Sea Glass Jewelry for Beginners

Why sea glass jewelry?

Four months ago I hadn’t even considered making sea glass jewelry. Sure, I thought it was pretty and I wanted some of my own, but the idea of making it wasn’t on my radar screen. Not that it wasn’t appealing, it’s just that I already have 25 irons in the fire + two little girls that own my heart and a very good portion of my time.

But then my sea glass collection started to grow. One jar turned into two. Two turned into 12. And before long, there were 20 jars of sea glass in my living room. I knew there was no end in site to this ever-expanding collection. What am I going to do with all of this glass? Not collecting it anymore is out of the question. My weekend visits to the beach add to the joy factor in my life – exponentially. I’m pretty confident that the same is true for my husband and six-year old daughter. (My four-year old is still a bit young to fully appreciate sea glass, but she’s a good sport and I’m sure in another year or two she will be a full fledged junkie like her big sis.)

Then I went to the Sea Glass Festival in Erie, Pennsylvania in October – and presto mundo, I saw the light. Squeezing my way through the hoards of men and women buying sea glass jewelry was a real eye opener. People dig this stuff. I mean, I dig it too – in a big way, but who knew where were so many crazed fans?

I got back to the hotel and had a little heart to heart with my hubby.

“So we have this large collection of lovely sea glass and it’s just sitting in mason jars. Hmmm,” I said.

“Let’s go get a Dremel,” he said.

In half an hour we were on our way to Home Depot to pick up our drill, then off to Rona to get our drill press.

It sat idle in our basement until last night when we had our first drilling session.

Darin did the honours of drilling the first piece – because truthfully, I’m a bit frightened of power tools. It’s not something I am proud of. I consider myself  a wimp in this department, and I fully intend on overcoming my apprehension by drilling my first piece this evening. (Hopefully when I write my next post I won’t be wearing bandages.)

Anyway, it took Darin ten minutes to get through one piece of glass. He went very slowly, and I’m sure it won’t always take this long. (I hope not!)

The Youtube video captures the entire enthralling experience!!! (I realize that most people will probably get to the 30 second mark and get up for a bathroom break), but I wanted to capture the entire event in real time.

I am going to document every step of the way in my jewelry making journey. From learning to drill, to making my first jump ring. I hope some of you will come along for the ride – and if you’re new at this, learn along with me.

so far
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10 minutes for one hole … ouch. It should take under a minute. Use the dremel at next to it’s lowest setting. Flip over the piece you are drilling just before punching through and counter drill it to provide a clean exit hole. Rapid up and down motion with gentle pressure. I have found that to mark your holes a pencil works best, the graphite reflects the light very well. A paper towel under the dish filled with water helps to prevent movement of the dish and reduces vibration. A larger dish is helpful (makes it easier to hold the piece being drilled) and using a small wooden block to place the glass on is very helpful. Diamond tipped drill bits are a must and of course I suggest picking them up at

Thanks so much for the tips Charles. I will try them out!

I was in Erie! 2010 Sea Glass Festival is in Hyannis, MA next week. Hope to see you there!

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