Five Crafts Using Broken Glass

Glass is one of few materials that can be recycled an infinite number of times, but, for crafters, it also has the potential to be reused in artistic applications. In all its incarnations -- fine glassware, throw-away bottles, ornaments, mirrors or windowpanes -- glass is beautiful yet breakable. Use caution while sweeping up the pieces, but save those shards to use as a surprising element in your next craft project.

Tumble Shards Into Sea Glass

Things You'll Need

  • Rock tumbler

  • Ceramic pellets

  • Sand or grit

If you have or can borrow a rock tumbler, use it to turn broken pieces of glass into handfuls of faux sea glass, an attractive craft supply or ornament in its own right. The gentle, continuous abrasion of ceramic pellets and sand or grit, which are tumbled along with the glass pieces for up to several days, mimic the natural processes by which sea glass is formed. The resulting pieces lose their sharp edges and develop a frosted facade. Use them in jewelry-making, to fill vases or cover soil in potted plants. Larger, flatter pieces also make stunning substrates for photo transfers.

Broken Bottle Vases

Things You'll Need

  • Glass cutter

  • Candle

  • Sandpaper

If you accidentally break the neck of a glass bottle, such as a wine bottle or old-fashioned soda bottle, turn it into a vase using a glass-cutting tool and sandpaper. Score a straight line around the perimeter of the bottle, underneath the break, with the cutter. If you apply heat to the score line with a candle and immediately plunge the bottle in ice water, it should break cleanly into two pieces. Wear heavy, protective gloves and keep your hands well away from the broken edges at all times. Work the cut edges with medium-grit, then fine-grit sandpaper, until the glass is smooth and safe to the touch. This might take some time, but don't stop until the edges are truly smooth and have a slightly rounded shape to them.

Glass and Mirror Mosaic Crafts

Flat pieces of shattered glass and mirrors, whether used alone or alongside colored tiles, give shimmer and shine to mosaic crafts. Arrange the pieces around a picture frame, flowerpot or even a whole tabletop, and stick them in place with glue or tile adhesive. Fill the gaps between the pieces with grout, making sure to thoroughly embed any sharp edges. Piece a whole broken mirror back together on a backing board to turn bad luck into an unusual item of decor.

A Beautiful Bell Jar

Things You'll Need

  • File

  • Sandpaper

  • Hot glue gun

  • Thick rope

The flimsy stems on wine glasses are easily snapped, but don't discard the remaining top part of a broken glass. Make the broken stem as safe as possible by filing and sanding its sharp edges; then add hot glue and wrap a spiral of thick rope around the stub. Form the rope into a loop at the top as a handle for the upside-down wine glass, which you've transformed into a small bell jar. Use the jar as a cover for a cupcake or saucer of sweets; encapsulate a few whimsical ornaments like a snow globe; or assemble some miniature succulents under the glass to fashion a terrarium.

Make Your Own Glitter

Things You'll Need

  • Paper or plastic bags

  • Hammer or rolling pin

  • White glue

  • Clear baubles

No matter how carefully you pack them, the thin, fine glass used to make hanging baubles is a common casualty of the holiday season. Gather these broken baubles -- carefully -- and crush them into fine glitter with which you can decorate other intact ornaments. Contain broken pieces in heavy paper or plastic bags and crush them gently with a hammer or rolling pin until they turn into a pile of tiny, glitter-size fragments. The edges remain sharp, so use the glitter wisely. Pour white glue inside a clear glass bauble and sprinkle the glitter in to coat its insides. Combine the glitter with a clear resin coating for jewelry and other sparkly trinkets.


Wear protective gloves, eye protection and use extreme caution when working with broken glass.

Use tools, such as tweezers, instead of your fingers to pick up broken glass pieces whenever possible.

Work outside if you can; otherwise, thoroughly wipe down and vacuum your work area when you're done.

References & Resources