Make Jewelry Using Sea Glass / Beach Glass / Manufactured Glass
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 Ebay.com or Etsy.com. 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, Walmart.com 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?