How to Make Glass Floats (Various Colors)




These pretty little things have been floating around Pintest's main page for a few months and I wanted to grab a couple for a wreath, lo and behold, $5-$10 for one?! Pssshh...let's make this.

Difficulty Level: Easy

Result Level: Nailed It!

Time to dye glass: Quick

Time to macrame the netting: Slow

Time to cut and wrap pre-made netting onto glass ball: Fast

Step 1: Supplies

Purchase Difficulty: Easy/Medium

Project Cost: Low

Supply List

-Mod Podge (Craft Store, use coupon)


-Acrylic/Glass/Old Clear X-mas ornament (Dollar/Craft store, X-mas clearance)

-Food coloring (Dollar store, baking supplies)

-Plastic cup

-Pre-made Netting or Twine (Craft/Dollar store)

My purchases totaled:$5; food dye, twine and the ornaments were really cheap for me ($0.10 each) because I work at a craft store, you can probably find them in clearance at Target, Walmart, thrift stores ect. The other items I already had because I'm a crafter.

The trick is to know where and how to buy these supplies for cheap.
Dollar Tree, or a similar establishment will come in handy for just about any basic supply. Craft stores have more expensive basic supplies, but feel free to abuse the coupon system: Michaels, ACMoore, and Joann (Hobby Lobby does not accept competitor coupons) all accept competitor coupons as long as they are the ##% off of ONE Regular Priced Item. The ##% off on X Item/Brand/Total Purchase/Sale Items will usually not be accepted. If you live near a store, bide your time, go different days to the craft store and use the coupons.

Step 2: Color Hues

In a plastic cup, or other container you will never use again, pour in about 1/2 cup of Mod Podge and pick a color of food dye you would like to start with. Paint a thin layer onto the ball to avoid dripping or running during the drying process.

Light Color: 1 droplet of dye, mix and paint ornament

Medium Color: 2 droplets of dye, mix and paint ornament

Dark Color: 3 droplets of dye, mix and paint ornament

Mix Colors: 1 droplet of the "deeper" color (ex. blue) and 2 of the "softer" color (ex. green), mix and paint.

Start with the glass floats that you want to be lighter and then go darker, wash brush when done painting.

Step 3: Drying the Glass Floats

I went really cheap here and busted some old dowel rods (any stick will do) and duck taped them to my craft table edge.

Placed the painted ornaments opening-side down (where the hangar used to be) and let them dry.

Mod Podge typically dries clear, so all you should get is the shade/hue of color, feel free to paint another layer once dry if the color isn't dark enough.

Step 4: Netting

Two options:

Purchase pre-made netting, cut a good sized square of it, put the float in the middle and tie at the top. This method is easy, costs about $6 after coupon and the float hangs loosely in the netted pouch. (See dark netted float on the right)


Macrame your netting (see all other floats). I used this Potion netting tutorial: Steampunk Potion Bottles by pilotneko

to teach me how to do the loops. The cost here was $1 twine from Dollar tree and about 30 mins per ornament. Best to do this stage while binge watching something that you don't really need to look at the screen to follow.

For the top of these hand-netted floats, I made loops with a spiraled cord design, similar to a hangman's noose. I'll be using these later for a wreath.

Step 5: Nailed It!

Home Goods and Pier One sell these glass floats for $5-$30 each depending on size, the internet (etsy, ebay) is a little bit better, but still costs shipping.

DIY is the way to go on whimsical items like these. More bang for your buck and variety in color. Also, you now know how to dye things and macrame a net in case of zombie apocalypse.

Replicate this technique for other clear or glass items that you would like to have be a different color, but still see-through.

Finally, I have attached the glass floats to the wreath I made about 10 mins ago. They look so pretty!! Now I also have tons of excess floats.... decorate ALL THE THINGS! (Coffee table centerpiece and small stand).



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    8 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Awesome tute, thanks!


    2 years ago

    Your project is really nice! I made similar ornaments and put the mod podge and food color inside the glass ball rather than outside. Clean the inside with alcohol first, allow to dry completely and then pour the mixed color into the ball, swirl around until it is colored and covered as you want it, then turn the ball upside down to drain into a small cup. I have also used acrylic paints in the glass balls. I really like your netting idea. I am going to try it. Thanks for the money saving advice, too. It is nice to see others who are cost conscience.

    This is brilliant!!! I love the look of old glass floats, but they're so expensive. I can't wait to give this a try.

    1 reply

    Thank you! And yes, the store ones are quite expensive, if you do give it a try, shoot me some pictures. ^_^ Also, if you want that frosted, seaglass look, use Elmer's glue instead of Mod Podge or find frosted spray paint and apply after you've dyed the glass. Cheers!


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you! They are a great size too, and light, unlike the floats you'll find at Home Goods or online. Those things weight too much!