Topics: Metalsmithing, Tumbler, Bead Glass

Q.
Can I use the rock tumbler to make beach glass?
- Conger
A.
Yes you can use the tumbler for creating pieces that look like beach glass.

Consider your first batch a test to assess which tumbling media works best for the glass you have chosen, as well as how long you need to tumble for. Here is a guideline to help get you started:
  • Carefully break glass inside a towel or sheet, breaking it into manageable sized pieces, around 1-inch x 1-inch (a little larger or smaller depending on the design you have in mind)
  • Carefully place a few pieces (half dozen or less) into the barrel of the tumbler
  • Pour in the manufacturer's recommended amount of Step 1 tumbling media and tumble following manufacturer's directions
  • After the manufacturer's recommended amount of time, remove the lid from the tumbler and assess your success
Adjust the above process accordingly, depending on the results achieved. Change the variables as needed: tumble for a longer length of time, add more glass or tumbling media, progress to Step 2 of the tumbling media or any other variable you feel will help achieve the look you're going for.

The first time I tumbled glass (from a broken blue bottle of wine) I tumbled the broken pieces in a sand and rock mixture I made from materials found at my local hardware store (simulating sand found at the beach).

- Tammy Honaman, Author, Jewelry-Making Expert and Educator

Materials Resources

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