DIY Sea Glass

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

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

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

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.
Highspeed!
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

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

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

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!

Voilà, you're done!

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

Hope you like it, enjoy!

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    45 Discussions

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    zv_odd

    3 years ago

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

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

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    Seaborn

    4 years ago

    Awesome instuctable I'll definitely try it out!

    1 reply
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    bricobartrustyknives

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    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.

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    rubenvaz

    4 years ago on Introduction

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