Introduction: Amazing, Cheap & Easy, Cracked Gems & Marbles. for Fantasy & Crafts.

Hello, In this video I am going to show you how to make absolutely stunning Cracked Gems and Marbles for Fantasy Props like for Dungeons and Dragons. Or crafts like Necklaces or Rings. These also can make great Vase fillers, or pseudo gems for kids games so long as they are old enough to play with them safely.

Above, below the video is a few photos that you will show you my results from the method I demonstrate in the video. Thank you for watching!!

If you don't wish to watch the video which I do recommend to get the best explanation and demonstration of this method possible, please continue through the next few pages for a written explanation.

Step 1: Materials and Pre Heating.

Picture of Materials and Pre Heating.

What you'll need:
-Transparent Marbles or other Roundish Transparant glass like Vase Gems.
-An Oven.
-Cool water.
-Ice (Optional.)
-Salt (Optional.)

-Heat resistant gloves (Recommended.)
-Or Tweezers/Tongs that the hot Glass can be safely picked up with, and dropped into the cool water.

Hello all It is of course me TrollFaceTheMan, and today I am going to show you how to turn ordinary marbles or Flat Glass Rounds also called Glass Gems into extraordinary mock Precocious Stones. For crafts or otherwise.

This process is extremely simple and will just require some Transparent Glass Marbles or Glass Gems along with a Bowl of Ice Cold Water, and an oven. Heat resistant gloves such as Welders gloves or the humble oven mitt will be a good Idea too, but if you don't have that In the least you'll need some tweezers or tongs to grab the hot Glass.

Basically step 1 is we are going to preheat our over between 250-500f or 121-260c, as a forewarning there is a serious risk of burns here if done unsafely. So any kids that might be reading please do this with a Parent or Guardians supervision.

When it is heated up we can add our Marbles or Flat Glass Rounds into the oven in a heat safe dish. And let them Bake for about 30 minutes.

Step 2: Readying the Bath

Picture of Readying the Bath

While they are cooking you can get a large bowl and fill it with cold water, Ice is a good idea but not 100% necessary for this. But you want to definitely have about 5x the volume of water than the amount of glass you are cooking to ensure it the water stays cool when you put the marbles in it.

If you do add ice, adding a few spoonfuls of salt will help melt the ice and make the bath even cooler, and basically the cooler it gets the better it'll work. Cooking at higher temperatures will also produce better results.

Once the 30 minutes are up, and the cold bath ready we can finally progress, which will be adding the Glass to the Cold bath. But before we do I want to give a warning, there is an extremely small chance that the Glass may pop when in contact with the water. Because of this I recommend safety glasses during this step. I've so far done about 200 of these though and had no issues.

Step 3: Quenching the Marbles

Picture of Quenching the Marbles

If you have Heat Resistant gloves you may be able to just take the dish of marbles and poor them directly into the Cold Water. Be careful, though they help a lot, most gloves will only give you maybe 10-15 seconds before they start getting too hot to hold at 500F or 260c.

After dropping it in the water let the glass sit in the dish for about 1 minute, by then they should be cool enough to handle and you can pick them up and appreciate the fractures you have generated.

This is a very cool way to turn basic marbles into something more interesting. I'll show you the Gems in a second as they turn out pretty cool too.

But before that if you do not have Heat Resistant Gloves, it's quite simple to still do this, although tedious. You can use tongs or tweezers to transfer the hot marbles one or a few at a time to the cold water. Be extremely careful not to drop them on yourself or your floor as they will burn stuff.

Here is a few shots so you can see the reaction as it's put into the water. Basically what we are doing is exploiting a phenomenon called Thermal Shock, when we put the glass into the oven and heated it, it expanded slightly but because it was done over a long period of time it expanded evenly and thereby stayed intact.

However when we chill it by forcing it into the ice bath the outside of the glass cools rapidly and contracts inward while the center of the glass remains expanded. The amount of pressure the contracting outer layer of glass exerts on the expanded inner layer causes the inner layer to fracture due to extreme stress.

