3/17 DIY or DIE: Nautical Sea Glass Bottles

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Affiliate Disclaimer NewNow that I’ve made my transition from Broke-Ass Bride to living the broke-ass married life, our BAB editor Christen and I have been helping couples in our area unlock their DIY potential while planning a wedding with sanity through Little Wedding Extras. Hoping to find a way to spruce up my home decor for the summer months, I tried and failed a few times until I came up with this near-perfect dupe for sea glass. Once I got the process down, I realized, “Hey, this would look amazing at a summer or nautical-themed wedding,” so I put together a little tutorial for our blog and we decided that our BAB friends needed to see it, too. This DIY would be perfect whether you’re having your wedding on the beach, or just want it to seem like it.

DIY or DIE Nautical Sea Glass Bottles

Truth: There are cheaper tutorials for a sea glass look, but for a difference of about $10, you get a finished product that’s waterproof, almost impervious to scratches and will look beautiful at your wedding and in your home for years to come. Like the DIY stained glass project I’ve shared, the magic ingredient is the glass paint Vitrail, so whether you buy a single color or a full set, this material will get you through multiple projects. Here’s the rest of what you’ll need:

DIY Sea Glass Materials

Glass, any glass! Whether you’re upcycling an empty bottle or transforming a set of votive holders, this process works on any type of glass you want to dress up.
Pebeo Vitrail Lightening Medium
Pebeo Vitrail in your selected color (For this project I’m using Greengold.)
-Baking soda
-Foam brush
Porous craft sponge
-Small dish for mixing
-Optional: Twine, jute or rope for embellishment

Step One

DIY Sea Glass Mixed Vitrail

Mixing your color may take a little experimentation. In general, about two parts lightening medium to one part color and baking soda is the perfect combination for mid-range tones. Bear in mind that darker shades like blue and purple will require less color while pink or yellow may need more. Try using a paper plate or a clear plastic cup for a test smear to get your color just right. For two 5″x3″x3″ rectangular bottles, 1/2 Tbsp of medium and 1/4 Tbsp of color and baking soda each provided two coats per bottle.

Step Two

DIY Sea Glass Bottle

Hold the glass with your finger (or hand, depending on the piece) inside to prevent smudging the paint. You may want to wear gloves; Vitrail is difficult to scrub off of your skin.

DIY Sea Glass Painting

Using the foam brush, dab (don’t brush) the paint mixture in a thin coat all over your glass. There will be small bubbles in the paint which is normal and adds to the final finish of your sea glass.
DIY Sea Glass Baking Soda Sponge

Step Three

Pour a small amount of baking soda onto your sponge and use your finger to rub it into the holes. I like to use my thumb and middle finger to hold the sponge while tapping with my index finger to cover the paint in a thin layer of powder, similar to sifting flour. Once the entire piece is coated in baking soda, use short, very light strokes to brush off the excess. The paint will still be wet (which is necessary to get the baking soda to adhere), so rubbing can smudge the finish, but you’ll know you have enough baking soda when it’s thick enough that the paint is no longer sticky to the touch. If you want a deeper or more opaque color, steps two and three can be repeated immediately or after the first coat is dry.

DIY Sea Glass Sheen

The Vitrail will be dry in about two hours and ready to handle and add any embellishments like wrapped twine or seashells. The final finish has a weathered, frosted look and using baking soda gives it a very subtle sheen with just a hint of sparkle.

DIY Sea Glass Tutorial

You can cluster mismatched bottles and vases to create an eclectic centerpiece or mix individual pieces with candles and driftwood to create a beach-inspired tablescape at your wedding, then incorporate them into your home decor once the gifts are open and the leftover champagne is gone. We love decorations that serve a dual purpose and these simple glass pieces certainly fit the bill!

Did you try this project at home? We’d love to see your final results in the comments below!