Introduction: DIY Sea Glass

Picture of DIY Sea Glass

There's something mystic about sea glass.
Created by men, transported by currents, sculpted by waves.
It shows us that nothing is ever built to last forever.
Concepts may survive, objects don't.

Sea glass shows us also that even at the end of their life, things can be beautiful.
Sea glass is a metaphor for a lot of things.

Sea glass is my favourite rubbish.

Since we're no longer living near the sea and I felt a sudden need to work with this material – it can happen to all of us, really - I wondered if I could not make my own, and in the meantime build a simple pendant with it.

This I'ble is more about howto than about design. I'm sure our awesome jewelry makers could make something really beautiful with it. So... try & make it better folks!

Enjoy !

Step 1: Gettin' Supplies

Picture of Gettin' Supplies

As basic material you can use wine or beer bottles, glasses, vazes etc. Yep - another excuse to drink, or destroy stuff!

Avoid 'pyrex' or other similar oven-resistant glass types since they tend to 'explode' easily.

I used a set of nicely coloured shooters since they have a thick bottom.

Tools you'll need (to make this type of pendant) are a drill press and a nice collection of clock-drills - those with a rough 'diamond' edge you use to drill holes in tiles.
I've got the chance to have a few of them since I use them frequently in kitchen & bathroom renovation.
They're quite expensive, but last a lot of years...

Step 2: Extracting the Rough Stuff

Picture of Extracting the Rough Stuff

In my first attempts I tried to extract the rough stuff first, and to drill a hole in it later.

Try to find a way to immobilize the shooter in the vice - using cardboard & foam is really a must.
Mount the clock drill.
Fill the shooter half with water.
Go easy with that pressure, you've got all the time...

The great advantage of glass is that you see the drill moving slowly downwards. Really.

Once the water breaks, you're good!

Step 3: Drilling the Inner Hole

Picture of Drilling the Inner Hole

Next step is to drill the inner hole.

Fix the piece in the vice, mount a smaller drill & start drilling again.

Spray water all the time.

Don't make the same mistake as me: don't choose a drill that's too large, the risc of breaking is quite high - I discovered...

Step 4: Improved Technics

Picture of Improved Technics

Since this project was one big discovery I dicided to try a different technic. I covered the shooter in a piece of clay, mounted this in the vice and started with drilling the small hole first and then the big one.

This worked pretty well. Avoid spraying on the outside of the glass because it will swing in its clay bed...

Step 5: Sanding

Picture of Sanding

Once that glass washer is extracted there's only a few minutes of work left. Al you need is some sanding paper or a band sander.

I tried to sand manual. It worked.
I tried the powered version. It worked better.

Start with a coarse grain, round the edges, end with a less coarse grain.

NO FINE GRAINS since you'll polish the piece and that's exactly what you don't need. Sea glass is matt, you know.

Step 6: Done!

Picture of Done!

Voilà, you're done!

Don't throw away the glass dust, once it will be useful to polish stuff.

Hope you like it, enjoy!


zv_odd (author)2015-11-05

I thought you were going to fill an old soup tin with sand and glass pieces. Then tumble sand the glass.

kelly.p.bergman (author)2014-09-22

Try using a 50% water-antifreeze mix for drilling. It will give you a smoother drill and keep the class cooler than plain water..

Tarun Upadhyaya (author)2014-05-30

Yayyyy... we made it to the Finals :). Congratulations Dear Friend :)

Thank you tarun! Yet two days to go before we're going to sleep normal again! ;)

ha ha... indeed :)

emilyvanleemput (author)2014-05-30

Congratulations on being a finalist :D :D

Thanks emily, from now on we're all winners ;)

Seaborn (author)2014-05-17

Awesome instuctable I'll definitely try it out!

bricobart (author)Seaborn2014-05-21

I hope so, thanx! And let me know how it's been!

rustyknives (author)2014-04-20

What kinda drill press is that? Seems very convenient!

bricobart (author)rustyknives2014-04-25

In fact it's just a setup for a classic drill, since I don't have a 'real' drill press yet. I don't know you can get them in the US, but this one is from the brand METABO. Light, and very easy to use.

antioch (author)2014-04-19

Nice! And thanks for the glass dust polishing hint.

bricobart (author)antioch2014-04-25

With pleasure!

Blaise_Gauba (author)2014-04-16

Cool. Good idea! Thanks for sharing.

bricobart (author)Blaise_Gauba2014-04-18

You're welcome mate!

primosanch (author)2014-04-16

Very nice.

bricobart (author)primosanch2014-04-18


Ricardo Furioso (author)2014-04-16

When you come to California, put this on your agenda.

