Creating Beautiful Sea Glass Jewelry

I recently came from a short beach vacation in Asia. I saw a lot of beautiful things made from crafts pass down from
one generation. The older generation seems to make it a point to teach their kids important crafts to be self sufficient and continue what they have learn. I saw hundreds of beautiful handmade objects inside their houses. I saw beautiful baskets weaved from wild vines called “nitu” which seems to only grow in certain part of South East Asia.

In my travels I happened to bump into big family of fishermen who where strangely collecting glass. They were very particular
with the glass they were collecting and I just had to ask them what they intent to do with it. After strugling to communicate
they finally satisfied my interest by showing me their small sea glass workshop.

What I saw was an entire family working together making all sort of sea glass jewelry. Starting from creating the sea glass itself
by putting some chuck of assorted glass inside a net and letting the ocean waves create the natural frosted effect we love. I also
saw  mixture of natural volcanic glass being naturally weathered to create beautiful pieces of art.

The whole process of the entire family working on the same craft is beautiful, I know its something that rarely exist nowadays. I intend to  recreate the process of making sea glass with my kids in California. I can’t recreate the process of putting glass on nets since its simply not safe for swimmers in my area. I intend to use a small rotary tumbler to make sea glass.

Bellow is a lit of materials your going to need:
1. Small Rotary Tumbler ( I got one from my local craft store around $40)
2. Beach Sand 2 Cups
3. Assorted Glass (colored glass comes out really nice)
4. Sand Paper
5. Saftey mask, glasses and gloves

Before you start this project, you need to make sure you do this outdoors or with a room with lots of ventilation. Working with glass
requires some proper handling and attention.

Step 1

Segregate your broken  glass into two piles, the first pile are glass with sharp corners and another with round corners. You will
need to sand off a the sharp corners with a wet sandpaper. Water is there to  stop any glass particles from flying. Discard any glass that requires too much sanding unless you reall want to keep that glass. Keep the glass with rounded corners as is, we are going to start tumbling with that pile.

Step 2

Mix water and beach or river sand inside your tumbler. The consistency should be like your cooking rice or enough to keep the sand wet. Put in the first pile of glass, I usually start with the rounded corners.

Step 3

Turn on your tumbler on to the lowest setting. You need to keep stick to the right speed to keep any glass from breaking off. You want to stimulate the effects of the waves pushing your glass to the sand. The tumbling process usually last from 4 to 6 hours. But in some cases it make be double depending on the glass. I notice old wine bottles need more time and the longest I have tried was around 24 hours but the results were really good.

Step 4

After finishing the tumbling process you need to inspect your finished sea glass to make sure theres nothing sharp. After this, I would then start with the second pile of glass with the sharp corners. This process takes more time and can usually last for more than 24 hours. Dont be discourage if you don’t the finished  them right away.

This whole process of making sea glass does take some time but the end results is worth it. I usually use fimo or beading wire to hold the sea glass in place. However you intent to use your sea glass its going to be a great conversation piece.

One comment

  • October 5, 2012 - 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Great article. I collected some beach glass. Since everybody started recycling, it is not easy to find beach glass now a days. You give the idea to make them. thanks.

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