Decorative Glass Block Ideas

Thick glass block is an interesting architectural detail, used for windows, shower walls and translucent room dividers. The individual blocks are even more decorative when a light string, the contents of an aquarium or a seasonal inspiration turns them into night lights, charming gifts or holiday decor. Grab a couple from a home supplies or craft store, a flea market or construction salvage depot and make a little magic for your home or a friend's.

Basic Glass Block

Blocks come with a slender opening along one edge that just begs for flowers. Use glass block for a modern minimalist vase that goes with any decor. Select flowers with stalks or stems that will fit in the opening, trim them to an attractive height, add room-temperature water and flower food to the block, and arrange the blooms. Mass a lot of flowers to fill the opening and keep the blooms in place. Or wedge a bit of florists' foam in the bottom of the block to stick in stems for careful placement. A handful of clear marbles in the bottom of the block will anchor sculptural dry branches in a water-free display.

Spooks and Spiders

A new twist on an old jack-o'-lantern is reusable for many Halloweens. Drill a hole in the bottom corner of a glass block; this requires a diamond core drill bit, a power drill, and cold running water or diamond drill bit cooler, to keep things from heating up too much and cracking the block. Use protective goggles when drilling holes in glass blocks and rinse the blocks thoroughly to remove all dust when you are finished drilling. Once the block is prepared, stuff a string of tiny orange lights in the cavity of the block; thread the lights carefully through the hole so a length of cord and the plug remain outside. Glue a glittery black flat spider to each of the large sides of the block -- find spiders in craft stores or cut your own from craft paper. Glue three-dimensional plastic glitter spiders or shimmery gauzy ghosts in a heap over the top of the block for extra creepiness. Set the block in a front window or on the porch and plug it in for an orange and black Halloween treat.

Frosty the Snow Block

You'll need two glass blocks, one small and one large, for this shiny snowman. Those are usually easy to find in craft stores, and they come with pre-drilled and plugged holes to save you the trouble. Put about 1/3 of a clear light string in the smaller, top block and the other 2/3s in the larger bottom block. Leave a length of the cord and the plug dangling from one of the holes so you can connect Frosty to a power source. Glue the blocks, open ends together, with industrial-strength clear glass adhesive and let it set hard. Glue three black buttons to the large block and paint black dot eyes, a mouth and an orange carrot nose on the small block with glass paint. Cut a piece of fleece to wrap around the joint between the two blocks for a muffler, snipping an inch or 2 of fringe on either end of the fleece. Make a cap with a foot-long piece of fleece about 2 inches wider than the circumference of the small block. Glue the fabric into a tube and tie off the top into a tassel with a skinny strip of fleece. Roll up the open end and fit the cap over Frosty before plugging him in.

Age of Aquarius

Glue plastic aquarium decorations and clear pebbles or colored gravel in place inside a clear glass block, using thin tongs to help arrange the pieces. Suspend rubber or plastic tropical fish on monofilament, tied or glued to a narrow clear acrylic bar or painted wood tongue depressors, glued across the top opening of the block. The fish appear to be swimming in clear water. Set the aquarium in front of a low-wattage night light in a nursery, or drop in a battery-operated tea light for an evening patio centerpiece.

About the Author

Benna Crawford has been a journalist and New York-based writer since 1997. Her work has appeared in USA Today, the San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times, and in professional journals and trade publications. Crawford has a degree in theater, is a certified Prana Yoga instructor, and writes about fitness, performing and decorative arts, culture, sports, business and education .