That's simply beautiful, thanx for the tip!

rubenvaz (author)2014-04-16

The lard it's better than the water for this kind of works, even if you cut metal. BTW, nice work.

bricobart (author)rubenvaz2014-04-18

Did I read right, you're talking about pig fat?! Never heard about that, but why not give it a try?

I'm sure our dog will follow me everywhere... ;)

Tarun Upadhyaya (author)2014-04-14

Oh Man, this is awesome :). Thank you so much for sharing.

Loved the second main picture too. What a nice effect :).

Thanx friend, coming from you this counts as a double compliment ;)

I am glad you feel that ways :)

spark master (author)2014-04-15

I love it, but a word to those who would sell it as a true sea glass product. I live by the ocean and was talking to a crafter who explained that a glass artist will pay for real sea glass and can spot glass like yours a mile off. I simple do not think that possible, if you put it in a rock tumbler to let it get its "frost".

I am by no means an artist, so I like your idea and it makes it doable. (I do carve walking sticks from time to time)

keep up the great work.

bricobart (author)spark master2014-04-15

Thanx! Know that it's never been my purpose to counterfeit the real stuff. If I ever should sell this - if - I would surely mention that it's an imitation, no shame about that... ;)

spark master (author)bricobart2014-04-16

Just call it brushed or frosted, or even faux sea glass. I must say, even as I posted my comment, I can't see how anyone can tell (well if you do it in a rock tumbler. Your method leave abrasive line that are parallel, true ocean pounded sand is more like sand blasting. The person that told me abut it told me if I knew a place where the ocean puked up glass she had buyers, but they could tell. I would love to know how, if I tumble it with mixed grits then sand from a beach. Heck I can even add salt water , it is free!!

nice piece though I always wanted to play with glass, so one maybe.

You figured out about drilling small hole first, I saw that right away , from metal and wood things I have built. It is just easier to do it so.

have a great day.

xafatolls (author)2014-04-15

A dream. Thank you.

Anys arroplegant trossos de vidre i toxets....

bricobart (author)xafatolls2014-04-15

Thanx ;) But what means 'toxets'?

xafatolls (author)bricobart2014-04-15

I'm sorry, it's a catalan word. In my city means a litle piece of a brick.
Kudos from Catalonia.

bricobart (author)xafatolls2014-04-16

Nice, wish you beautiful beach walks! ;)

fixfireleo (author)2014-04-15

be careful not to berath in glass dust. it will last forever in your lungs. i would wear a mask while doing this. you are probably safe in the drilling when using the water but for all else, use a mask!

fixfireleo (author)2014-04-15

once the water breaks you're GOOD? i though that was when life got rough? lol

gungajin (author)2014-04-15

Very nice and thorough instruction.

At this stage I wonder though, why you don't drill the inner hole first - so you can keep the glass in the same fixture. (vice)

a.steidl (author)2014-04-15

Drinking glass seems great, holding coolant/lube by design. :)

bricobart (author)a.steidl2014-04-15

This was probably THE reason why I wanted to test this so much ;)

thehbird (author)2014-04-14

Huh that's pretty wicked

r-philp (author)2014-04-14

Wonderful instructable. I've always liked the way sea glass looks. It would be wise to include a note about wearing an appropriate respirator. Glass dust easily gets into the air and if inhaled can lead to silicosis, for which there is no effective treatment.

bricobart (author)r-philp2014-04-14

Thanx, but to assure you: there's no dust at all since it's water-based drilling. The water prevents the drill from heating and to spray the dust everywhere. The scrapings you see at the end are from the almost dry dust-saturated water (that milky stuff).

WolfgangCanoGuitars (author)2014-04-14

that is a brilliant idea. I have been working with recycled glass jewlery for 10 years and that had my eyes peeled open. something you would Love that you could add to this idea: with a tile saw (they're pretty cheap you might already have one. otherwise you could ask a friendly neighbor), cut the lip of a wine bottle, turn the bottle as the diamond disk cuts through like butter. sand the lip afterwards like you did with the seaglass pendant, and enjoy a fancy wine bottle ring. I guarantee you'll love cutting wine bottles with the tile saw, its less time consuming than the score and heat method. perhaps I will be seeing more seaglass ideas coming from your ways? I do hope so! have fun and thank you for this awesome instructable!

Nice idea, you made me eager to try this!

rperkins3 (author)2014-04-14

Very nice job. Thank you for the idea.

bricobart (author)rperkins32014-04-14

Thank you!

emilyvanleemput (author)2014-04-14

This is really beautiful!

That's a compliment coming from an awesome jewelry maker, thanx! ;)

About This Instructable




Bio: I made a beer mug with only a knife & a hatchet. I think that says a lot about me.
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