Introduction: Scrap Glass Pieces Into a Jewelry Set

About: Clay and Jewelry Artist; All-around Creator

I will admit that I love little pieces of colored glass. I will pick up pieces if I see them at the river bed, on the sidewalk, or wherever they happen to be. I especially love green and blue pieces, or pieces that are unusual in some way.

Unfortunately, I just start to amass pieces of scrap glass that I don't know what to do with. I had been toying with the idea of trying to turn some of them into jewelry for a long time, so when the Glass Challenge came up I decided that now was the time. I went for something unique and different, and I used clay to cover the sharp edges, making me able to use the pieces without having to sand/alter them in any way.


1. Glass Pieces That You Have Collected. These don't have to be random pieces, you could also use the little glass rounds that people use for fish tanks and flower vases.

2. Clay. I am using black.

3. Tools for Smoothing Clay. Anything that will smooth fingerprints and join lines from the clay will do.

4. Tools to Poke Holes. Once again, anything that will poke a hole (pens, sewing pins, etc.).

5. Pliers (I prefer round nosed)

6. Jewelry Findings.

This depends on what type of jewelry you are making. For this tutorial, I am showing how to make an earring set, a necklace, and a ring, so I am using earring hooks, jump rings, a lobster clasp, and a ring blank.

If you are making a ring, you will need a strong glue, such as a type of super glue. Make sure it says it is suitable for gluing glass and metal.

Step 1: Cleaning the Glass and Picking the Pieces

First off, I had to clean my glass pieces. I used baking soda and an old tooth brush, and I scrubbed the pieces clean.

*Be careful while doing this. Depending on how the glass broke, it may be very sharp or possibly tiny loose shards will come off while you are scrubbing. Safety first!

Then I went through the glass pile and picked out what pieces I wanted. I chose them not only by size but by interest as well. I liked the pieces I picked for earrings because they were from the lip of a bottle, so on the backside they had ribbing that made them shine differently in the light. The piece for the ring was chosen because it was small and very uniform. I picked out a pendant for the necklace first, then I chose pieces that were similar so that it was kind of a mirror on each side of the necklace.

It is kinda important to try to design necklace pieces before you put them together. You don't have to, but it helps you get an idea of how big they will be, if the pieces look good together, how much chain you need (if using chain or thread), etc. I normally just lay out the pieces I have and then rearrange them to suit my liking.

Step 2: Basic Frame With Clay & Making a Ring Focus

Taking the clay, roll it out into a smooth snake. Test if it is thin enough by placing it close to the edge of your chosen piece of glass. Once it as thin as you like it (or as thin as it can be and still cover the edges of the glass), press the clay around the edges of the glass piece. Use your fingers to push the clay up and over the edges to make sure any possibly sharp pieces are covered.

Once the clay is wrapped all the way around, pinch off any excess. Using your fingers and your smoothing tool, smooth out the bit where the clay joins, then smooth any fingerprints and bumps in the clay. You can use a pointy object to clean up the edges on the inside and make them uniform (or decently uniform!).

This first piece will be the stone for the ring, so it is finished.

Step 3: Earrings

Begin the earring pieces the same way that the ring piece was made. Wrap clay around the glass, but then add extra clay to whatever you decide needs to be the top (where the earring hook will be). Smooth the join and then poke a hole in the top.

Step 4: Necklace Pieces

For necklace pieces, do the same steps from the beginning, and then add extra clay to both ends. Smooth the clay, then poke holes in both ends. We will put jump rings in both of the ends so they will be links in the necklace.

For a hanging pendant, make it the same way you did the earring pieces.

Step 5: Finishing Up

For polymer clay:

Bake you pieces according to your clay's instructions. If you have never baked polymer clay with glass before, I recommend doing a google search. You should be good, though, because, obviously, glass is made to withstand high temperatures.

You can varnish the clay afterwards if you like.

For air dry clay:

Let the clay dry for 1-2 days, depending on what your air dry clay brand recommends. Then you will need to varnish the clay with a water-based varnish (such as Duraclear or Varathane) to protect it.

Step 6: Putting Together the Ring and Earrings

For the ring, take a ring blank ( ) and place a small dot of super glue on the ring blank. Press the glass stone onto the center of the blank, holding there for the recommended time (most will be only 10 to 20 seconds). Allow to fully cure (read the label!) and then enjoy your piece of artwork!

For earrings, take two jump rings and two earring hooks. Open the jump rings with the pliers by twisting the ring sideways, NOT by pulling the ring open. Insert it into the hole in the top of the pendant, and then close the ring the same way you opened it, just opposite. Open the loop on the earring hooks the same way, and slide the jump ring into the loop, then close it. Your earrings are now finished!

Step 7: The Necklace

For the necklace, put jump rings into all the holes in all the pieces (see the previous step for how to open and close jump rings). Attach the jump rings to each other to form links like a chain.

I wanted my pendant to hang down from the rest of the necklace, so I put a jump ring through the pendant. Then I put an extra jump ring to attach the two sides of the necklace together, and I fastened the pendant's jump ring to that so it would hang. (There should be three jump rings in the middle of the necklace, and the pendant jump ring will attach to the middle of the three.)

On the ends of the necklace, I attached a chain to finish the necklace. You can choose however long or short you like, just hold the necklace up to your neck to judge how long the finished product will be. It is easiest to use a chain that has an extender on it (an extra set of loops that the clasp can attach to at any loop), so then you can adjust the necklace long or short depending on how you feel or what you are wearing.

To attach a lobster claw clasp, put a jump ring on the end of the lobster claw in the same way you put a jump ring on the glass pieces. Loop the jump ring through one link in the chain and then close it.

Attach the chain to the glass pieces by linking the jump ring on the end of the last glass piece with the end of the chain.

Step 8: Glass Statement Pieces

Your jewelry is finished.

I think these pieces like this would look great with black or white outfits because then the colors will really shine, but they could obviously be worn with whatever you like. If you make this or make something inspired by it, please post a photo so I can see because all pieces like this will be so different due to the randomness of the glass.

I am entering this is the Glass Challenge as well, so if you like it, please vote!

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Glass Speed Challenge