How To Decorate Your Home With Sea Glass

There's something about the blue, green and pastel shades in coastal homes that makes many of us yearn to recreate the look in our own spaces. One fun and creative way to do this is by learning how to decorate your home with sea glass. Sea glass is what By the Sea Jewelry calls "a reverse gem." While gemstones are created by nature and polished up by humans, sea glass is man-made and later refined by nature. This process takes years. While some sea glass may be the byproduct of littering, other pieces may be from much older sources — like shipwrecks or natural disasters — giving these pieces even more character when you add them to your home (via My Modern Met). Pounded by waves, salt water, and sand, the pieces of glass become frosted mementos that can really make your home beautiful.

Sea glass comes in many colors, shapes, and sizes, though some are more common than others. You are most likely to find brown, white and green glass. Blue is slightly less common, but not as rare as reds and yellows. There are dozens of ideas, from simple to ornate, to incorporate these gorgeous pieces into your design scheme. Now, you can make your home feel like a beach house — no matter how far you are from the shore.

Create sea glass-bedazzled jars

The idea of bedazzling mason jars works equally well with seashells, but, by using sea glass, you'll get more shine and shimmer. Luckily, mason jars are available everywhere from grocery stores to craft stores, as well as online on Amazon and more. You may even have some around the house already. You can repurpose jars from things like spaghetti and other sauces, too.

A Pumpkin & A Princess has simple step-by-step instructions for creating a unique piece with sea glass. You'll need a mason jar, decoupage glue, a brush, twine, and, of course, sea glass. She recommends working in sections, coating one side of your jar with glue first. Then, attach the glass and let it dry before moving on to the next section. Once all your sides are dry, you can tie a strand of twine around the neck of the mason jar for an added touch. If you're looking for something more art-deco, you could try making a mason jar candle holder. Angie Holden of The Country Chic Cottage does so by attaching sea glass to a mason jar with Krazy Glue, then filling in the spaces between the pieces with air-dry clay. This creates the look of grouted tile. Just be sure to use a tool to smooth out the clay before it dries!  

Craft a sea glass window art piece

Making a sea glass window is a brilliant idea that will not only allow you to use your creativity, but also brighten up whatever room you put it in. If you've just returned from vacation, this is a beautiful way to display all your recovered sea glass. Odyssey Sea Glass points out that you'll need to use plexiglass instead of actual glass. This is because the weight of the sea glass is too much for real glass, and it will cause it to break. To make this art piece, you first want to glue the pieces of sea glass to the plexiglass in your design of choice. Then, once it's dried, simply frame it and hang it in a place that catches a lot of light.

Or, you could try making a similar version, but this time by using an old window frame, as seen on Completely Coastal. Since this glass is part of a window, it's ideally a little stronger than a sheet of regular glass, but still be careful that it doesn't break. A major upside of this approach is that the weathered wood frame accents the sea glass beautifully. If your window frame is newer, you can give it a worn-in look with chalk paint and a wax finish. Or, you could even sand them strategically in areas to create the illusion of a weathered look. 

Repurpose a bird bath into a sea glass table

This is one of the more unique ideas on our list: turn a bird bath into a sea glass-decorated table, as seen on Completely Coastal. You can use any style of bird bath you'd like, whether it's ornate with elaborate designs, or modern and industrial. Once you've chosen your bird bath (you can also use a garden urn), fill it with your preferred colors of sea glass — as well as anything else that fits the vibe you're going for. Blues and greens work well if you are looking for a coastal feel, but don't be afraid to think outside the box with more unconventional sea glass colors. Check your local craft store to see their selection. Also, if your bird bath is deep and you find yourself needing way more glass than you have, fill the base of the bath with packing paper and then add the sea glass on top of that. 

After you've filled your birdbath with sea glass, cover it with a piece of glass for the tabletop, that way you can see all your seafaring souvenirs through it. These tables are perfect for outside use, but they can also be used as nightstands and accent tables inside your home. And if bird baths or garden urns aren't your thing, you could always purchase a shadow box table. 

Create mosaic sea glass designs on furniture

You can add mosaic sea glass designs to all types of furniture, but some of these types of DIYs are a bit more time consuming and labor intensive than others. Tables are a preferred piece of furniture for mosaics, because the space they provide is relatively easy to work with. Think of them as blank canvas, limited only by your imagination. 

To make a table as seen on Instructables, first decide on what decorating materials you're going to use. Use sea glass, shells, stones, sand dollars, or a combination of all of the above. Next you'll need your table of choice, as well as tile adhesive and grout. If you want to make a custom grout color, be sure to mix up a large batch of it that'll last the entire project, so you don't have to worry about trying to match it down the line. Instructables also had the genius idea to line the rim of the table with tile for a more completed look. Top everything with a coat of sealant if you'll be using this table outdoors, or if you just want to ensure everything stays looking shiny.

If you're not in the market for a new table, know you have other options. Check out Project Nursery for the easy DIY of covering a dresser cabinet (or drawer) with a sea glass mosaic. This is perfect for a child's room, or really any other room in your house. We love this idea for a powder room.

Decorate with sea glass and shell frames

A sea glass and seashell decorated picture frame is another idea you can DIY. Coastal communities sell these items by the dozens, but what better way to create a memory than to craft it on your own with things you've gathered on a recent trip? The Bermudian gives simple, step-by-step instructions to decorate a frame with your collected souvenirs. Any existing wooden frame you have will work (you can get quite affordable ones at craft stores). You will also need sandpaper, Elmer's glue, epoxy glue, as well as sand, sea glass, and shells. 

