Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Science Experiment

I recently met a craftsperson in Washington, DC who made beautiful jewelry with sea glass and those dollar store glass pebbles. You know, these:
She ran them through a little process that can be best described as a science experiment and they turned out looking like they had shattered, but only on the inside. I asked the technique and was told only that she froze the glass pebbles then put them in a hot skillet. Last night I rolled up my sleeves and donned my ridiculous looking protective gear which consisted of a makeshift shield out of a pot top, an oven mitt and an apron... then I gave it a try. This was the result:
Pretty neat if I do say so myself! I won't even begin to give you a tutorial because I'm not exactly sure if what I did was safe, but it's basically the same that the craftsperson told me in DC. First I froze the glass, then I put them in a hot skillet (shielding myself of course because some did break everywhere). After they got good and hot I pulled them out of the skillet (with my oven mitt and tongs and while still shielding myself with the makeshift shield... I'm sure you're getting an hilariously accurate mental image right now!) Then I put them on to a plate and covered them with an ice cube. It was the ice cube that made them crack and it was so cool to watch. Any science people out there that want to explain that one to me? I'm all ears!

I made some thumb tacks for my new inspiration board using my shattered glass pebbles and some vintage buttons. (And if you're wondering, no, I'm not planning on making any omelets with that skillet again!)

14 comments:

Jared and Delia said...

You are brave! It created a really cool look though!

Andrea and Casey said...

Hi I've been looking at your blog for a couple weeks now- can't remember how I even got here...

Anyways, I've been loving it so far! I had to comment on this because I just learned how to do this a couple months ago!! I put mine in a pot with a lid on for about 20 minutes (no previous freezing) then I immediately put them in a bowl of ice water. It is super cool to watch! My aunt showed me how to do these. Her mom used to do them alot, maybe it's an old trick.

We used marbles. Then we put Jewelry Bell Caps, using E6000 glue, on the top and can wear them as necklaces. They actually are very pretty!

Fun to see this somewhere else! Keep up the fun blog!

Andrea and Casey said...

ps- sorry for the long comment. :)

Sarah said...

Andrea,
What an awesome idea to use marbles! And I think that the lid actually on the pot and a bowl of ice water would be a ton more safe. How cool that it's an old technique! I love that we are rediscovering something that our parents did! Thanks for your comment!
-Sarah

CourtneyKeb said...

Wow! I love this, and never even thought about it or the process! Great job!

OdysseySeaGlass.com said...

I'm going to try it with some of our common sea glass chunks.

Samantha said...

I really like this idea, but I don't think I'll be trying it, unless I use Andrea's technique....I had a bad experience with a glass cutting board shattering EVERYWHERE on my hot stove!

Kate said...

I love this! They look so beautiful. I think I'll try the bucket of ice water idea though. Maybe heat them over a fire or on a grill in some foil and then dump them in a bucket?

Here's the scientific explanation for what is happening. It's pretty simple. The glass shatters because when it is heated, it expands (the atoms are moving faster and take up more space), and then when it is rapidly cooled, it contracts and breaks. Rapid temperature changes can crack a lot of things, like ice cubes in a hot drink, mountain roads, baking stones when they cool too fast, etc..

Lacie @ Creative Attempts said...

Oh wow I love this so much thanks for the great idea

Starfish, darling! said...

Way back in the 60s when I was a little kid, I had a cracked marble necklace that absolutely fascinated me! (My favorite color is SHINY!)

I saw them done by heating the glass in an iron skillet and then dumping them into a bowl of ice water.

I forgot all about them until now. Might have a Saturday project after all!

Wendy said...

Wow, that looks really neat!

JennTRC said...

how awesome!
I have to try this one out :)

b said...

Bake them in the oven at 500 for 20 min then toss them in a bowl of ice water... same effect, no broken glass... i love doing this..

Amanda @ Bits and Pieces said...

I love them, they are so unique! But, I don't think I'll be risking my safety to give it a try anytime soon, unfortunately. I'm afraid they would shatter all over (and I don't have a pan to put out of cooking commission). So pretty though!