Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Upcycle broken ornaments into glitter!

How I love Christmas! This year I've had a lot of fun trying a bunch of new things in my Messy Corner. I also pulled out some old tricks, such as my method of making glass glitter out of broken ornaments!

So I dropped the entire box of shiny glass balls and broke two...what's new? I'm clumsy, and I'm messy. (Moment of silence for the dear departed.)

Did I blubber? Did I fret? Nope. Been there, done that. I got out a bowl and put the broken pieces in it. Then I covered the bowl with a disposable cloth and got to work with my implements of choice: a potato masher, a meat mallet, a small jar, and a paintbrush. Follow along:

The cloth is absolutely essential, since the laws of physics dictate that little glass bits will be flying through the air. I use a disposable one, because I don't want microshards in something I'm going to reuse. Safety first.

Okay, time to get violent.

After the initial breakdown, I'm ready for the mallet. Back on with the cover cloth. Then I use the blunt top to squish the pieces even more finely.

The last step is the mortar-and-pestle effect of grinding with the jar. Moving it in an arc, I use the edge to go back and forth over the pieces until they're just the size I want. Soemtimes this takes a while.

Repeat all the above steps if necessary. You'll end up with a bowl of fine glitter that, I guarantee, looks a whole lot better than this crappy picture I took on the iPhone.

Using a paintbrush, carefully remove the shards and fine dust from the cover cloth, then dispose of it (the cloth, not the paintbrush). I put a piece of paper under the bowl to catch the glitter dust--the better to scoop it all back in the bowl and not lose any of the lovely stuffs.

Okay, so I got glitter! Now what to do? I decided to glam up one of the unbroken balls. I brushed on a goodly coat of my BFF Mod Podge and carefully rolled the ornament in the glitter bowl until it was covered all over. After that, I let it dry, tied on a bit of ribbon, and ended up with THIS:

Nice, huh?

Remember: glass glitter is not child friendly. Do not breathe in the fine dust as you're grinding. Clean your masher, mallet, and jar well, even though they don't touch the glitter directly, and tap the fine glass dust out of the paintbrush if you plan on using it again.


  1. I'm in love with this ornament! Great job!

  2. Thanks for being my first commenter, Christi! I'm so glad you like my ornament. Happy Holidays!

  3. that's such a great idea! I want to smash them just to do this! LOL I think I will use the glitter on the inside of a glass ball, though, just to be safe. :)

  4. Are we not afraid that some of that will come off and we will get cut or that a child will touch it?

  5. @tinkartist: If you use enough Mod Podge, the glitter will not fall off easily. I already warned that glass glitter is not for kids. If you are careful in handling, you won't get cut, either. My ornament is hanging way up on the tree, and will get wrapped in tissue for next year--unless I break it, that is...

  6. This is a great post! And funny, too! You're brave for working with glass glitter, but it was well worth the risk! Thanks and Happy Holidays!

  7. Thank *you*, Kat! Welcome to the Mess!

  8. Love this idea! I'm pinning it onto one of my Pinterest boards of crafty things I want to try!

  9. Thanks a bunch, Laura! I really love Pinterest, too.