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How to Make Beach Glass | DIY Beach Glass

If you want to learn how to make beach glass, this DIY beach glass tutorial is for you!  Once you get your hands on a rock tumbler, it’s easy to create your own sea glass from broken and discarded glass.

How to Make Beach Glass

Can You Create Your Own Sea Glass?

Yes!  Using a rock tumbler and silicon carbide grit, you can mimic the way lakes and oceans tumble rough shards of glass into the smooth and frosted glass you can find on beaches.  Upcycle broken glass bottles and jars into smooth DIY beach glass with this tutorial.

Here’s What You Need to Create Beach Glass:

Notes on Supplies for DIY Beach Glass:

Yes, I already owned a rock tumbler, lol.  You can’t be surprised – I love anything to do with rocks!  It’s actually my childhood rock tumbler – and it still works, amazingly!  You can find used rock tumblers in the classifieds, on Facebook marketplace – even a thrift store, if you’re lucky.  Or you can purchase one online.

The grit for this is pretty coarse.  This summer I plan to try using beach sand – should be similar, right?  After all, that’s what turns glass into beach glass…?  I have some experimenting still to do, but if you’d like a more guaranteed method, purchasing this exact grit is the way to go: Silicon carbide grit 46/70.  It’s expensive, but a little goes a loooong way, so you can make many, many batches of beach glass from this one bag of grit.  Your rock tumbler instructions will indicate how much to use – this is classified as a “course grit”.

Rock Tumbler Grit for Beach Glass

How to Smash Glass More Safely:

Here’s a tip for smashing the glass: find some kind of container to do it in.  We used an older rubbermaid tote, but the smashing cracked the plastic because we were doing it on a gravel surface.  Try something sturdier, like a more substantial tote or a big cardboard box or wooden box.  And make sure to work on a flat, even surface.  We put the lid loosely on top while smashing.  It meant we had to smash a little blindly, but this made sure that no glass flew up into our faces while we were smashing.  Be sure to wear eye protection and safety gloves, just in case!  We opted for longer gardening gloves, to shield the whole arm while it’s inside the box hammering, but you might prefer cut resistant.

How to Make Beach Glass in a Rock Tumbler:

  1. Smash glass bottles/jars with a hammer, wearing safety gloves and eye protection.  Break the glass into pretty much the size you’d want your finished beach glass.
  2. Follow the instructions on your rock tumbler and fill with glass shards.
  3. Add silicon carbide grit 46/70 (follow rock tumbler instructions for quantity).
  4. Add water (following tumbler instructions for quantity).
  5. Let the tumbler run  – I ran mine for 3 weeks.
  6. Remove a piece at any point to see if it’s tumbled enough.
  7. Once you’re satisfied, pour into a colander and rinse a few times to remove the sludge that has been created while the rock tumbler whirred away (do NOT do this in a sink – do this outside).

DIY Sea Glass Results:

Here are the results of my process for how to make beach glass – you’ll see I also added chunks of a broken ceramic plate as an experiment.

How to Make Sea Glass at HomeDIY Sea Glass Tutorial

Next DIY Beach Glass Experiments:

This is actually my first batch of DIY beach glass and I have some ideas on how to make it better.  I have been saving up colored glass for many months and plan to make a second batch – with some aqua! – soon.  My municipality doesn’t recycle glass, so I’ve wanted to do this exclusively with glass I’ve saved from the landfill, as opposed to just buying some from the thrift store, so it took me awhile.  I wanted to share this tutorial for how to make beach glass, even though I’m still experimenting, because it turned out pretty cute and if you’re interested it might take you awhile to save up some nice glass too!  By then, I might have published my updated experiments…

  • Breaking my glass into even smaller pieces
  • Experimenting with more colored glass (I have saved up few green/teal bottles – yay!)
  • Adding some real sand – or replacing the store bought grit with sand completely
  • Adding rocks to the mixture to help “beat up” the beach glass – more like what happens in the water

What to Do with DIY Beach Glass?

