Working With Sea Glass

Make incredible jewellery with sea glass...

Sea glass jewellery is a style that has become really popular and we're not surprised! Located beside the sea, here at Kernowcraft we are always so inspired by the seaside and can often be found at the beach finding new ideas for our jewellery designs. Read below for more insight into sea glass and 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... just read on to find out!

What is sea glass?

Sea glass is produced through man-made bottles and glass being thrown into the ocean, which has then been tumbled smooth by the waves. It can take years for this process to happen and for a good piece of sea glass you want it to be frosted with smooth edges. The best thing about sea glass is that is it costs nothing - even if you do have to go on a little search to find them! 

Where do I find sea glass?

Sea glass can be found all over the world, especially locations where there are more people. All you have to do is find your nearest beach, walk along the shore and beach comb your way along until you find sea glass among the other pebbles. The best time to go is when the waves have been rougher.

Found sea glass? It's time to sort out your collection!

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, this will reduce the chances of it cracking and 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.

Creating 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. 

Don't forget to be patient!

It is better to take your time than to break your piece of your precious 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 on to 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.

Read our tutorial for creating claw settings for irregular stones

Claw settings are a great way to create a design from an irregular stone such as sea glass or our free form Australian boulder opals! How pretty is this?

New To Sea Glass? These products are perfect to get you started...

Our products listed below are all great items to use when making jewellery from sea glass! 

SHOP DIAMOND COATED DRILL BITS

Your essential item for drilling holes in your sea glass! Also great for using on stones, glass, pearls and ceramics.

Shop Sterling Silver Leaf Design Glue On Bail

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

Shop Sterling Silver Shepherds Crook Earwire With Ball

Want to make earrings? These shepherds crook earwires are a really popular choice to complete the look.

Shop Sterling Silver Round Wire

If you want to wire-wrap your sea glass, our sterling silver round wire will do just the trick. Don't forget to grab yourself pliers to move and manipulate the wire. 

Shop Dremel

A must-have for any jeweller, The Dremel 4000 is high quality and robust tool at an affordable price! Perfect for sanding, carving, engraving, cutting, grinding, cleaning and polishing!

Pack of Pliers & Side Cutters

We offer a whole range of pliers separately, however this handy pack is ideal to have in one place offering all the pliers you need for jewellery making. 

Shop Charms

Love the beach theme? We have a beautiful selection of charms in all shapes, including whale tales, shells, rope and anchors.

Shop Chains

If you are making a sea glass necklace, don't forget your chain! We have a huge selection of high-quality chains and bangles.

Customer sea glass creations...

Sadie Jewellery creates this beautiful sea glass necklace! Did you know we interviewed Sadie? Find out what influences her designs and the secret to getting your designs in shops! 

Read the full interview here

Rachel from KintsugiShop shares her handmade sterling silver adjustable rings, with sea glass and sea ceramics. 

Shop our sterling silver round wire here

Did you know that Kernowcraft is located in Perranporth, Cornwall? Just a stone's throw away from the beach, we are always so inspired by the environment around us. That's why we have created The Coastal Collection , filled with charms, tones of blues and greens, with so many gemstones to keep you busy and inspired in the workshop.

Shop The Coastal Collection now

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