decorating and repairing concrete; see author's other articles.