How to make faux beach glass

Written by clare edwards | 13/05/2017
How to make faux beach glass
You can create faux sea glass using tumbled glass scraps. (seaglass and bottle base image by Patrick Moyer from

Naturally frosted by the action of the sea, beach glass is a beautiful material that looks lovely in jewellery and other crafts. Finding sufficient beach glass for your projects can be time-consuming, however, and certain colours of beach glass are hard to find. You can find beach glass for sale, but it can be expensive. Using various techniques, you can make your own faux beach glass. You can tumble glass shards in a rock tumbler to create a frosted effect, make imitation glass using transparent polymer clay, or turn shrink plastic into intaglio-style faux beach glass.

Place the glass fragments in the stone tumbler. If the pieces of glass are large, you need to leave extra space for them to tumble properly.

Add abrasive grit to the tumbler. For smooth shapes such as marbles or glass pebbles, use a finer grit. The tumbler should be around three-quarters full of glass and abrasive.

Run the tumbler for three days. Periodically check the glass: remove a piece, rinse and dry it so that you can gauge the full effect. When you are satisfied with the appearance of the glass, remove the glass, clean it and allow to dry.

Measure and cut a section of translucent frosted shrink plastic 40% to 50% larger than you want your finished piece to be. Sand the plastic on one side, making a cross-hatch pattern. Colour the sanded side with a permanent marker.

Heat the oven to 176 to 190 degrees C (176 to 190C). Place the shrink plastic on the wooden block. Heat the shrink plastic for four to five minutes. Remove from the oven and quickly press the decorative stamp into the surface.

Allow the stamp to cool. You can sand the piece with fine sandpaper on the uncolored side to increase the frosted look.

Condition a marble-sized piece of translucent polymer clay. Add a very small amount of coloured polymer clay or suitable pigment and blend until the colour is uniform. If the clay is too pale you can add more colour, but avoid making the clay too opaque.

Shape the clay into pebbles. Gently press a piece of coarse sandpaper all over the surface of the clay.

Place the polymer clay chunks onto a clean baking tray. Bake according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Things you need

  • Rock tumbler
  • Sand
  • Glass shards
  • Shrink plastic (frosted effect)
  • Coloured permanent markers
  • Transparent polymer clay
  • Coloured polymer clay or pigment
  • Coarse sandpaper
  • Fine sandpaper
  • Baking tray
  • Wood block
  • Decorative stamp
  • Oven

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