Start by scuffing up the wooden frame to add some grit and texture — this will help the glue and other items stick. Brush the Elmer's glue over the frame, coat it with sand, and allow it to dry completely. Once it's dry (usually waiting 24 hours is best), tap the frame to remove any sand that is still loose. This is when you can apply a second coat of glue and sand if necessary — just remember to let it fully dry a second time. If you are using your own collected sea glass, the drying period for the frame allows you time to wash and dry your souvenirs. The cleaner your sea glass, the brighter your final presentation will be. Use epoxy glue to attach the glass, shells, and other items to the frame. Pro tip: Place larger pieces near the bottom of the frame. 

Use sea glass to build a bowl

This ingenious idea lets you craft a bowl entirely out of sea glass. Use it to store shells and other beach-related items, or keep it by a front door to hold your keys. All you need for this DIY project is glue, plastic wrap, a bowl the size and shape of the one you want to create, sea glass, and some fine grit sandpaper. Debi's Design Diary points out some things to keep in mind when tackling this particular project. The first thing you need to remember is to use small pieces of glass. The larger ones are heavier and can cause your bowl to collapse. You also want to work from the bottom of the bowl to the top. This will prevent your glass pieces from sliding off.

You'll also want to use a clear glue (Debi recommends Aleene's tacky glue). This is essential in all the sea glass projects we've discussed. Using non-clear adhesives will impact the finished look of your sea glass, and the last thing you want is noticeable glops of white glue. It's also important to note that glue will affect the shine of the sea glass. Pieces covered in glue will be shiny, and those without glue will keep their original frosted look. Debi coated the inside of her bowl with glue, but kept the outside glue-free.

Ring in summer with sea glass chimes

A wind chime made out of pieces of sea glass will not only beautifully accessorize the exterior of your home, but it will add some soothing sounds too. You can use any color of glass, but Our Boat House recommends trying an ombre design. To achieve this, look for pieces in multiple shades of the same color, and make sure you have a few that are clear or white. Arrange your sea glass pieces in multiple lines, with each line going from darkest or lightest in color.

Once your sea glass is all lined up, attach string to a piece of driftwood. This is how you will hang your wind chimes. Twine makes a nice choice here, and it's weather-resistant for use outside. Once you have threaded the string through the holes in the driftwood, tie them off in knots, and apply a dab of glue to secure the knots in place. To add the pieces of sea glass you can glue them, but the hold will be firmer if you string them like beads. This means you will either need to drill holes in your sea glass, or buy pre-drilled pieces. Not only will this be a beautiful decoration, but your wind chimes will sound lovely and make your porch or patio feel like a beach cottage.

Display art made from sea glass

Whether you're wanting to create your own piece, or purchase already made art, sea glass can bring that touch of nature your interior design scheme needs. According to The Heather Chronicles, there are tons of designs you can create using sea glass, and you just need a few additional supplies like a glue, a picture frame, and card stock to make a simple craft project. Simply glue a sea glass design on the card stock (make sure it's cut to fit the frame), then pop it in the frame, and you've got a great piece of wall art.

If you'd like to purchase sea glass art instead, head over to Etsy. You can also find them on Amazon and some big-box retailers, too. For dedicated DIYers who haven't collected any sea glass as of late, you can purchase sets to make your own sea glass artwork. Shers Beachy Creations on Etsy offers a set that lets you create a wave crashing toward the shore, and We Shell Overcome sells a version that replicates a crab standing, with its claws erect, made with shells and sea glass. These would make for unique art pieces to display in any coastal-themed house — and they'll be fun to DIY too.

Reflect your best self in a sea glass mirror

Sea glass is in a fantastic accent anywhere, but one place where you can really appreciate it daily is on a mirror. Beach Grass Cottage makes artisan versions and most are also adorned with sand dollars, starfish, or assorted shells. Another great seller is Whitby Sea Glass Art on Etsy. These come in various sizes and shapes, and can complement any room in your house.

If you're a crafty sort of person, you could even try making your own. Cottage in the Oaks takes you through a great tutorial. First, grab a framed mirror and spray paint it if it's not already the color you want. When it comes to adding the sea glass to your frame, you have options. You can go heavy on the glass, covering all of the exposed areas. Or, you can leave parts of it showing through in gaps and spaces between the sea glass pieces. How heavily or sparsely you decide to decorate is entirely up to your personal preference. Finally, you can add embellishments or other recovered odds and ends to give the piece some real personality.

Choose sea glass trays and boxes

Put your sea glass mementos to good use and capture those vacation memories with a keepsake box, or, as Resin Crafts suggests, a trinket tray. Many people choose these types of boxes and trays to store their jewelry, but you can use them for all kinds of odds and ends. They make a real statement sitting on a bureau or dresser in your bedroom. Of course, those don't have to be the only places you use them — if you want them to be more on display, place them on a table by your door (they're great for keys), or in your living room or kitchen. 

An alternative is using shadow boxes decorated with sea glass. That way, you can not only store your findings, but also put them on display! MomDot made a custom shadow box picture display by securing an image to the back of the box and gluing beach finds to it, and then adding some sand to sit on the bottom of the box. If you've returned from vacation with sea glass and some great new pictures, this is the DIY for you.

Create a sea glass-inspired tablescape

Decorate your table with sea glass for coastal-themed meals. You can do this by simply filling jars with sea glass for a fun centerpiece, or for stylish accents that line the table. You could even add them to the bottom a vase filled with a bouquet of flowers. This serves the dual purpose of helping to hold your flowers upright, while also adding an extra decorative touch.

If you're looking for something a bit different, you can also make a floating candle holder with your sea glass, as seen on A Sparkly Life for Me. Simply fill most of a vase with sea glass, add enough water to reach the top, and then finish with a floating candle. While a vase filled with sea glass alone is great, the floating candle makes it a really show-stopper. You'll get the flicker of the candle, in addition to sparkle of the light hitting the sea glass and water. How's that for warm and inviting?