When a beautiful piece of pottery breaks, it is not destroyed. It’s made all more beautiful with kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold instead of glue. When a beloved glass object or frame shatters, all you see are the sharp shards of the object’s prior beauty and what’s left to clean up without injuring yourself. However, all is not lost. Glass glue, grout and a little ingenuity can mean new life and reuse for broken glass.
Needless to say, broken glass cuts skin easily. You must handle the sharp edges gently. When cleaning up glass, always remember to block the area off from children and pets until the task is done. Rubber-coated gloves are helpful to shield your hands as you pick up the broken pieces. When cleaning up or re-purposing broken glass, you’ll need to have safety glasses on hand for when you break down or grind down the pieces further, to not get glass in your eyes.
Always take your time and be extra gentle with the glass as you’re working with it. Spread the pieces over an even surface where they are clearly visible, such as on newspaper. With the proper tools in place, you’re all set to re-purpose the broken glass into something new and beloved:
Repurposed Sea Glass
Do you have a rock tumbler or concrete mixer? If so, you’ve a small factory to make your own sea glass! All you do is carefully feed the glass bits in with water and coarse sand, and let them tumble for several hours or days, depending on the final look you want.
Then, sift the pieces of glass through the screen and carefully wash them. Use these in glass vases with a beautiful bouquet or line them along windowsills for a beautiful reflection.
Wine Bottle Vases
The neck of a wine bottle is the most fragile, but if the body is intact, transform it into a beautiful vase with sandpaper and a glass cutter. You’ll need to wear protective, thick gloves and be careful not to cut yourself on the edges as you carefully cut the glass bottle.
Under the break, score along the perimeter of the bottle with the glass cutter. Then, carefully apply heat along the score line with a candle. Quickly submerge the bottle into ice water, and it will cleanly break apart across the cut line.
Start with a medium-grit sandpaper to smooth the score lines. Smooth the edges with a fine-grit sandpaper until it is safe to touch with a slightly round shape. Fill with fresh flowers.
Recycled Glass Mosaic
Create a beautiful mosaic out of recycled glass to hang on your wall or display elsewhere. Draw your design on the surface of a cement base board. Two holes need to be drilled one-third of the way from the top. Secure the machine screws. These anchors will allow you to attach wire to hang the completed mosaic tile.
Use different shades of one color to create a rippling waterfall design or various colors to create another design. Spread hand-mixable cement on a small portion of your design, and you can apply each glass bead with tweezers. Only the top half of the bead should show when pressed down. Repeat the process until the tile is completely full, and fill the edge with a thin layer of the cement. Paint or cement dye adds color between the glass beads. Simply let it dry and you’re done.
Decorate a Mirror Frame
Upgrade the look of a plain mirror frame by decorating it with sanded or tumbled old glass pieces. Multiple colors add flair and a pop of color in a simple room design. Hot glue or a strong glass bonding glue will secure the pieces to the frame. Fill spaces in the middle with more glue or caulk, if you like. Display the recycled glass mirror frame in any room for a boost of color.
Create a Charming Prism Night Light
Wax candles create a fire hazard in the bathroom. Instead, welcome romance and safety to your bathroom with mason jars decorated with recycled glass and LED tea lights. Adhere glass pieces to the mason jar with a strong glass bonding glue. Choose a soothing blue or green color, or match an accent color.
Once the glue has dried, add an LED tea candle and run a hot bath. These charming night lights may be placed in a room to shift the mood to a more ambient one.
Decorating with recycled glass lends a unique, inspired and rustic look to your home while being more Earth-conscious in the process. A little glue, safety glasses, gloves, and creativity go a long way to adding new creative touches to your home and give broken objects new life.
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