True sea glass is translucent glass lifted and tumbled through the ocean until it lands on the beach. The waves smooth and polish the glass with a frosted, matte finish. As you can imagine, using this glass for crafts can get pretty expensive. Keep expenses down by creating your own sea glass with one of several methods.
Though tumblers are expensive, you can borrow one from a crafty friend or get a smaller, less expensive machine if you won’t use it often. Simply toss glass pieces into your tumbler with fine grit and tumble the glass for about 12 hours on low. This should result in smooth, frosted-looking glass. When breaking glass for the tumbler, slip it into a brown paper bag first. Tap the bag sharply with a rubber mallet to break the glass. Sort it while wearing eye protection and heavy gloves.
While this kind of glass is edible, you can also seal it with frosted glass varnish to use it in crafts. Pour 2 cups of sugar and ¾ cup each of water and corn syrup into a saucepan along with about a teaspoon of food coloring. Stir the mix until the sugar dissolves and then boil it for about 30 minutes. Pour the mix into a greased cookie sheet to harden. Once hard, knock the candy out of the cookie sheet and shatter it with a wooden spoon. Varnish the pieces before drilling for use. If you’d prefer to eat the candy, add a teaspoon of flavoring extract when you add the food coloring.
This process works well if you want to make just a few pieces of sea glass for pendants or focal pieces. You need a piece of frosted glass without sharp edges or pointed corners. Pat several colors of pigment ink on to the glass with sponges. Several shades of the same hue work well for your color choices. Dust the inked glass with ultra-thick embossing enamel. Heat the enamel with a hairdryer until it melts and add another dusting of enamel powder. Repeat once more so you have a thick, frosted layer of enamel. Let the enamel dry and craft as you like.
Shiny glass pieces, like those used in vases, work well for this method. Coat them in etching cream or place them in a liquid glass etching solution. Wear rubber gloves while working with the solution because it can damage your skin. When the glass etches for about 20 minutes, rinse off the pieces. They should be frosted and ready for any sea glass craft you want to make.