Sea glass mobile tutorial

by DaniGirl on September 1, 2014 · 6 comments

in Fun for kiddies

Remember this? This was the bounty of sea glass that turned us into junkies way back in 2010 on our trip to Nova Scotia.

512:1000 Our sea glass collection

Since then, we’ve added to our hoard from PEI to Vancouver’s Stanley Park, but I never did do anything more creative with it than keep it in glass jars stashed around the house. Not even terribly nice glass jars. Oh the shame! Every now and then I’d pull it out and sort through it, feeling rather like Gollum muttering “my precious sea glass” as I sniffed the last vestiges of salt from the pieces.

Three things happened to inspire me to finally do something with our collection. The first was adding to our collection in Souris, PEI. The second was a bit of spare time on my hands, thanks to the vacation entitlement that comes with 24 years of service. And the third was — Pinterest. One day it occurred to me to search for sea glass crafts on Pinterest and I was immediately smitten with the idea of a sea glass mobile. I didn’t want to start drilling the glass or playing with wire (although I’ve still got a LOT of sea glass so I’m not ruling that one out!) but I did love the idea of simply using string and glue. Easy peasy, right?

Of course, actually executing the plan turned out to be a lot more complicated than I’d anticipated. I set out to get some stretchy filament like you’d use in making a bracelet from the Sassy Bead store downtown. The clerk there recommended against stretchy filament (more prone to breakage) and instead sold me a couple of meters of what seemed like very fine fishing line. I also picked up some E6000 adhesive. I’m not sure where I got that idea from – probably a random Pinterest link. The idea was to tie a piece of glass, tap in a blob of E6000 to hold the knot, tie on the next piece, etc etc etc.

Ha. Not so much. The fishing line nearly drove me batty as I tried to tighten and knot the loops around the sea glass. I tried on two separate occasions to make it work, and got frustrated before I could get three or four pieces on the line. Finally, I reached out through Etsy to Rebecca Long, whose work had inspired me in the first place. She was nice enough to point me in the direction of this episode of Martha Stewart Living (confession: first time I have every watched this show!) with a sea glass mobile tutorial.

So here’s what I learned about making sea glass mobiles from Rebecca and Martha:

  • use braided fishing line. It’s way easier to knot, but also difficult to cut. I got mine at the Manotick Bait and Tackle shop – first time in four years of living around the corner I had the opportunity to visit their taxidermy-filled shop. o_O
  • use a glue with a built-in brush. I gave up on E6000 and a tooth pick in favour of Lepages with a brush and it made a world of difference. And miracle of miracles, I did not once glue my fingertips together.
  • lay out your pieces of sea glass ahead of time.
  • leave twice as much of a lead (for tying to the driftwood or other frame) as you think you will need, and then double it again.
  • take your line and make a simple loop over your fingers, pulling the end through the loop to start a knot. Slip your fingers out and the glass in, and make a knot tight against the top of the piece of sea glass, then fold the tail down alongside the thread. Brush from the knot to the bottom of the glass along the two threads with glue.
  • move on to the next line and repeat on all your threads, then go back and put the second piece on the first thread.

sea glass mobile-2

In the end, I bought three types of twine and two types of glue, and it took about four hours of futzing about before I finally started making progress. What you see here actually only took about 60 minutes, once I got a good rhythm going. I love how it turned out! That’s an authentic piece of PEI driftwood, by the way. I picked it up exactly with this purpose in mind.

I also found a better way to store the left-over sea glass. Did I mention I have a new addiction for vintage mason jars?

sea glass_

So now we HAVE to go back to PEI to collect more sea glass, so I can make more mobiles! 🙂

sea glass mobile

Once I got the details sorted out, this was a surprisingly easy craft – what a great way to show of your summer treasure, right?


{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 smothermother September 3, 2014 at 1:39 pm

oh how pretty!! we found a grand total of three tiny pieces of sea glass. i was rather disappointed. i guess another trip is required to a different beach.

2 DaniGirl September 8, 2014 at 1:36 pm

Apparently the beaches near Souris are the best for sea glass!

3 Barbara Lowell August 2, 2015 at 9:57 am

braided fishing line, what does it look like, can’t imagine? I made very similar these 20 years ago living in Hawaii … I had an unknown fave beach where I could collect tons of sea glass. I also made pavers for the garden with concrete and coasters and mirrors. No one was doing this back then even in Hawaii Nei, with tons of driftwood which was a joy to collect. I used the driftwood for copper mobiles of geckoes, hula girls, whales, dolphins and special orders. Great fun but very hard on the hands when you do it a lot. I would love to see pix of the knotting you do, can’t grasp from your instructions but will re-read for clarity. Love your work and sense of symmetry and color.

4 Lauren December 4, 2015 at 10:23 am

Thank you for the tutorial! I am starting on my first mobile soon and really appreciate your detail! After watching the video I was bummed they did not detail the knots as clearly as you did. Thanks!

5 DaniGirl December 6, 2015 at 7:20 am

You’re welcome Lauren – it took me a while to figure out the knots, but it was easy once I got started.

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