In the commercial world, glass blocks serve as materials for creating items such as windows, glass walls and room dividers. Glass blocks have additional purposes in the decorating and craft world. An empty glass block entices creative minds to think of crafts as easy to make as they are decorative.
Purchasing Glass Glocks
Most big-box home improvement centres carry "enclosed" glass blocks without an opening. You can drill these blocks to create an opening, which would require that you own a drill, purchase a special drill bit and feel comfortable drilling glass. Hardware stores also sell glass blocks with pre-drilled openings for inserting various items into the glass blocks. Glass supply stores may offer glass blocks that are open-ended and affordable as well.
Size and Design
You must use a glass block with an open end to have access to the interior of the block, where much of the design work will take place. Purchase the size of glass block that appeals to you. Take note that you'll have several patterns of glass blocks from which to choose: wavy, frosted and coloured glass blocks, to name a few.
If you opt to drill a hole into a glass block, use a masonry drill bit like those used for cutting tile, or a "diamond" drill bit. A hole with a 1-inch diameter should suffice. Place the hole into the lower side of the block; make it large enough to slide a string of lights through. A spray bottle filled with water will come in handy when drilling glass blocks. A spritz of water every so often while drilling glass keeps glass dust particles from becoming overwhelming. Wear a mask while working, and vacuum up glass particles with an extension attachment to a vacuum cleaner hose.
Using Lights and a White Design Theme
When placed in glass blocks, a string of miniature lights creates an appealing dreamy effect. Use a strand with 20, 35 or 50 miniature lights, and pay attention to the colour of the wires to ensure it matches your design. For example, shove a string of lights with white wires into a glass block. Leave the plug end sticking out of the hole to plug in later. Tie a large white ribbon around the sides of the glass block and top with an elaborate white bow covered in silver glitter. Stick clear glass ornaments onto the bow using hot glue, and spear several long, spiked decorative picks into the ribbon.
Though beautiful, a driveway or pathway lit by glass blocks requires a great deal of work. Fill eight glass blocks (preferably frosted blocks) with a string of miniature lights approved for outdoor use. Place four glass blocks, spaced about 3 feet apart, on each side of the driveway or pathway. Connect the lights together using several outdoor extension cords that match where they lie --- a green cord to match grass, for example, or a brown cord to match a brown driveway.
Create a stunning centrepiece that uses a porcelain or glass figurine as the crowning touch. Place white lights with white wires into a large, 8-by-8-inch glass block. Wrap wide fabric ribbon around the sides of the block and the front and back of the block so it resembles a wrapped gift. Use fabric ribbon as wide as the sides of the glass block that matches the theme of the event --- or a colour of your liking. Wrap a second glass block --- this one measuring 6 by 6 inches --- in the same manner. Stack the smaller glass block onto the larger one using hot glue to secure them together. Place a glass figurine on top of the smaller glass block, also hot gluing it so it won't topple over. Plug lights in to produce an impressive, glowing effect.
Fill glass blocks with elements from nature. Glass blocks make a nice place to store a seashell collection. River rocks bring nature into the home when placed inside glass blocks. Fill glass blocks with glass beads (found at craft stores), and top them with a faux plant or small branches from the yard.