The first decision for those interested in statue restoration ought to be pretty straightforward. There are numerous companies and individuals available ready to do a professional restoring job, and at a reasonable price. But one might prefer to do the work oneself, and doing so isn't as difficult as it might appear.
Generally, we aren't raised knowing how to fix cracked statuary. They aren't like cars, which everyone grows up knowing will require attention now and then. Further, our favorite plaster Virgin or Ganesha brings with it an expectation of perfect beauty, far beyond what might be expected of the glue job we would give a broken cup handle.
Beyond the matter of expense and convenience, performing one's own repair work can be a loving engagement with a statue far beyond what is possible when just gazing upon it on the mantelpiece. If it is a religious piece, the effort can be a kind of sacred offering or meditation. No doubt this was the motive behind many of those who have turned professional.
As with anything, there is a series of steps to be performed in sequence of steps to follow. The first step is to buy or find some rubber cement, or other liquid cement. Use this to set the broken pieces, attaching them to the statue. This is all that would be necessary for common coffee cup. Use a brush to apply the shellac, then use tape to physically hold the pieces together.
It should take about a half hour for the cement to dry enough that the tape can be removed. There will be small bulges left from what was squeezed up from the cemented crack. Use sandpaper or simply a fingernail to scrape off excess so that the surface is smooth rather than bumpy.
Next, it will be necessary to thoroughly water-proof the areas along the surface that have now been cemented together but aren't painted. Unfortunately, paint won't be sufficient to prevent water absorption, whether from cleaning or simple humidity given enough time. It goes without saying when it comes to statuary meant for the outdoors.
Just a single coat of shellac should be enough to water-proof any indoor statue. Add a second coat if the piece is meant for outdoors, just for the sake of extra security. The shellac will not have the duty of keeping the statue from falling apart, but it will still require an hour's wait till it is dry.
Hands and especially faces will call for fine detailing, requiring a small brush and acrylic paint. Once the paint dries the piece should look just as it did before whatever accident befell it, and can be put back in its old spot in the garden or on the mantelpiece. Statue restoration doesn't take much time or work, and just as the broken pieces are bonded together a fresh bond will have been created between owner and image.
If you are looking for professional statue restoration click here. You can see examples of our work when you visit the home page of Cavalier Conservation & Restoration at http://www.cavalierconservationsculpture.com now.