Updated: Aug 27
Many people love using crushed glass in their resin projects for added texture. Cracked glass also reflects light in unpredictable ways and can be quite beautiful.
Crafting fine art using glass can be two-dimensional (like a collage), or sculptural or even three-dimensional. Some people may think the glass medium is more on the crafty side, however quality fine art has resulted from renowned artists working with glass and resin &/or glue.
Craft glass isn't always easy to find. Many stores carry crushed glass as a vase filler near their dried flower & vase sections. Michaels Craft Stores carries Ashland crushed glass in bags or plastic jars, but recently they've been sold out often. There's also a brand of glass gems called True Living (can't remember where they're sold). Ikea, Bed Bath & Beyond, Homesense, Walmart & Dollar stores sometimes carries it in their craft aisles or floral area. You can check a variety of different stores for it as well. Some people have found glass at pet supply stores for fish aquariums.
Another option is to buy fire-glass designed for gas firetables & firepits to use instead. They tend to be a bit bigger and you can usually find a few sizes. The fire-glass can be purchased at Home Depot or Lowes and anywhere gas firetables & gas firepits are sold. End of season sales are often a good time to buy.
Another option is to buy glass mulch used in landscaping. Glass mulch is sold in bags ranging from 1 pound to 50 pounds, and is usually larger in 1 to 2 inch size. Terrazzo glass contains very small pieces often used in flooring and counter tops.
If you can't find crushed glass, you can make some using marbles, or glass stones (the half rounds work great). These can be purchased at the same stores and aisles as mentioned above. These tend to be more readily available.
Directions for making your own crushed glass with glass stone 1/2 rounds:
Some people boil their glass stones, or fry them, but I find the oven method easiest.
Take a 9 x 13 baking pan, and place the flat side of the half round glass stones down.
Bake in oven at 450'F for 20 minutes, then remove and immediately
Dump into ice water. The extreme heat into extreme cold will cause the glass to crack.
Pat dry and put into ziplock bags if wanting to smash at a later date.
Always ensure your glass is dry prior to smashing/crushing.
You can cook & cool several batches one day, and then crush and store the next day.
For crushing the glass, set a towel down (don't use a good one), then set your now cracked glass pieces on the towel, cover with another section of towel, and smash with a hammer. Or you can try double bagging with the thicker ziplock baggies before hammering, still put a towel under it though. If you prefer to smash the glass directly, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes.
Ensure there are no children or pets nearby that flying glass could hit.
Tempered Glass is another option:
Call or talk to your local glass and window businesses, to see if you can purchase tempered glass. Shower doors, glass patio tabletops, and patio glass railings patio doors are all tempered glass. Storm door windows are great too. Do not get windshield glass, as it's not the same. You can ask the glass shop if they would save a patio door blank, one that was broken and not with a defective seal, and is stained on the inside. Or ask for a tempered orphan, which is a piece of tempered glass someone made a size or edgework error on when ordering.
Lay the glass down on cardboard or a towel. Put safety goggles and protective gear on.
Tap the edge, or the side to start it cracking. The center tends to be very strong. If using a tempered glass plate, score it, put it in a bag, then take nippers to the edge and it will explode beautifully in the bag. You can then store the crushed glass in a jar or ziplock bag or container.
If you want to keep the islands of glass (that have not yet separated) together, set them on cardboard and in a plastic box or shoe box or protective container.
Plain regular glass:
This option is not as ideal as above options, but it can be used if all sharp edges are fully covered in resin. Collect clear and coloured glass from a variety of sources. Picture frame glass you don't need, jars, bottles, etc.
Try not to work with broken glass inside your house (garage or patio would be better). Lay down a tarp to catch loose fragments during the shattering process. Put an old towel or shop towel over top the glass. Rap the glass firmly with a hammer. If you apply too much pressure it may just turn to glass dust which isn't really as useful (unless it can be turned into glitter glass....hmmmm). Pick out pieces you can use. Carefully discard the dust so not pets or humans can get cut by anything remaining.
If you have a rock tumbler, you can tumble broken bottle glass into smoother glass pieces. Just strain and rinse afterwards then dry thoroughly.
Caution: When working with glass, safety measures are important and responsible. Safety goggles, protective clothing and gloves so you don't cut yourself.
Colouring Your Crushed Glass
You can easily colour/dye your crushed glass using a variety of colourants, to any of your desired colour choices.
You can use alcohol inks (note they are not lightfast, so be aware they can fade or potentially discolour over time). If using alcohol inks, be careful if you typically spray alcohol on your pieces after creating, as you can reactivate the alcohol ink and it might change on you.
You can also use Bombay India Inks, and Liquitex Acrylic Inks, be sure they are thoroughly dry before adding them to resin projects. Also note since these mediums have more opaque tendencies, they may not sparkle or reflect the glass quite as much as the more transparent mediums (alcohol inks and our lightfast transparent resin tints).
Any of our ArtWorks Resin Canada Transparent Resin Tints (from Colour Passion and Le'Rez Expressions), will work beautifully to tint the glass while remaining transparent. The more transparent option helps keep the reflective qualities of the glass, plus they are lightfast (will not fade or discolour over time like alcohol inks might).
Put the crushed glass in a cup or a container with lid, add a few drops of choice of colourant and stir. If you need a deeper tone, add a few drops at a time until you get the desired colour. To ensure they're all mixed well, you can dump them back and forth between two different cups as part of the stirring/mixing to ensure all the colourants that drop to the bottom, are mixed into the glass. or if it's the container with a lid, you can shake it all inside the container. Condiment tubs with lids work great, and they can be reused for storing after they're dried. Once mixing is done, spread the coloured crushed glass out over some paper towel, to dry thoroughly.
Enjoy creating! ;)