I know, it’s a silly little craft.  To be honest, I just wanted to make this just because.  So much of what I create has a purpose, a detailed tutorial, it’s SEO-optimized…  I’m not complaining, but I used to make things just for fun, and that brought me joy, so I’m trying to bring more of that back into my life.  Also, I was frustrated that, in almost a decade of living lakeside, I’ve found multiple bottles full of urine, a weird broken figurine, an admittedly cool piece of drift metal, a kind of gross/cool piece of an animal skull, lots of fish parts (decidedly NOT cool because I ran over some with the lawn mower and almost barfed).  But in all that time, I have found ONE piece of beach glassONE!  So I decided to make my own.

Homemade Beach Glass

Once I make more homemade beach glass, it will be really cute for a lot of beachy projects: collected in a bowl or terrarium with air plants on top, turned into beach glass jewellery, filling a clear ornament for Christmas, arranged into chic beach glass art, or even an epic beach glass chandelier!  Lots of crafting potential when you can just MAKE beach glass – in any color or size you like!

Today kicks off the Seasonal Simplicity Summer Series! For the next several weeks we will all be sharing some fun summer DIY and decor ideas with you. You can visit all of these great summer DIY ideas by clicking on the links below the images.

DIY Faux Clay Textured Vase at The Happy Housie

DIY Outdoor Foot Washing Station at Grace in My Space

How to Make Beach Glass at Dans Le Lakehouse

Summer Estate Sale Stool Makeover at Confessions of a Serial DIYer

DIY Tapestry at My Sweet Savannah

DIY Patriotic Door Basket at She Gave it a Go

Two Easy Patriotic Pillow Covers at Tatertots and Jello

DIY Orchid Planter at Clean & Scentsible

P.S. Don’t Forget to Pin for Later!

How to Make Your Own Beach GlassDIY Summer Projects to Try



  1. June 1, 2022 / 2:37 pm

    OMG I love this idea, Tanya! The colors are gorgeous. I can’t wait to make some! Pinned 🙂


  2. June 1, 2022 / 6:51 pm

    Wow, it turned out so well! It totally looks like the beach glass that we find on the beaches out here on the west coast – so pretty!

    • June 1, 2022 / 9:16 pm

      I’m so glad to hear it looks realistic – I don’t have much to compare it to lol. Apparently one island on Lake Superior is FULL of beach glass but I haven’t yet gone to see for myself!

  3. June 1, 2022 / 10:39 pm

    Ooh I really want a rock tumbler now!! The glass looks SO pretty!! XOXO

  4. June 3, 2022 / 3:40 pm

    Oh my goodness – so pretty!! I love the colors and the ceramic plate in there!

    • June 3, 2022 / 10:11 pm

      Thank you! I wasn’t sure how the plate would tumble but it ended up really pretty. Time to smash up some more broken dishes haha!

  5. Suzanne
    June 16, 2022 / 10:42 am

    Very pretty, looks like the real thing.
    If you put the glass to be smashed into something like an old pillowcase or wrapped it in a towel it might be safer to break without flying everywhere.

    • June 16, 2022 / 8:08 pm

      Ooo thank you! That’s a good idea for smashing the glass, I’ll try that next time.

  6. Maureen Gilbert
    August 10, 2023 / 3:29 pm

    I throw scrap stained glass in my patty gray dam mold and make thick slabs of glass. Some look good, some look horrible because I am using all my glass without sorting coe type. I break the slab up into nice thick pieces which, after tumbling, and they transform into some beautiful “beach glass”.

  7. Sandy Marsco
    August 17, 2023 / 9:40 pm

    I put my old wine bottle after removing all the labels into a plastic bag then a paper bag then I break with a hammer

    • August 18, 2023 / 9:10 am

      That’s a good idea! I was worried the glass would break through plastic or paper bag but, if it doesn’t, that’s certainly safer than my method lol!

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