Instructions on how to make a decorative candle holder out of sea glass.
Sea glass is a shard of glass that has spent time tumbling up and down the shoreline to the motion of the tides. After a while, the grinding against sand causes the edges of the shard to soften, and the surface to take on a frosted appearance and rougher texture. This glass is highly sought after by crafters for its wide range of uses in making jewelry, mosaics, and other crafts. One way to use sea glass to really show off its beauty is by using it to decorate a candle holder. Light from the candle permeates the glass, and creates a soft glow.
List of Supplies
-15 to 30 small to medium pieces of sea glass (for two or three small candle holders)
- Tub of non-sanded grout
- A wide (1”+) paintbrush, rubbing alcohol, a dry cloth, and an old toothbrush
-Any size clear glass candle holders
-Hot glue gun and sticks
- A small bowl to mix grout, rubber gloves, newspaper, and a mixing stick
Sea glass can be found at local beaches, artificially made, or bought in a store. At the beach, the best time to look for sea glass would be around low tide. Scan the shoreline for any pieces, taking special notice to clusters of rocks. To make beach glass, have the shards spin in a rock tumbler with sand and water for four days or more. Also, bags of artificially tumbled sea glass are available a crafting stores like AC Moore and Michael’s. While creating or buying artificial sea glass is more convenient, many feel that natural sea glass often looks better, and less uniform.
Non-sanded grout and hot glue guns/sticks can be found at craft stores and hardware supply chains, such as Lowe’s or The Home Depot, while clear glass candle holders are usually found at the previously mentioned craft stores. For a mixing stick, a popsicle stick should suffice.
Gluing the Pieces
Using the hot glue gun, apply a liberal amount to the underside of the sea glass piece you plan to adhere to the candle holder. Apply the glue to the entire underside, as a small dollop usually won’t adhere to the smooth glass candle holder for very long. I found that the easiest method to apply the pieces was to simply apply a top ring of sea glass to the candle holder, and then move down layer by layer until the holder is covered. Try to leave 4mm to a little under 1 cm between each piece of sea glass. When applying sea glass to the bottom layer, avoid pieces that jut out to the bottom, as they will make the holder unstable when standing upright. After all of the pieces have been applied, lightly push on each piece to make sure that it doesn’t come undone. If it does, reapply the hot glue.
Mixing the Grout
Lay down the newspaper over the entire area you plan to use the grout, and apply the gloves. Grout is very abrasive to skin, so wearing gloves is usually recommended – you can also wear eye protection as the grout gets dusty, but this can usually be avoided. Start by pouring 3 to 4 tablespoons of grout to the bowl. Add water until the mixture flows, but keep it viscous. A general rule is three parts grout to one part water, but I usually use a bit more water. Stir until the lumps and dry clots of grout are properly mixed in. Allow the grout to set for 3-5 minutes.
Applying the Grout
Using the paintbrush, pick up a portion of the grout and plop it onto the side of the candle holder. Smooth it over the surface, trying to maneuver it into every nook and cranny. Don’t worry about getting grout on the surface of the sea glass. After the surface has been grouted, set the holder upright. Apply a bit more grout to the side, and try to spin the holder while smoothening the grout on the bottom. Allow the piece to dry for ten to fifteen minutes.
Using the dry cloth, gently wipe away some grout from the surface of the sea glass. If a piece of sea glass feels loose, avoid touching it. As the grout dries, all of the pieces will be permanently locked in place, so don’t worry about reapplying the piece with glue. Set the piece aside for around 15-24 hours. Check that the grout has completely dried, and begin to dip the toothbrush into the rubbing alcohol, and brushing the surface of the sea glass. If any pockets of grout remain, try to pick them out with a toothpick. If you’d like, you can apply a grout sealant to the finished product.