Saturday, July 14, 2012

Sea Glass

Did you know you can make your own sea glass?

Apparently all you need to do is put a broken bit of glass in a container with sand and shake it! Might I add, I suspect you need to shake it quite a bit before the whole piece is smooth...

Now, I haven't tried this method, partly because it sounds like a lot of shaking, and partly because I have an aversion to breaking glass bottles (weird, I know.) But I still love the look of sea glass, and since I am woefully land-locked here in the prairies, I went a-looking for another method.

I stumbled across this one a week ago and decided to give it a try today:
You mix some white glue with some food coloring and you paint it onto glass and when it dries, it should dry transparent! Neat, hey?

Well, those are about the only instructions that were available on the tutorial I was hitting up so I blindly went in thinking, "it must be as easy as it sounds!"

Honestly, I think people in general are just a lot more talented at crafting than I am.

Round 1: My first vase started globbing, and streaking, and running, and then gumming up.
Round 2: I tried glass ornaments and it was basically the same deal - I just perfected a bit more of a long brush stroke so they turned out slightly better
Round 3: I finally realized that the paintbrush I was using was not the wisest thing in the world (a dollar store special I stole from Gabe's craft bucket), so I upgraded to a sponge brush. It took waaaaaay less time, went on much more evenly, and I didn't have to do as many touchups, which helped with the gumming problem

I let them dry, awkwardly propped on glue bottles and funnels, and then was surprised to see how the more they dried, the better they looked. Really, I had done an awful, terrible job, and they were starting to look nearly presentable!

I decided to do a second coat to see if I couldn't cover up the earlier flaws. My other sponge brush was still wet so I got an inferior one - this made a difference, and not a good one. While an inferior sponge brush is better than a crummy paint brush, and good sponge brush is best.
Second coats go on much easier and so far they appear to be covering up all of my goofs. Time will tell I suppose, but a third (maybe even fourth?) coat may be in order.

A few tips if you attempt to try this yourself:
These will not be waterproof, nor is there really a good way to make them so. Glue is water soluble. End of story. So if you want to do a vase, only do the outside and be careful not to get it wet.
Don't try fixing globs when it's mostly dried. The globs dry surprisingly evenly, but the gumming does not. As long as there's nothing too massive, it should be fine.
For a ratio of color to glue, I did about 1 - 2 tbsp of glue and 3 - 5 drops of dye. I did three different colors: 1 blue + 2 green, 1 green + 2 blue, and 5 blue.
As you can see in the picture, I didn't feel the need to spend good money on the dye - just regular food coloring will work.
You may also notice, I didn't feel the need to spend good money on the glue either. This was a 3-pack that I bought at the dollar store for a buck. It seems to be doing the trick.
Be warned, if you are doing something that light can enter and fill (like a vase), the streaks will be more visible. But then again, you may be a better crafter than I am and entirely avoid streaks. If you doubt your abilities however, stick with something that will be entirely covered with the glue-paint wherever the light will break through.
Lastly, as I mentioned above, the glue is water soluble, so what that really means is that if you are having troubles and mess up horribly, you can wash it off and try again.
Or, you can wash it off and say, "Well that was dumb!" and find something else to do.
Either works.

You can find the original source for these here. There is a bit more information in the comments section, but I think this is all you really need to know.

Sorry that the pictures are sucky! There's no natural light at 1 a.m. (go figure!) and they aren't finished anyway! I'll post a better picture when they are good and ready!

OH! One more thing: I've seen other posts where you use modge podge and gel food coloring and then bake them, or ones that call for dish soap in the with glue and dye... truth be told, they don't look much different, and bake them or not, the color will still come off if you wash them. This is one of those cases where the easiest way possible is probably the best.

Good luck!

Mrs. VanderLeek ;)

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