Working With Sea Glass

The location based sentimental value and the natural journey of sea glass, not to mention the very low to zero cost, are all things that make it such an appealing material to work with. Sea glass jewellery has become so popular over the last few years that there has never been more sea inspired jewellery designs... and we love it! 

Being based 5 minutes from the ocean here at Kernowcraft, we've made our fair share of sea glass jewellery. Here are our top tips when it comes to making jewellery with it - including the best tools and techniques!

Plus, if you don't live near a beach and do not have access to beach found sea glass, we've included the perfect solution...

Sort Your Sea Glass

Before starting the design process, it is always helpful to sort your collection of sea glass for different jewellery designs. Some shapes suit certain ways of setting better than others. 

For example if you want to bezel set a piece of sea glass it is easier if it has a flat surface and even height.

Products Needed: To bezel set a piece of sea glass you will need: Bezel strip - for the edges, metal sheet for the base and solder paste to solder these components together.

Drilling Your Sea Glass

Once you have drilled a hole in your seaglass you can easily hang it from a chain (or make into earrings) by hanging it on a jump ring and chain. When drilling a piece of sea glass make sure you keep it lubricated with water to reduce the chances of it cracking and to keep the diamond coated drill bit cool so it drills smoothly (this will also increase the life of your drill bit). 

Submerging the glass in water when drilling will reduce the build up of heat and it also helps to remove the glass particles as you drill through it. Taking your time here is very important. 

Products Needed: To drill through sea glass you will need a hand held, high speed rotary drill such a Dremel 4000 with flexi-shaft, and a diamond coated drill bit to attach to the the tool - these are the ultimate attachment for drilling sea glass.

Create An Even Drill Hole

For an even drill hole on thicker bits of glass, drill about 3/4 of the way through the piece of glass, then turn the glass over and drill from the other side. 

Applying Pressure

Apply the right amount of pressure for the size of your glass. Thinner pieces of glass will need lighter pressure as they are more fragile. 

Thicker pieces will need more pressure and will take longer to drill. It is important to stay patient with the thicker pieces of sea glass as trying to drill through them too quickly will cause your glass to break. Always make sure you rinse the debris from the hole frequently to keep it cool and cutting at its optimum.

Working With Wire

When wire wrapping your sea glass, choose an appropriate gauge wire (diameter). The larger the pieces the thicker the wire you will need to support it.

Products Needed: When wire wrapping your sea glass you will need a metal wire of your choice and the correct wire cutters and pliers to cut and manipulate your wire into shape. 

If you are a beginner to wire work and jewellery making, we recommend our pack of pliers and side cutters, which includes the tools you need to start wire wrapping gemstones and sea glass. 

Patience 

It is better to take your time than to break your piece of well found sea glass! Working with sea glass does take some trial and error to get it right, so being patient is key. 

Don't Live Near A Beach? Create The Sea Glass Look At Home...

Our Tumbling Machine For Polishing Stones will enable you to start tumble polishing your own glass, pebbles, rocks, shells or gems to a matt or gloss finish! Tumble polishers (also known as rock tumblers, lapidary tumblers and rotary tumblers) work by `tumbling` grit particles around in the spinning barrel which repeatedly fall onto the material being polished. The tiny scratches made this way gradually polish the surface.

So it could be as simple as breaking something glass (safely of course!) and tumbling the pieces until they have that matt finish and no sharp edges.

To buy the Tumbling Machine For Polishing Stones click here.

New To Sea Glass? Buy The Kit To Make Your Own Jewellery...

The items below are easy to create jewellery with and will enable you to make several different projects with your own collection of sea glass. 

Glue on bails are perfect to create an instant sea glass pendant with! Use with our trusted Devcon 5 Minute Epoxy glue.

The ultimate easy way to turn your seaglass into a pendant - capture inside one of these spiral pendants and hang on a chain.