Glass Crafts: How to Upcycle Bottles Using Stained Glass Mosaic Cobbles
A Glass on Glass Mosaic Tutorial For Turning Plain Glass Bottles Into Treasured Collectibles
Decorating glass jars and bottles is a fun, easy craft made even more enjoyable when using Stained Glass Cobbles and glass beads for embellishment. Even the simplest glass mosaic project is prized for its translucent breathtaking visual appeal. I have been crafting with stained glass for over 20 years and I still feel spellbound with the beauty and awe it inspires. The projects I want to share with you have been carefully selected not only for their eye-popping beauty but for the ease and simplicity of crafting them.
One of the greatest pleasures of crafting with Stained Glass Cobbles is that they have softly rounded edges for easy handling and they are manufactured from re-cycled glass cullet right here in the USA. If you have a stash of glass bottles, vases and jars think about up-cycling them into these appealing treasures. If not, have fun finding a trove of shapes and all sizes of glass containers available for cool crafting.
Basic Glass Crafting Techniques Part I
Getting Started Decorating Glass Jars, Bottles and Vases
You need just a few items to get started;
1. Stained Glass Cobbles
2. A glass container
3. Glass beads(optional)
4. Glass adhesive and a wood skewer or toothpick.
Set up a work area where there is good ventilation. The adhesive is very strong scented so I prefer to have a fan circulating the air while I craft. "Cobble" on a covered work surface, newspaper works fine.
I use an old rag to cradle my glass container keeping it stable while I am gluing.
I also like to put my adhesive standing upright in an old jar or glass so that as I craft the glue is readily available.
Spread your glass cobbles out either on the table top or on a white paper plate so that you can easily view the different sizes and shapes of the pieces.
If you are using a flat faced glass container you can lay out your glass directly onto the surface then glue each piece. However, most vessels are curved, so you should have an idea of your design before you start gluing.
Scroll down to view all the different finished pieces that I have collected to inspire your creative thoughts.
In Part II of the "Basic Glass Crafting Techniques" I will go over how to set up your design. See you soon!
Stained Glass Ocean Breeze Vase - Wonderful as a Diffuser Bottle
This glass vase measures 7" in height. It took 3 ounces of Crystal Clear Mini-Cobblets and approximately 1 ounce of mixed blue beads to complete. Please note that the bottle height and shape size will determine the amount of Stained Glass Cobbles needed to complete the project, as well as the spacing between the glass pieces.
Basic Glass Crafting Techniques Part II
Marking Your Design Then "Cobbling"
Most of the finished glass jars shown were "cobbled" free handed. The above "Ocean Breeze Vase" was cobbled in three sections with a band of blue glass beads between each glass mosaic. To get equal sized sections I first measured the section of the vase where I was going to cobble then divided it by 3. I then took 3--1/8" wide rubber bands and placed them on the vase where I wanted to place the glass beads. I then proceeded to glue on my Mini-Cobblets, let them dry, took off the bands and glued on the beads to finish the vase. A very simple craft with a beautiful finished piece.
There are three size selections of Stained Glass Cobbles;
3. Cobbs, the big guys
In the Ocean Vase the little clear Mini-Cobblets were used. To apply to the vase I smeared a small amount of adhesive directly onto the vase then sprinkled the Mini-Cobblets on top of the glue, pushing them in place in a single layer while making sure they were in contact with the glue.
This process is repeated until the glass mosaic is complete.
Cobbles, the mid-sized pieces, can be applied using the same glue application then individually placed to adhere. Another technique is to use the wood skewer to smear glue to each piece then place to adhere, this allows you more control over the spacing between cobbles.
Cobbs, the big guys, should be individually smeared with adhesive and then placed.
Mini Mosaic Flower Vase - A great first time crafting project.
This little 5-sided bottle measures a whopping 3 1/2" tall. It's one of those projects that you make one, then a couple more because they are so easy and quick to make, and maybe a couple more. I love using them lined up on my kitchen windowsill and I have also used them as a table centerpiece set out on a mirror for added color reflection. A friend of mine likes to use one on a nightstand in the guest bedroom as a little way of saying "So glad that you are here". Sweet!
Almost forgot! This little guy took 2 1/2 ounces of Mixed Color Glass pieces to cover 3 of the 5 sides.
Glass Bottle Mosaic Tower - A decorator's fave
This old bottle was a fun find. 16" tall it reminds me of a tower thus it's name! I used Mixed Gold Cobbs(the big guys) and spaced the pieces far enough away from each other to give it a more dramatic look. I used about 7 to 8 ounces of glass. It is really an eye-catcher, great decorator piece.
Butterfly Mosaic Bottle - A Favorite
This sweet 5" tall bottle is so captivating and makes a treasured gift. Filled with bath salts, bubble bath or hand lotion it can be given to even the grumpiest family member and it will put a smile on their face. Only the bottle front was cobbled so it takes very little time and very little glass. I used half of a package of Mixed Blue Cobbles and a little less than that of Mixed Green Cobbles for a total of 2 1/2 ounces. I added a four glass butterflies and a few glass e-beads, with a raffia bow tied around the bottle neck. A craft project you will be "crazy about".