This results in an amazingly unblemished outer layer of marble, yet a comply shattered inner layer.

Step 4: Quenching the Gems

Picture of Quenching the Gems

Let's try the glass gems now, It's the same process. And you can see they turn out quite stunning too, maybe even better than the marbles. Now the reason this actually works is because of the semi rounded structure of the marbles and glass gems allow for all the pressure to be pulled inward much like a Ruphert's Drop. If however they were not rounded, then they most likely would just break into pieces on contact with the water.

You can see a few pictures I grabbed and how stunning these can actually look. Now another warning I wish to give is a lot of those colored glass gems are not actually colored glass but a plastic layer on the glass. This of course will not work as it'll burn during the heating process.

You can test this by carefully scratching the surface with a knife and seeing if there is any plastic on it, or breaking a bead in half and seeing if the inside is transparent. The plastic coated ones tends to not feel so cold to the touch either.

Many people use these for faux gems in makeshift jewelry, such as earnings or especially necklaces. Or other crafts. And they really can be quite stunning.

One of my personal applications for this though is going to be stand in physical gems for Dungeons and Dragons games I Dungeon Master for or possibly other table top games.

Step 5: Epilogue

Picture of Epilogue

Well anyways guys, thank you for reading this Instructable. And if you haven't already, please watch the video on the main page to see even more cool shots I took of some of the awesome gems I made. And if you like it please hit the Like button, It means a lot to me. Also please share this with at least one other person you know if you would. You guys sharing helps this channel grow.

And drop me a comment if you have any questions or would like to just say hi, I appreciate it! And lastly thank you to my awesome Patreons who's support helped buy the supplies for this project, you guys are awesome.

And if any of you out there are interested in also supporting and getting access to certain videos early and credits after main vids here is a link to my page:

Thanks again for watching. And... Bye!!


nc_notary (author)2017-11-07

Great idea! Gonna try this asap! I call Jalapeños, Ju-lap-e-noes, Burritos are Burro-toes, Muffins are Moofins. I crack myself up even if no one else thinks I'm funny.

Let me know how it turns out :)

Jane Ward (author)2017-11-09

Cool, we are so going to try this

jeanniel1 (author)2017-11-05

Faux = pronounced, "foe" - those bad spelling French!

You are correct.

itsmescotty (author)2017-11-03

This was a reminder of a time in my adolescen quest for knowledge when people couldn't answer my questions

Seem to remember using a propane torch and one marble at a time - results weren't always as pretty as yours and catastrophic at times. That torch was an amazing 'teacher' in my younger years!

I was curious as to what a torch might do also. Wonder how the Leidenfrost effect might affect cooling?

dsegel (author)2017-11-02

Cool trick.... But did you say "fox" gems? Faux is a French word, pronounced like "foe".

TrollFaceTheMan (author)dsegel2017-11-02

You are correct on this and though I knew this at the time of recording it slipped my mind.

I have a habit that I typically pronounce words exactly as they are spelled Like Home Depot or Jalapeno because It tends to bug other people and I find it slightly humorous when they try and correct me thinking that I actually think it is the Home De*Pot, Jal*la*pen*o or such.

For This though I genuinely just didn't even think about it during recording.

Not going to lie, I know it is wrong but I do like the sound of the improper pronunciation more XD

wish there was a 'like' button for comments!



Well said, so do i.

thormj (author)TrollFaceTheMan2017-11-02

That's ok, I order hamburgers with Japalenos on them!

srilyk (author)dsegel2017-11-02

I was going to say the same thing :D

TrollFaceTheMan (author)srilyk2017-11-02

About fox over foe?

