Thursday, August 26, 2010

How to Tumble Glass to Make Faux Sea Glass

By on Thursday, August 26, 2010 9 Comments

Many people loved the sea glass sculpture feature designer post I wrote earlier in the week. One reader then commented on one of my past sea glass post links that she is landlocked. The only way for her to get sea glass was to buy some. However, she planned to tumble glass herself to make some faux sea glass.

It's an excellent solution. Use colored bottle glass, scraps from stained glass work - heck, maybe the porcelain dish you broke last week. Or even real sea glass that's not weathered enough.

If the bottle needs to be broken up into pieces, you can either wrap it in a towel and hammer away or use ceramic tile snips. The latter can be used to trim pieces to your liking too. Another thing, it takes several hours or even up to a day of continuous tumbling.

See the picture above? That's what the result will look like. Breezily Way's tutorial explains how she created her tumbled glass pieces with just a child's rock tumbler and coarse grinding powder.

Tara Dodrill on eHOW uses exactly the two elements which produce real sea glass - water and sand - to not only smooth the sharp edges but achieve that frosted look. Tara recommends masonry sand not play sand. The instructions are rather confusing but I never thought ice-cream making machines could also be used as tumblers!

Randy Smith's contribution on the Ganoksin Project site includes his tumbling media - a handful of pea gravel, a handful of sand and 1 cup of 600 grit powder.

Some gardeners and landscape designers like tumbled glass as a mulch which won't decompose away. Slugs also don't like it. Or the pretty recycled glass could be used to add color to garden structures like fountains. One enthusiast posted a brief and noisy video of her cement mixer in action bulk tumbling glass for her flower beds! Her video posting includes a description of how they did it with tips on noise reduction!

If you do a Google Image Search for "glass mulch" as I did, there are just pages and pages of the most gorgeous recycled glass landscape designs to drool over. So now you have even more ideas than just jewelry making!


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9 comments:

  1. This is a great blog. I never knew you could make sea glass. I learn something new each day from the Beading Gem.

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  2. This is awsome! I'm passing it along to my husband that has access to black glass. It's a byproduct at his work that is treated as trash. He's been looking for something to do with it.

    Thanks so much for the post!

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  3. Y'know when I read that post I wondered the same thing - if you could tumble your own glass. But glass mulch?? Amazing!

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  4. That glass mulch IS amazing! WOW! I'm lovin' ALL of the sea glass posts Pearl!!

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  5. BTW. One AboutJewelry forum member says she uses water and beach sand in her tumbler and it works great!

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  6. I remember seeing glass used as garden mulch in some high end Modern Homes years ago but had completely forget about it. It is a cool concept! The only problem I see is trying to keep it separate from the soil. Mulch always tends to work it's way into the soil, even if you have a barrier of some kind. I think it a great idea for pots but on a large scale, could become a bit of a pain.

    Love the idea of tumbling pottery. Have quite a bit saved from mosaic days. I can see a lot of potential for combining tumbled pottery and china in jewelry. Now you've got my mind turning Pearl!

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  7. Glass mulch or pebbles also have the issue of leaf litter etc on them which means one has to remove them.

    Glad your mind is turning, Cindy! That's the whole idea of this blog - to get our collective creative juices going!

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  8. More great tutorials. My list of things I want to do just keeps growing since I found your wonderful blog.
    Thank you,

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