Sea glass in plant containers, memory boxes or jars creating shelf displays brings back vacation memories, and the frosted bits can make beautiful pendants for jewelry. If you don’t live near the beach or just don’t have time to explore the seashore, you can create faux sea glass. You can even turn empty throw-away bottles into beachy vases with that sea glass appearance.
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Tumble Broken Glass Pieces
Most sea glass has been tossed around enough in saltwater and sand to round the edges and give the flat surfaces a frosted appearance. The easiest way to achieve that look in your faux glass is with a rock tumbler.
Things You'll Need
- Scrap glass
- Cardboard box
- Safety goggles
- Rock tumbler
- Coarse grit for tumbler
- Playground sand
- Pea gravel
For the best results, you need glass that is about 1/4 inch thick; thinner glass will become too brittle to work with when it has been tumbled. If you are starting with larger pieces or bottles, place them in the cardboard box and cover them with newspaper. Put on your safety goggles -- the newspaper will help keep the glass in place, but there could still be flying fragments. Use the hammer to smash the glass into 1- to 2-inch pieces.
Next fill the barrel of the tumbler about half to two-thirds full. It's important to maintain the optimal fill level; check the manufacturer’s instructions to be sure of the correct level.
Add the coarse grit, a couple of tablespoons of sand and a handful of gravel. Cover everything with water.
Tumble the glass for 24 hours, and then check to see how it looks. Continue to tumble it for two to four more days or until it has the rounded edges and frosted look you like.
Lift the glass out of the barrel and lay it on old towels or paper towels to dry. If you want to reuse the scouring mixture, pour it into a lidded jar for storage.
Do not pour the scouring mixture down the sink -- it can clog or damage the plumbing.
Turn Your Glass Into Jewelry
With a little wire, a pair of pliers, and a chain, silk cord or ribbon, you can turn your faux sea glass into a one-of-a-kind necklace.
Things You'll Need
- 18-gauge jewelry wire
- Chain-nose pliers
- Flat-nose pliers
- Side cutters
- 6 mm jump ring
Jewelry chain, silk cord or 1/8-inch ribbon
Unwrap 12 to 18 inches of wire, but do not cut the wire from the spool.
Hold the end of the wire against the back of the glass. You only need 1/2 inch, or enough to be able to hold it in place.
Wrap the wire around the glass several times, moving from the bottom to the top.
At the top, make a wrapped loop, using the two sets of pliers, before wrapping the wire around the glass a couple more times to get back to the starting point.
Clip the wire, leaving about 1/2 inch. Twist the ends together.
Add a drop of jeweler’s glue on the twist for security, if you choose.
Open the jump ring and thread it through the wire loop. Close the ring.
Thread the chain, ribbon or cord through the jump ring. Tie the cord or ribbon ends or, if you are using chain, add a clasp with jump rings to the ends.
Painting Bottles for Sea-Glass Vases
Instead of throwing away drink bottles, recycle them into single-stem flower vases with a little glue and food coloring, and bring the beach into your home at the same time.
Things You'll Need
- Waxed or parchment paper
- Decoupage medium
- Food coloring
- Small container
- Empty glass bottles
Cover your work surface with waxed or parchment paper, shiny side up.
Mix a few drops of food coloring into the decoupage medium in the small container. Remember that the color will dry a little darker than it seems in the bowl.
Pick up a little paint with the brush and sweep down the bottle. The paint will look streaky while it’s still wet. That’s okay -- it will dry to a smooth appearance.
Continue to cover the bottle with the glue paint, taking care not to overlap or paint over what you’ve already done.
Allow the glue to dry. If needed, paint the bottle a second time. Remember, you want the color to be translucent -- you should be able to see through it.
Substitute equal parts white craft glue and water for the decoupage medium.