jvandeyacht (author)2017-11-03

Omg, people... first off, it is not the writers responsibility to give safety lessons. The isles would be stupid long because there are a lot of dumb people out there.
How many 10 year olds are doing stuff from ibles without a parent supervision? If your kid does something dumb and gets hurt it is your fault as a parent, NOT THE WRITERS.
I do horrifically dangerous stuff all the time. I know my limits and my tools. I have videos of making spiral wood legs using a dado tablesaw with out a fence or any safety items including gloves. I wear eye pro only and I cut from the back side of the saw.
That breaks every rule there is, I share how I do it. This is a learning site where people can showcase their creations and how they made their items.
This is not a place to cover every safety concern there is.
Should you ‘choose’ to try my technique, it is your responsibility to know your tools, your responsibility to know your limits and your responsibility to choose what safety equipment you feel that you need.
If you get hurt doing my technique then it is all on YOU, not me. I don’t care what you use, I’m only showing how I did it.
Lay off the writers with all of your safety ass comments and appreciate the writers kick butt awesome idea and thank them for the time spent putting this ible together to share with your unappreciative ass.
Damn, it’s people like you safety hawks who make these cool guys say screw it, if I’m going to get blasted by dumb people, I just won’t share and then this site dies.
If you don’t like how the writer does it, move on, if you haven’t contributed- shut your pie hole up.
TrollFaceTheMan .. your the man. This is pretty cool. I’ve done this before but in a much more scary way. It’s fun to make the ‘jewels’ for pirate treasure.
Thank you for sharing, and ignore these stupid fools with this safety and blowing up crap, I’ve used torches to heat mine one at a time and never had one blow up either, only splatter some water if I didn’t drop them in fast enough.

Jvandeyacht thank you, I am glad you liked the Instructable, and I do appreciate your support. But in all fairness it has only been the one individual that has been making a big deal about anything.

And honestly I don't mind someone saying "Hey, I think it'd be a good idea to focus a bit more on safety in your videos if you can." What I don't like is people acting very pretentious and condescending about it which I feel has occurred in this situation.

Anyways thank you again, and if you don't mind liking the video and favoriting the Instructable I'd appreciate it :)

snowf7 (author)2017-11-02

Hi TrollFaceTheMan; When moving the marbles quickly from the heat to the ice bath, a kitchen frying spider might help. It is a stainless steel bowl shaped strainer or slotted spoon on a long handle.

TrollFaceTheMan (author)snowf72017-11-02

You are right, that may not be too bad of an idea.

ncdave4life (author)2017-11-02

Re: "...a warning, there is an extremely small chance that the Glass may pop when in contact with the water. Because of this I recommend safety glasses during this step."

"Recommend" is too weak. The hazard is not "extremely small." The risk is substantial, and safety glasses are essential. You should NEVER attempt this process without them!

itsmescotty (author)ncdave4life2017-11-02

and I'm sure you put on knee and elbow protection along with your bike helmet when you step into your thermally protected shower with the nonskid floor and multiple grab bars, to lessen the impact should you fall.

snowf7 (author)itsmescotty2017-11-02

Hi Scotty; I laughed so hard, I nearly wet myself. I know that safety precautions are not something to joke about, but when a good joke comes along it is hard not to laugh anyway.

dan3008 (author)ncdave4life2017-11-02

While I have to agree you should always wear safety glasses when doing this kind of thing, I just did it with 131 marbles (thats how many were in the bag I got for cheep) and none exploded. so I would say its a extremely small chance of happening. That said, if it does go wrong, its a high risk of injurty

TrollFaceTheMan (author)dan30082017-11-02

Thanks Dan, did you by chance do it after seeing this Instructable? And if so could you please click the "I made it button?"

I would appreciate it :P

dan3008 (author)TrollFaceTheMan2017-11-02

I did. I will be doing the "I made it" as soon as I find my camera lol

TrollFaceTheMan (author)dan30082017-11-02

Cool! Looking forward to seeing :]

You say that but while testing different Heats, and baths and what I've done since then, I have made about 1,500 of them and still have had no issues.

If not even 1 in 1500 has popped in any violent way so far, so I would say the chances are pretty slim. Not substantial.

Even still, if you wish to recommend stronger wording, then that's fine.

But in the least understand that before I give a lax safety recommendation I do so with stringent testing.

You should be looking at hundreds of other videos on this subject and notice how they don't even recommend them at all.

But still I wish to ask, have you done this before and had stuff pop and wish to present it as anecdotal evidence? I am Open eared.

