How to make your own sea glass

I love to craft with sea glass! Luckily I currently live within walking distant to the beach. If you would love to craft with sea glass but you aren't close to the waves, don't worry! There's another option where you can make your own sea glass at home from old bottles and glass. Read on for the materials and directions!

Materials needed:

  1. Old glass bottles: I used some old gin bottles, but you could use any other glass you have on hand.

  2. Trash bags

  3. Bucket

  4. Sledge hammer

  5. Rock tumbler

  6. Grit or sand for tumbler

  7. Safety goggles

  8. Cut resistant gloves


  1. Pick out the glass you want to turn into sea glass. We collect empty alcohol bottles from all who are willing to share for my various crafts, so I usually use some of the colored glass gin bottles. That said, you can use any old glass that you'd like. You should note that if the glass is painted and not colored, the process of tumbling the glass will likely remove the color that is painted on.

  2. Clean the glass thoroughly. I soak my bottles in some warm soapy water for about 30 minutes, and the labels peel right off. I also wash out the insides.

  3. Place your old glass inside a double layer of trash bags and tie those shut. This will prevent shards of glass from flying out when you are smashing the glass.

  4. Put your trash bag with glass inside a large bucket.

  5. Put on your safety goggles!

  6. Use the sledgehammer to smash away! You can make the shards as large or as small as you would like. Sometimes the shards themselves shrink a bit as they are tumbling, so I wouldn't go too small. That said, I like a lot of variety, so I tend to make various sizes; that way I always have some on hand for whatever project I'm cooking up!

  7. Put on your protective gloves. I use some that are glass and cut resistant. This is important because there will be a lot of shards of glass that could be really dangerous.

  8. Carefully open your trash bags and examine your shattered glass. Pick out the pieces that you like and want to see turned into the ocean's treasures.

  9. Put the pieces you like inside your rock tumbler. I fill my tumbler up about half way. Then I add about 1/4 cup of grit to my glass. You can also use sand if that is easier for you to get. Most rock tumblers come with some grit as starter, and that lasts me forever, and I like the look of the grit, which seems to work faster than the sand, but you can experiment and add what works for you.

  10. Then cover your glass and grit with water, so your rock tumbler is about 3/4 of the way full. You need some open space in the tumbler so that your glass has room to tumble against itself and the grit.

  11. Turn on your tumbler and set it at medium speed for 4 days. Depending on your tumbler, your glass may take slightly less or more time. To be safe, you can stop your tumbler on the morning of the 3rd day and see if you are happy with the way it looks.

  12. Empty your tumbler and wash off your newly made sea glass! Your tumbler will be filled with grit and sludge after a few days. I empty mine into a colander in the yard and spray off the glass with a hose. I don't want to risk clogging up the sink with the sludge. Some people prefer to reuse the grit, but that's a bit too much work for me, and I found that it didn't work as well the second time around.

  13. Enjoy your sea glass!

*Note that I link to Amazon as part of their affiliate program, but I only recommend items that I use (as you can see from all my pictures!).

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