Tumbled Bottle Glass Mosaic Sliding Door





Introduction: Tumbled Bottle Glass Mosaic Sliding Door

I created the "beach glass" for this door by breaking glass beverage bottles and tumbling them in a sand/water mix in a 5 gallon bucket. I created my own motorized jumbo rock tumbler with a used treadmill that had a broken belt. I used a 3 color palette: clear, green, and blue.

Step 1: Blank Canvas

I obtained this glass french door for free off Craigslist. It is an exterior door, but my plan was to mount it on sliding barn door hardware to replace our swing-in solid door in our master bathroom. I have 8 foot ceilings, and this door was just under 8 feet so it fit perfectly from ceiling to floor when mounted on the sliding door hardware. It will save space not having the door swing into the bathroom and also allow light in. The problem is the glass was clear and it needed privacy.

Step 2: Create or Puchase Your Beach Glass

I had a surplus of broken glass bottles in various colors from other projects that I wanted to make into beach glass. The 5 gallon bucket glass tumbler probably needs to be its own instructable, so hopefully I can get to that soon. It was pretty simple, I just took a working treadmill with a broken belt and moved the two rollers close together so that the bucket could spin between them. My bucket was a bit too slippery, so I make some plywood rings to slide over the bucket. I filled the bucket with broken glass, some sand and water. I left about 1/3 of it empty so the contents could tumble. I ran it during the day because it was quite loud. I estimate a run time of 20 to 30 hours to get the rounded and frosted look I wanted.

You can also buy pre-made or natural beach glass from craft stores or online, but it might be quite expensive for the quantity needed for a project like this.

Safety Warning: Glass dust is hazardous to your lungs. You can break your bottles in a heavy bag, but wear wear a respirator when working with dry glass dust. It is not as much of a problem once in the tumbler and it is a slurry.

Step 3: Mosaic!

I started by drawing my pattern on the back side of the french door with a Sharpie pen. I didn't want the pattern embedded under the glue, so I did it on the back side where I could clean it later. I wanted a design that had a beach feel and some motion to it, so I came up with this wave pattern.

Step 4: Continue Gluing and Let Dry

Continue gluing and fitting pieces together. I didn't cut any of my pieces of tumbled glass because I didn't want any sharp edges. it probably took me about 3 to 4 hours to mosaic the entire door. Let it dry at least overnight before lifting it vertical. It took about a week for all the glue trapped behind glass pieces to completely turn clear.

My original plan was to grout the mosaic with a beach sand colored grout. My wife like the door groutless, so we just kept it as is. If you liked my instructable, please vote for me in the Glass contest!

Step 5: Done! Hang the Door

I filled the previous lockset holes and hinge mortises with Bondo filler since it would now be a sliding door.

I mounted the door on exposed sliding door hardware at the ceiling. For a heavy door like this, I recommend ball bearing casters for smooth sliding.

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    So beautiful! I love it!

    nice, i want to create mine also, good recycling ideas, more power, taglenewtonjohn@gmail.com

    So wonderful ... I have two barrels of Perrier bottles I was going to use in my garden until I read that someone said once broken glass in your garden you can never hand dig, transplant, etc. comfortably again .... so no. I was wondering do you think it would work to use a cement mixer as a tumbler? I don't have one but was thinking of buying a small one at Harbor Freight for concrete projects. Dunno the mechanics of them as relates to this?

    2 replies

    Yes, other than the noise I think a cement mixer would work fine. I just found an instructable that shows exaclty what you want to do:


    thanx excellent referral, thanx for your reply!

    Look GREAT! We are stained glass and glass fusing artist and really enjoy what you did, thanks for sharing.

    Dave & Dennis

    Flamingo Glass

    2 replies

    I dabble in fused glass also, mostly bottles and used window glass right now. Very nice works on your website! I just finished a gate with reclaimed redwood and fused wine bottle bottoms. It's a bit unusual, but it was fun to make:


    your work on Facebook is wonderful. thanx for sharing!

    I imagine it would sparkle if placed in direct light like sun/halogen globe/spotlight etc.
    You have my vote.

    3 replies

    Thanks! I may experiment with an outdoor mosaic to catch the sun. I think I might need to use clear silicone as a bonding agent rather than the Weldbond though.

    I've never used Welbond but I read the bottle from your pic and it says that it dries clear. Is this true? And if so, what would be the advantage od clear silicon?

    Forgot to say - this is utterly macing. I've voted for you.

    It's very easy to use and water based, very similar consistency to Elmer's glue. Since it is water based, I don't know how it would hold up outdoors, that is why I mentioned silocone in the other comment.

    Ingenious! I was telling my wife about your project. I've never used Weldbond, but I just ordered a bottle from Amazon and am looking forward to playing with it. Less expensive there than the box store down the street. Thank you for the inspiration. I can see using your idea in a number of places.


    yah I can borrow hubbys bullet case tumbler, oh yeh

    Great idea and beautiful result.

    Do make that tumbler 'ible, there must be millions of treadmill lying useless under mounds of clothes and dust (definitely an item acquired with greater intentions than realities in most cases). About time they saw some use.


    I love this project. Your glass tumbler takes the cake. Finally something I can use that $1000 treadmill for that's more useful than hanging clothes from. :)

    You get my vote. Very Very nice!

    1 reply

    Thanks! I imaging you could do this with a working treadmill without having to modify it. I think if you clamped a board or some type of roller across the bottom of the belt to keep the bucket from rolling off, it would work fine. I do buy the more expensive bucket lids with a rubber seal to minimize the leaking.

    One question, whats the slurry in the glass tumbler. I see you mentioned, but didn't see where you explained what that is.


    1 reply

    Sorry, that was a bit misleading and I should have expanded on that. I put in sand and water and glass. After a few hours the sand starts to wear away the edges of the glass and small particles mix in with the sand. The sand starts to break down as well and turns a bit muddy. This is what I referred to as "slurry". I ended up rinsing the mix and using new sand several times. I imaging some other abrasive may work better, but I was worried about disposal. The dried slurry would have glass dust in it, so would be harmful if inhaled. I ended up letting it dry into a paste and disposing of it in the trash.