making sea glass jewelry

Trash Thrown into the Sea Washes Up as Gems

One man's garbage is some woman's jewelry! Well it's true when you start making sea glass jewelry!

It is so rewarding to create something beautiful from a random selection of materials. Basically, that’s what this is about. There is no step by step procedure to follow. It’s just an idea inspired by the beauty of Sea Glass that you can expand upon.

When I was a child we would collect Sea Glass at the lake where we played. It was so plentiful that we didn’t think too much of it. Recently I had a piece in my hand and rolling it over I noticed the beauty in it. It was translucent yet opaque. The edges once sharp were now smooth and soft. A mysterious item that told a story. I was inspired!

Since each piece of Sea Glass is unique every time you create something with it that item will be one of a kind. I collected these three pieces of Sea Glass and paired them with charms, wire and crystals. Here’s the story of each one.

Sea glass and sea turtle! A natural match joined with a stretch of copper wire and embellished with a couple of bi-cone crystals. Notice the wire is wrapped in a way to cradle the sea glass securely so it will not slide out of any gaps. A crystal or charm was added while wrapping the wire. When the wire came to the bottom of the sea glass I left a large loop past the glass and then twisted the wire at the glass to secure it yet leave a ring to hang a crystal. At the top, I made a couple of large loops for the necklace and then wrapped the remaining wire to finish it off.

The copper wire I used was a little thicker than usual and just to let you know I got it at the local hardware store and not a craft supply store.

This frosty piece of sea green glass is accented with a very thin silver wire that I twisted and looped a few more times than necessary to add an artsy flair. The green and blue crystals seemed to be a perfect match at the time but now that I look at it, a golden yellow crystal would have made a nice contrast.

I like to make loops at the bottom and leave a crystal (or two) dangling as you may have noticed. This time I slid a couple of crystals on the loops for the necklace.

What's That Fiber Used For the Necklace?

In case you are wondering what I used to make the necklace it’s cheese cloth! I cut the length of cheese cloth in 18” sections and dye them different colors.

Then I cut the dyed sections into long strips, slide on a pendant and tie the ends. It’s easy, makes a nice casual lacy finish and best of all it’s soft around your neck. Don’t fret about the width to cut each strip. Make them different widths and you’ll find each lends a unique look. Pull the strips through your fingers to tame the loose ends for a clean look or pull the strip wide to fluff the edges for an airy wispy look.

Recycled Trash Becomes Jewelry Art

Does this strike you as making art from pollution? Sea glass is actually the broken parts of bottles and such that people threw into lakes, rivers, etc. I guess it’s the ultimate recycle. I feel good about it!

I guess this was from the neck of an old wine bottle that someone tossed off the seawall. I’m going to make up a story and believe it was a young couple sharing a bottle of wine while romancing to the sunset. Aaahhhhh! Well, it’s better than a wino hobo dropping his bottle when he fell asleep under the bridge, right?

The concave arch of the glass made it a challenge but I was determined to suspend this tree of life charm within the gap. It was a perfect fit too!

Can you see how I hung a silver crystal from the charm? There are no rules here. Just follow your heart and let the design flow. If the wire goes one way and you don’t like it, unwrap and go the other way.

It seems that sea glass takes on unique characteristics from the ocean it comes from. This piece is smooth but almost polished as if it has been tossed with a fine silty sand. The light green sea glass above might have been washed for a long time with a coarser beach sand which gave it the milky appearance.

Maybe you’re in a land locked town and having a hard time finding sea glass. Here are a few other ideas.

First, check with e-bay and etsy. They have nice folks willing to sell some of their sea glass finds.

If you find buying sea glass is too pricey here are a few other ideas:

Making Glass Tile Jewelry (Like the Image Above)-

Check your local craft supply store for Mosaic Tiles. You’ll be surprised at the variety they come in and what can be done with them.

Making Tumbled Glass Jewelry –

Make your own sea glass! Did you know you can make smooth glass using a Rock Tumbler. It’s a sealed canister where you put rocks, glass, etc. with water and different levels of grit to achieve the look you want. This became my favorite way of stocking up on glass for jewelry. I don’t have to sludge through muddy water or pay high prices for sea glass anymore. The tumbler is about $50 but each batch produces a large supply of stuff for jewelry making. I bought one on Amazon.

Best of all you can select the colors of glass. I made this blue glass from an empty bottle of Riesling Wine.

Making Tumbled Stained Glass Jewelry – 

If you get a Rock Tumbler you will start to be on the look-out for anything to put in it. Warning: it might become an obsession! It did for me anyway!

That being said, I dug up some glass scraps from a previous Stained Glass project. If you have never been in a Stained Glass Store you need to go. They have glass that is more beautiful than jewels, I swear!

This method of making jewelry from glass allows you to select the glass and cut it to the size you want.

Notice that we are making progress from assembling materials we happen upon to sculpting materials into art. Making sea glass jewelry was originally about being inspired by a treasured find. But we can take that and build on it to create!

Making Tumbled China Jewelry -

Have you ever broken a favorite piece of china and cried? Well, I did. Then I picked up the pieces and threw them in the Rock Tumbler.

Here’s an idea! Do you have any items collecting dust in the attic or taking up valuable space in a closet that you just can’t part with because you can still picture it in your Grandmother’s house? It may be a glass or ceramic lamp that would clash with your décor or a plate that doesn’t match any of the others but you really like the pattern? Why not turn it into jewelry?

Making River Slate Jewelry

OK! We’ve come full circle and landed back at finding things to use in jewelry making. We started with making sea glass jewelry but what if you live in the mountains? Then use the natural wonders found in the great outdoors near you!

I live near the Mississippi River and this is a piece of slate that I found on the shores of the river. There’s no telling where it came from but it tells a story anyway and it’s beautiful in its own right. That’s enough! I feel like I’m heading to information overload so I’m going to let you go now! Try out some of these and put your individual twist to it.

Take care and keep crafting!