You assume that all marbles are pretty much the same. Your marbles probably all came from just a few batches, from just a few manufacturers. If you could guarantee that everyone's marbles were the same as yours, and that everyone's thermal shocking procedures were like yours, then your could, perhaps, say that there's an "extremely small" chance of a marble shattering catastrophically.

But that isn't the case.

It would be an awful thing if someone would to douse an oversized "glassy" boulder, made of a different kind of glass than yours, in a icy bath that didn't quite cover it, and it shattered and shot glass shards into his eyes.

Please don't take that risk.

"If you could guarantee that everyone's marbles were the same as yours, and that everyone's thermal shocking procedures were like yours, then your could, perhaps, say that there's an "extremely small" chance of a marble shattering catastrophically."

I can't guarantee that everyone has the same oven as me so should I warn People that their oven could catch on fire and burn down their house in the video too?

I mean I really don't know what you want, I tested over and over again and never had and issue. Many others tested and never had issues either.

Even that aside, I said there is an extremely small chance and I recommend safety glasses. Which most people don't even have the courtesy to warn of.

I didn't say "There isn't any chance at all and you don't need safety glasses..."

Which is kind of what I feel you are acting as if.

I also specificly say that kids should only do this with an adult.

And honestly as of right now you haven't provided and evidence anecdotal or otherwise to the contrary of my warning.

And truth be told the physics really doesn't support the marble exploding and Shooting glass everywhere.

The most likely place for the marble to pop a fragment out is going to be the point the water first touches it which will always be the bottom.

Meaning any fragments are likely to fly down and not up. And most of those won't do it with much energy at all.

As a matter of fact when doing this I had maybe 2 dozen marbles break when dropping them in the water, all they did was split into 2-3 pieces and fall apart.

The only time I could see a danger of marble fragments flying off is if somebody tries pouring cool water on top of the hot marbles.

Which I never said to do, and frankly it is not my responsibility to baby everyone and make sure I warn about every different scenario possible.

Like I said, I clearly warn individuals of the risk, and recommend safety glasses. If they make a decision to not listen then that is their own choice :/

Shirleyruthrodriguez (author)2017-11-02

Hola! Lo hicimos! Mi hijo y yo, allá por los noventa. Se jugaba un juego con bolitas, él tenía toda una colección y una gran vsriedad de ellas. Aparecieron entonces éstas craqueladas, y decidimos hacerlas en casa. El procedimiento que usamos fue el que describes, y el resultado... Maravilloso!! No sé bien cuál de los dos estaba más entusiasmado !! Adoré recordarlo!! Gracias!!

No hablo español. Tuve que usar Google Translate. Me alegra saber que te gustó el proyecto y me trajo buenos recuerdos. Gracias por dejar caer un comentario.

sgtslag (author)2017-11-02

I did this back in the late 60's/early 70's, with my grandmother. We just heated them in the oven, then poured the cookie sheet full of them into the sink, filled with cold water. No muss, no fuss, and never a thought about safety glasses. I remember a very few crumbling -- very few. We glued them together, making small poodle dogs using around nine per dog figure, with felt lips/ears/tails (red/brown or black). They sat on shelves as decorations for around 15 years. A very few cracked, and fell apart, but usually that only happened when we dropped them.

The idea of using them as gem props, for D&D games is great. I can think of a number of uses for these. I never thought about using the flattened glass beads my sons used in their Mage Knight/Pokemon games... They really are quite nice looking. Could possibly be used as eyes for paper mache' dragons, as well. Love the faux jewelry examples, also. Cheers!

TrollFaceTheMan (author)sgtslag2017-11-02

Thank you very much for the comment and suggestions as to what else this can be used for, and I am glad you liked it :)

Foxtrot70 (author)2017-11-02

This is nothing new. When I was 11 or 12 about 1963 we did this very same thing using a skillet to heat the marbles. Since one side was on the hot skillet the other side exposed to the ambient air the marbles would crack in the pan. We would then use them in crafts of all sort. Great Instructable revisiting a retro Arts & Crafts item.

