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How to make sea glass picture frames

Updated February 21, 2017

Create colourful sea glass picture frames to display photos of ocean scenes or family vacations on the beach. Also known as beach glass, these small pieces of broken glass bottles get their hallmark smooth edges from being tumbled on the sandy ocean floor. Low tide can reveal blue, green, clear or rose-coloured bits of glass. Sea glass picture frames make pretty gifts to give to friends and family as one-of-a-kind works of art.

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  1. Lay one of the wood frames on a protected work table. Arrange assorted sea glass pieces on top of the frame in the desired order or design. This can be in a pattern by colours or in a random fashion. Lay the pieces fairly close together to cover the front of the frame. Extend bits of sea glass a little beyond the frame edge for an interesting effect.

  2. Remove the sea glass pieces from the frame, working in one small area at a time, and lay aside. Apply a generous 1/4-inch layer of polyvinyl acetate (PVA) glue on the exposed wood. Replace the sea glass onto the frame as originally designed, pressing the pieces into the glue until they meet the wood. The glue is available in hardware or craft stores, comes in a bottle with an applicator and is the consistency of white craft glue. The glue is white, but it dries clearly and quickly.

  3. Work around the frame using the same process as in Step 2, covering small areas until the entire frame is covered with sea glass. Work quickly because the glue dries fast. If necessary, apply more PVA glue between the sea glass to fill any spots that may need more. Let the frame with sea glass dry completely.

  4. Proceed with the next frame in this project in the same manner as the first frame until all the frames are done.

  5. Take all the frames outside and spray the each frame with clear sealant. This fills any nooks and crannies between the sea glass pieces with more clear adhesive and gives the frames a beautiful shiny finish.

  6. Tip

    Purchase unfinished wood frames at craft shops or make them yourself. Look for frames at thrift shops or at garage sales. You also can find sea glass at craft shops or ordered on the Internet. Tumbled broken glass pieces can also be used.


    Supervise children participating in this project. Spray the frame with the clear sealant outside or in a well-ventilated area. If there are any sharp edges on a piece of sea glass on this project, add a few drops of the PVA glue along the edge when pressing it onto the frame.

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Things You'll Need

  • Sea glass pieces, assorted colours
  • Unfinished flat-front wood frames, 3 assorted sizes
  • Polyvinyl acetate (PVA) glue
  • Clear spray sealant

About the Author

For over 25 years, Natasha Lawrence has written for publications from "Alaska Business Monthly" to "Savannah Magazine" and provided destination content as Florida city editor for Wcities. Her expertise in arts and crafts includes calligraphy, painting, mosaics, jewelry making, paper crafts and home decor, often offering workshops in museums and art centers.

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