Basic Glass Crafting Techniques Part III
Bead Art Basics
I always put glass beads on last after I have finished my cobbling. This can be the most "cross-eyed" part of the project....those little tiny beads love to go flying in all directions so I have discovered that the easiest way for me to adhere them to the bottle (in the place where I want them to stay put), is by using the pointed end of a wood skewer or toothpick. I first use the skewer to lay down a drop of glue on the the spot where the bead is to go, then I take the still sticky skewer, pick up the bead, and then place it.
Now I have to admit most of the time no matter how careful I try to be I get glued! I find glue on my hands, behind my ears, you name it and I probably have been "glued" there as well! I can't tell you how it happens, it just does! Gremlins I think.
Seashell Diffuser Bottle
Aren't scented diffuser bottles wonderful?
I just love the ones I have but I hate to throw the old glass bottles away when the oil has lost its scent. So I have gone on a personal campaign to up-cycle them.
I embellish them with cobbles and just replace the oil and reeds.
This one is a 4 1/2" tall bottle decorated with a 2 1/2 ounce package of Mixed Blue Stained Glass Cobbles with a few Green Cobbles leftover from another project, a few seashells and glass beads (it is cobbled just on the front side).
And what a charmer it turned out to be!
All About Stained Glass Cobbles
Stained Glass Cobbles are small pieces of Cathedral Art Glass manufactured by Optimum Art Glass here in the USA. Each piece has been softly rounded for safe handling making crafting with them a breeze. Cobbles are available in three sizes; Mini-Cobblets, Cobbles, and Cobbs (the big guys) and come in a variety of gorgeous transparent colors. They are made from recycled bottles and plate glass, so when you chose "Cobbles" you are crafting "green". There are numerous craft applications for them, so be sure to check out my other lenses for more craft ideas and project templates.
Below you can see the three sizes of Stained Glass Cobbles as a reference for your crafting needs. They can be purchased online at Amazon.
See all of the beautiful colors of glass available here!
Stained Glass MiniCobblets
Cute little tiny pieces of glass great for a quick fill in of space or in a more detailed design. I have a friend that used them in her table top Zen garden, turned out quite captivating.
Stained Glass Cobbles
This is the most widely used size, great for mosaics of all types. Can also be used in jewelry, stepping stones, and body piercing (just kidding).
Stained Glass Cobbs
The Big Guys
Cobbs are perfect for filling in large areas of mosaics, they also work beautifully in stepping stones and can be made into gorgeous jewelry pendants. Another fun use is in crafting wind chimes.
Stained Glass Oil Lamp
This is a little round bottle that is 4 1/2" tall.
Three sections were cobbled using a 2 1/2 ounce package of Mixed Color Cobbles.
Light Blue craft wire was wrapped around the bottle neck then two wire wrapped Cobbles were attached to the wire wrap and hung from the three "uncobbled" sections.
The bottle was topped with a polymer clay ball embedded with an oil lamp wick holder and wick.
For a bit more information on how to make the oil lamp bottle top see below.
Oil Lamp Crafting Basics
When making your own Oil Lamp be sure to choose a bottle that can' t tip over easily. Use only sturdy flat bottomed bottles and please keep it away from children and big wagging tails on dogs. To make the ball use polymer clay in a color of your choice. Knead the clay to make it soft and pliable then form it into a ball that will cover the opening of the bottle top. Using a toothpick form a hole in the ball big enough to house the oil wick holder. After fitting the wick holder you will probably have to reshape the ball making sure the wick holder is snug in the clay. Following the manufacturers directions bake the polymer clay ball in an oven with the wick holder encased. Once cool, insert the wick into the ball, fill your bottle with the suggested lamp oil (see Amazon list below) and place the wick and ball on top of the bottle.
Bright Brass Tube Wick Holder & Wick - 1 piece - Fits 0.25 inch to 0.50 inch opening. Rounded collar that has a Diameter about 0.33 inches - Tip extends, about one-eighth inch - Includes Fiberglass Wick
Tropical Lights Candle Oil ... 99.5 percent pure liquid paraffin .. smokeless and odorless - Crystal Clear -- 16 oz. Bottle
Flower Garden Oil Lamp
This 4" tall triangular oil lamp bottle is another fun way to craft way into the night. With this project you will have a little light to look forward to. Only the front of this bottle was cobbled with 2 1/2 ounces of Mixed Colors Stained Glass Cobbles, four yellow glass flower beads, and a few glass e-beads. Cute isn't it?
For instructions on making it into an oil lamp see "Oil Lamp Crafting Basics" above.
Little Clear Vase...Easy Crafting - The Simplest of Them All
This little 3" high container was a garage sale find and I really didn't know what to do with it. So a few Crystal Clear Cobbles were adhered and "that's all folks". It is just "cute as a bugs ear" and so easy a big bug could do it if he had thumbs.