How to Make Broken Glass Smooth for Jewelry

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Reproduce nature's process for smoothing broken glass.
Reproduce nature's process for smoothing broken glass. (Image: sea glass image by Patrick Moyer from Fotolia.com)

Normally, broken glass is considered to be, at best, trash and a nuisance and, at worst, something that's potentially dangerous due to its sharp edges. However, even as trash, many colored glasses possess enough beauty to be desirable as a fixture for a piece of homemade jewelry. By grinding down the sharp and serrated edges of a piece of broken glass, you can transform it into something smooth enough to be handled or turned into a work of wearable art.

Things You'll Need

  • Broken glass piece
  • Vise grips
  • Soft leather scrap
  • Oscillating power tool with diamond-coated grinding bit

Wash the glass carefully. This will remove any smaller shards or dust of broken glass, as well as any dirt or residue from food or beverage that might have once been in the glass container.

Grip the glass in vise grips. Wrap half the piece of glass in a small piece of leather, then adjust the vise grips so that they'll tightly grip the glass through the leather; this way, you can get a firm hold without breaking the glass.

Smooth the glass. Use an oscillating power tool with a diamond-coated grinding attachment and set it at medium speed. Hold the vise grips with the glass in your secondary hand and use the tool to grind the glass with your primary hand. Grind down all the sharp edges, then run the grinder over the entire surface of the glass to even out the texture and make it uniform.

Dust off the glass and re-work any areas you missed.

Rotate the glass in the vise grips so that the part you haven't yet worked on is exposed. Grind this in the same way you did the other half of the piece.

Tips & Warnings

  • Grinding glass in this manner creates glass with a frosted appearance, like sea glass. If you prefer your glass to be clear, finish with a coat of spray varnish.
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