Ultimate Guide to Recycled Glass Crafts

Recycled Glass Tile Mosaics

Creating your own recycled glass mosaic may seem like a daunting task, but it's not as hard as you may think. These days, many companies are producing large quantities of 100 percent recycled glass tiles or beads. Not only are these products convenient, but they're good for the environment, making use of existing materials and using less than half the amount of energy needed to create ceramic tiles [sources: Sandhill, Kilaen].

To begin, start by planning your design. Buy a cement base board -- available online or in store through many different construction and hardware companies -- and pencil your design on its surface. Drill two holes about one-third of the way from the top and screw in machine screws [source: Tsong]. These will be the anchors you can attach wire to in order to hang the finished product.

For beginners, instead of buying whole tiles which will need to be cut down into smaller pieces, you may want to consider purchasing pre-cut recycled glass beads. They come in a variety of colors and shapes, and will make the project easier.

Determine which colors you'll need. One artist suggests buying multiple shades of each color [source: Tsong]. Therefore, if you plan to depict water in your mosaic, you should consider getting multiple shades of blue beads to better add depth and shading to your design.

To secure the beads to the canvas, purchase hand-mixable cement. Mix a small amount -- enough to use it before it hardens -- in a disposable cup. Mixing directions should be provided by the manufacturer. Starting on the inside of your design, spread a layer of cement about the size of the palm of your hand. Use tweezers, forceps or a steady hand to set glass pieces in place. There should be enough cement to press the bead in so only the top half shows. Continue this process until the entire base is covered. To finish, go around the edge with thin layer of cement.

Three days should be ample time for the cement and beads to dry and set. Use a wire brush to rid the design of excess cement. If you'd like, you can use cement dye to color small amount of cement. Paint a thin layer between the tiles to mask the natural light grey color [source: Tsong]. Allow it to dry and you're done!

Creating mosaics isn't your only artistic option for old glass. Head over to the next page to find one fun way to make use of your old windows.