Flat marbles are small round pieces of glass with a domed surface and a flat back. They are also called glass pebbles, glass nuggets, glass gems, half marbles or cabochons. They come in every conceivable colour and are available in transparent and opaque varieties, as well as various finishes. Tumbled marbles resemble sea glass, while aurora borealis marbles have a rainbow sheen. You can use flat marbles in jewellery, mosaics and other projects.
You can use flat marbles in your stained-glass projects, either with cathedral glass (flat coloured glass) or by themselves. Flat marbles can add interest and texture to a stained-glass piece. You can foil the edges of the marbles and solder them together, filling the gaps between marbles with copper wire or small pieces of glass. Alternatively, you can wrap flat marbles with lead came.
Incorporating flat glass marbles into mosaics can add texture and extra colour. You can use flat marbles sparingly as accents or compose an entire mosaic from flat marbles in different colours. Many objects can be decorated this way, from garden ornaments and planters to mosaic picture frames. You can press flat marbles into opaque grout or plaster; for transparent projects, silicone caulk or aquarium glue can be used to stick the marbles to glass.
When placed over a small image, the curved surface of a flat marble acts like a magnifying glass, enlarging and slightly distorting the image underneath. You can exploit this effect to make picture magnets, gluing an image or a piece of patterned paper to the back of the marble and attaching a magnet. Colourless or very light coloured marbles work best for this. Aurora borealis marbles are unsuitable unless the image is very bold, as the reflective surface will hide the picture underneath from many angles. The fewer bubbles or flaws the marble has, the better the effect. Adhesives need to be chosen with care, as some kinds will ruin thinner papers. Silicone découpage mediums or a single-stage epoxy both work well.
Flat marbles can be set in metal like large gemstones. Wire-wrapping a marble allows it to be attached to a chain, a piece of beadwork or to other marbles. Jeweller's cement or clear epoxy can be used to attach marbles to metal findings such as ring backs, or to add a bail (a small loop) to a marble so it can be worn as a pendant. Flat marbles can be baked into polymer clay jewellery. Epoxy putty adheres well to glass and can be used to make settings or bails. Flat marbles can also be incorporated into bead embroidery by creating a beaded bezel to hold the marble in place.