There are so many crafts you can make with glass gems (flat marbles) for the home, garden, or fashion accessories (I’m not kidding). If you like some color or bling in your crafts, you will probably find some ideas and inspiration here.
For more garden art tutorials, also see the top creative garden projects of the year.
Creative Glass Gem Project Ideas
Glass gems, also called “flat-bottom marbles” are readily available in dollar stores and craft shops. They are perfect for all sorts of creative projects from garden art balls to decorating flip flops.
Most of the projects listed below also have tutorials/instructions.
I have also listed sources for supplies including glass gems here.
Projects for the Garden
- Decorative Garden Balls | The modern day version of the gazing ball, covered in flat marbles.
- Frog Prince | A spin-off of the decorative garden ball gets a crown and a big smile.
- Garden Art Treasure Jars | This is both a craft and an activity for kids.
Indoor or Outdoor Decor Projects
- Faux Stained-Glass Windows | Mark Montano.
- Little Sparkling Windows | Attach glass gems and beads to the glass of a picture frame.
More Garden Art Ideas Using Glass Gems
- Marbles in Your Fence | Add bling to fence holes by inserting colorful marbles
- Painted Plates Garden Art | Make garden flowers from plates (with marbles for decoration). I also have free instructions for garden flowers from dishes here.
- Garden Stepping Stones | Use glass gems (flat marbles) instead of beach glass if you don’t have any.
- Dragonfly | Make a garden art dragonfly using an old ceiling fan.
- Glass Marble Fridge Magnets | Get some flat marbles, magnets, and Mod Podge and you’re good to go
- Wire-wrapped Marble Tutorial | You can use these as decorations on their own or add them to items like the garden chandelier.
- Glass Gem Garden Bench | Example of a concrete bench embellished with glass gems (image only)
- Kid’s Sun Catcher | Yogurt lid and gems
- Glass Gem Sun Catchers | Tutorial for making sun catchers with glass gems
- Door Wreathe | This is an image without a tutorial but may give you an idea for your home
- Glass Gem Initial | Cover a wood cut-out in flat marbles (image only)
- Glass Gem Bookmark | A very simple craft. Could be fun to make custom gems (like the fridge magnets) and make them into bookmarks. (image only)
- Flip Flops | Add flat marbles to your flip flops to make them unique with marbles
- | Yes, you could wear them this way.
Also, if you do a search for ‘glass gem crafts’ on Pinterest, there are lots more ideas.
Glass Gem Craft Supplies
Thrifty Shopping Tips
Ways to find cheap or free items for crafts, repurposing, & upcycling:
- Check Your Own Stuff
Got stuff in storage? Shop your own home first.
- Family & Friends
Let people know what you’re needing. Make it clear whether you are willing to pay for items.
- Online Ads & Groups
Don’t just watch the ads but place your own stating what you’re looking for.
- Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, Kijiji
- Buy, Sell, Barter, Trade Groups
- Auction Sales | In-person or online
- Yard Sales
- Thrift Shops & ReStores (used goods including building materials)
- Retail Stores
Use free phone apps like Reebee and Flipp to easily check sale flyers and price watch.
There are countless other save-when-you-shop-through-us apps and incentive programs as well.
Online / Mail Order
Depending on the deal, it may be worthwhile to pay the shipping.
I always like to find used / unwanted items for my projects and have good luck finding bags of glass gems at the thrift stores.
You could also check online ads like Kijiji or Craigslist in case someone is getting rid of some.
Otherwise, you can also find them at craft supply stores, dollar stores, Etsy, eBay, or Amazon.
If you are planning a large or group project, or want specific colors that are hard to find, there are also sellers online who sell them in bulk.
The number one question people ask is What adhesive do you use to attach the glass gems?
For all of my glass gem projects I use GE Silicone II sealant (waterproof, clear-drying). Yes, it’s sold as a sealant to use around windows and doors, but, when applied 1/8″ thick, works like a glue, grabbing the marbles. You apply the sealant and press the glass gems into it while it’s wet.
As it dries, it sets up and holds the marbles in place. I have decorative garden balls that have been in my garden for over ten years (year round—in Canada) and only a few marbles have ever fallen off in that whole time. It really works.
If you want to know more, there’s a FAQ page here telling what you need to know to be sure things stick.
E6000 is also popular with garden art makers. I sometimes find it is too runny and can be much more expensive than the silicone, but it does work nicely for some projects.
Safety Note: No matter which adhesive product you use, read the entire label for any health or safety considerations, and follow the instructions for application tips and drying times.
Also see The Glue Resource Guide for Garden Art Projects for more adhesive options.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