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Make Jewelry Using Sea Glass / Beach Glass / Manufactured Glass

Updated on February 18, 2012

Midwest Living: the best of both worlds?

Living in central Ohio has plenty of advantages. It is one of the world's largest Amish communities and it's no surprise to see a buggy parked among the vehicles at local retail stores. Their culture brings plenty of tourists to our area in search of wonderful scenery, quilts, wood working items, flea markets and handmade goods.

The Change of Seasons

Each SUMMER I am thankful for the changes of seasons as I welcome fall after a long hot summer. That usually lasts until February when I've had more than enough change of seasons and even more than enough of this:

In my Opinion, the disadvantages:

It's time to talk tropical!

Though we have had some pretty mild winters here I think it's time for a change and start thinking about summer in February. As I replay the whole telling myself that while I would miss the climate changes if I lived somewhere warm I am also reminded that I could always back to see them if I wanted to, couldn't I? Either way, it's time to get my beach on!

We may not have an ocean but we have more than enough places to find goodies for jewelry making

Ohio has over 2500 lakes and reservoirs to find lots of sea based goodies for jewelry making. I am an hour from Lake Erie and 3 hours from Lake Michigan. I am three hours from Erie, Pa and Presque Isle which is an awesome place to take your family to explore for next to nothing. This being said, we've got our seasonal choices of pseudo tropics right here to find many items to make great jewelry.

Jewelry making is easy, you just have to have the right stuff

With very little effort you can find free tutorials on the internet to make jewelry. If you think they are all beyond your skill level consider buying items already assembled from places like or Now don't cheat and buy the whole thing! Just buy necklaces or ring bases to add your unique finds to. You can also purchase beach inspired charms to add to your project. Once you've purchased your necklaces you will more than likely need to purchase jump rings from your local craft store to add your goodies.

**I recommend having access to a drill press which is very easy to operate. I found one at a garage sale for $35 and I've used it for a ton of stuff. You will also need to purchase Diamond Drill Bits (I got mine at Harbor Freight for $8) to cut your holes in your glass and stone for making your jewelry.

There are plenty of tutorials for cutting sea glass on the internet, so don't let the "It's really hard, let us cut it for you for $1 a cut" fool you!

Here's exactly how hard it isn't: On the tray of the drill press I place a small piece of non-skid drawer liner to keep my stuff in place. I have a small rectangle sterilite container that I have a small piece (2" wide) of wood that fits snugly inside from end to end. I place the piece of glass that I want to cut on it and fill the container with water so that this piece is submerged. Holding the glass in place with a pencil with eraser I put my safety glasses on and flip the switch. It is all about pressure and you may break a few pieces, but once you get the hang of it you will be delighted with your results.

Note: It takes some time to drill through a piece of glass or rock, so be patient. It is burrowing through several layers. Keep a steady pressure on your handle instead of trying to force it to cut quickly as it will break the glass or rock.

Stay tuned, I will add a tutorial on cutting sea glass at a later time.

Let the Fun Begin!

If you don't have quick access to the ocean I'm sure you are as fortunate as I am to have several large lakes and reservoirs at your disposal to find some goodies.

Make it an outing: Load the kids up and head to one or several of this water spots for a picnic and an exploration day. Let them know that this is a family project and with the results you will be making jewelry for everyone. Believe it or not, little ones are the best spotters once they know what they are looking for. Broken glass, rocks and anything else that has been surf tumbled and is now smooth is great for making jewelry.

**Hint: This has become such a high interest and low cost entertainment idea for everyone so make sure you head out early to get the best finds. I'm told that some of the best times to find glass and stone on the great lakes is after a storm.

Here are some examples of treasures I've gotten

And here is an example of some that I've bought

I was very disappointed when I thought I was buying authentic sea glass from a shop in Florida and found that it was manufactured. Not that it wasn't pretty, it was just too thick and chunky for what I was looking for. My thoughts were that it would be a nightmare to cut through and too heavy to use for some projects. Making the best of it I began to see the advantages. Many times we are limited in colors of glass we find to white, beer bottle brown and green. Buying manufactured sea glass would afford me the opportunity to add some great colors to my projects. As you will see in my photos it did not go to waste.

Manufactured Sea Glass

Sea Glass Jewelry Project Photos

Adding extras to your summer line

There are so many summer and beach themed charms and buttons that your jewelry making possibilities are endless. Take advantage of them all.

Quality Family Time

These are just some examples of the projects you can complete with very little effort. You've not only created an affordable fun-filled event for your family, you've now created keepsake memories of that day that will be cherished.

Summer Weddings / Keepsake gifts for the bride and groom

Toasting glasses were purchased at a local thrift store for .99 each embellished with beads and other goodies that were wire wrapped. This unique gift is both inexpensive and memorable for the recipients. Add it to a wine or champagne basket and provide some honeymoon favors such as meat, cheese and crackers.

If this gift is for a close friend or relative, have friends and family write their favorite or most memorable stories of the bride and groom as a COUPLE and start the first chapter of their life for them. Hard cover books can be made inexpensively through many sites, being one of them. Include favorite photos of them that you have gathered from special events along with photos of the person or people writing their stories about the couple and include their memoirs. These can be humorous, serious or professional, it's up to you. How fun would it be to receive one of these books?

Bride and Groom Toasting Glasses


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    • profile image

      Janeth 3 years ago

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    • mybestadvice profile image

      mybestadvice 5 years ago from Canton, Ohio

      Greetings and thank you Marie! I've been very lucky with my drill bits. I use diamond drill bits and a drill press to cut mine. Though it does take some time, I've gotten used to the pressure and ruin very few pieces now while trying to cut them. I have a plastic dish with a wood piece that I put the glass on and them submerge it in water around the wood and it seems to work out well. I don't think I would have much patience for a Dremel or other handheld tool.

      Glass-Jewelry: I would love to see some of your creations. Do you have a gallery online?

    • profile image

      marie 5 years ago

      Thank you for sharing ; I am a beginner : I am making my first holes. I am successful but the problem is that the drill is worn very quickly. Anyway what a pleasure ! I like the poem too.

      Amitiés from France


    • Glass-Jewelry profile image

      Marco Piazzalunga 5 years ago from Presezzo, Italy

      Hello mybestadvice,

      a really interesting article, I only now begin to understand more about this passion, not only for collectors but also for jewelry designers.

      For my creations I need to take inspiration mainly from the various and

      infinite forms that the sea models in a completely arbitrary way.

      Thank you for sharing your experience, voted Beautiful!

    • mybestadvice profile image

      mybestadvice 5 years ago from Canton, Ohio

      Thanks RA.

    • RunAbstract profile image

      RunAbstract 5 years ago from USA

      Very nice! I love jewelry and some of this was really cute!

    • mybestadvice profile image

      mybestadvice 6 years ago from Canton, Ohio

      Thanks so much, Arlene. I hope it has inspired you to create some jewelry.

    • profile image

      Arlene V. Poma 6 years ago

      This Hub is simply lovely! Thank you for the ideas and the photographs. I lived on the California coast for a decade, but one of my favorite places is Glass Beach in Fort Bragg for the treasured pieces of ocean glass. I'm an agate hunter, but I have quite a few pieces of glass. Bookmarked, voted up and everything else. An AWESOME article for anyone who likes to wander along beaches in search of treasure.