Mark 42 (author)Foxtrot702017-11-02

We did this in the late 60's or early 70's when I was a kid, but we poured cold marbles into boiling water. I'd imagine the results are the same - but they may just be similar but not exactly the same... the note that temperature variation changes the size of the cracks leads me to think what we were doing is the same as some of the results here.

TrollFaceTheMan (author)Mark 422017-11-02

Interesting, never heard of doing it that way but it makes sense.

Eh Lie Us! (author)Foxtrot702017-11-02

It's new to me. Your comment would be different if you omitted "This is nothing new."

You are correct it isn't new, but out of the videos and guides I've seen so far I never seen one actually explain why they can crack the way they do without breaking.

Also as a photographer I love the ability to take pictures of these and show them off.

And the other thing that I never heard discussed before with this topic is the use of these as Prop gems for D&D or otherwise.

Thanks for the comment :]

sgbotsford (author)2017-11-02

Under what conditions does this create internal fractures, instead of the piece of glass just shattering.

Rounded glass, if the Glass is rounded or at least semi rounded the stress is pulled inward much like Rupert's drop.

If it is flat, the Glass will most likely just crumble.

s52e36 (author)TrollFaceTheMan2017-11-02

Sadly these are nothing like a prince rupert's drop. A prince rupert's drop gains it's strength from the outside skin of a molten drop of glass cooling (and shrinking) more rapidly than the inside causing an inward compression. When glass cracks internally it is along lines of stress, by heating and rapidly cooling glass you introduce stress which causes it to fracture. Just because the fracturing appears to have stopped, it doesn't mean the glass is safe. Those stresses are still there. Drop it just right and it will break completely.
As a glassblower (and oddly enough, a marble maker) I'll let you in on a trade "secret". If glass is cracked, even slightly it will eventually fail. This is why you see a lot of glass blowers throw away something that looks perfectly fine. It may not fail today, or even a decade from now, but eventually that crack will grow and the piece will fail.
Be careful of how and where you use these marbles.

TrollFaceTheMan (author)s52e362017-11-02

There is a misunderstanding here, as I said before "Now the reason this actually works is because of the semi rounded structure of the marbles and glass gems allow for all the pressure to be pulled inward much like a Ruphert's Drop."

What I was saying is the stress goes in towards the center. Much like a Prince Rupert's drop due to it's rounded structure.

That is contrary to a flat piece of glass that would have straight fractures and result in shearing.

I was not trying to imply that they are anywhere near as strong as Prince Rupert's drop, nor that there any stronger after this process.

I will agree with you this fracturing process weakens them, but they still are rather durable.

So basically Prince Rupert's drop was used to describe similar mechanics, not a similar outcome.

dan3008 (author)2017-11-02

These are amazing :D Saving this to my favourates so I can make some of these later

thankyou for sharing your knowhow :D

TrollFaceTheMan (author)dan30082017-11-02

No problem, good luck and thanks for dropping a comment.

dan3008 (author)TrollFaceTheMan2017-11-02

Just done a bag of 130 marbles. Few things I've learned:

larger marbles need longer to heat
They can still crack and pop up to an hour after they have been cooled and are handle able... perhaps I should have cooled them longer but I thourght that just over 20 min in the water would be fine
smaller batches heat and cool quicker and more evenly for a better end result

TrollFaceTheMan (author)dan30082017-11-02

How big were the large ones? And how did they turn out?

datajunkie55 (author)2017-11-02

The heat range is quite broad. Do you find a difference in the cracking effects from higher or lower heat?

Yep, higher heats tend to give more smaller fractures, higher ones tend to give fewer bigger ones.

Have you ever repeated this with ones done at higher heat for big cracks with low heat to get both?
I wonder if after cracking, these could be soaked in some sort of dye. I think this is how a lot of 'fake' druzy quartz is made.

Excuse me I have a correction to my comment:

Yep, higher heats tend to give more smaller fractures, *lower* ones tend to give fewer bigger ones.

About This Instructable




Bio: I am just a person who loves doing crazy and fun things... I always love to try to innovate when I can, and share any ... More »
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