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Making Tumbled Stained Glass Jewelry

Ever marveled at a stained glass window? Well, here’s a way to get up close and personal to some of that gorgeous glass!


Making Stained Glass JewelryIf you’ve worked with stained glass you know how absolutely gorgeous it can be. And I’m not talking just about the colors (which are breathtaking by themselves) but also the unique variations of each piece plus the way light plays on it! If you’ve never worked with stained glass but have a creative bug inside you (which obviously you do or you wouldn’t be here now) then go to a stained glass outlet near you and look around. I promise it’s an adventure you won’t soon forget.

The jewelry here was made with small scraps of Stained Glass left over from previous projects and tossed in a rock tumbled to smooth the sharp edges.

The sea turtle here is swimming on a wave of amber stained glass. I used a thin gold wire to secure him to the glass and made a loop at the top for the necklace lace to slide through and let it hang around your neck. Oh! I also slid a green iridescent bi-cone crystal on the wire during one of the loops around the glass.

Making Stained Glass JewelryIt doesn’t take long in the rock tumbler for stained glass to be ready for jewelry making (well compared to rocks anyway). I usually run them on a fine grit for a couple of days and then on polish for a couple of days. It also depends on what finish you want on the glass. If you are looking for more of a sea glass look then skip the polish. Play with it until you get the results you want. One thing to be careful of is that stained glass is thin to begin with and too much time in the tumbler can make it too thin to use.

You’ll notice on this little bird flying the blue skies and the next two images that I like to leave a little extra wire at the bottom so that it can be twisted near the glass leaving a small loop for a crystal to dangle. Just another option for you!

Here I ran a light blue crystal on one of the loops created to bear the necklace. As you scroll down you’ll see that I added three crystals on the necklace loop in the next photo.

Making Stained Glass JewelryThe stained glass lily pad that this little frog is resting upon has a glitter effect in it. Can you see it?

Notice how the wire is criss-crossed enough times to cradle the glass so it won’t slip out. This will depend on the shape of the glass. You see the triangular shaped glass in the top photo? The wire nearest the bottom point is running straight across the back so that the larger part of the glass cannot slide down. For the other three examples (which have rectangular glass) the wires wrap around each of the four sides at least once. You’ll get the feel of when it’s secure. Remember that the wire wrapping is not just to encase the glass but also to embellish with charms or crystals and most importantly for artistic display. The twisting of wire is art! So wrap and loop as your creativity moves you.

Making Stained Glass JewelryAs you can tell, there is no exact procedure to putting these together. It’s entirely up to your artistic creativity. From selecting the stained glass to the finish you end with from the tumbler to pairing with a charm, crystals or beads, it’s all on you! Which is the best part of all. Everything you create is a reflection of your imagination and ability to bring it to life.

Curious about what the necklace is made of? It’s cheese cloth! Crazy huh? I cut an expanse of cheese cloth in 18” sections and then cut them in strips of different widths (depending on if I want a thin or thick necklace). It creates a casual lacy finish. Sometimes I dye the cloth different colors too.

Making Sea Glass JewelryThe idea of Making Tumbled Stained Glass Jewelry started with a piece of Sea Glass found among a collection of shells and such collected from one of the beach excursions in my childhood. Now, as an adult, I appreciate its beauty much more and created this cute little pendant (See Making Sea Glass Jewelry). But the Sea Glass resources have dried here and I begin looking for other sources when I thought about the stained glass scrapes I was saving for some unknown reason (at that time anyway).

Well, take care and keep in touch!