For whatever reason, you have some ugly lamps and light fixtures in your home. However, you are well aware of the damage that is happening to our earth with all the garbage that is thrown in the dumps all over the country. We can take those ugly light fixtures and make an amazing work of art that everyone is jealous of. Be green and an interior designer too !
What is sea glass ?
All the glass and bottles that are
tossed into the lakes, seas, and oceans can remain in the waters for decades.
Over the years, whether it is a glass bottle, a drinking glass or another type
of glass that has been discarded into the lakes or oceans, break into smaller
pieces. These smaller pieces then toss and turn, tumble over rocks, sand and
through the heavy turbulence of waves. This, in turn, smooths out the glass
edges and gives the broken pieces a frosted look.
As you take that daily stroll along the
water’s edge, you will see big and little pieces of this glass. We call them
sea glass. To some, yes it is garbage, to others with an imagination, a trained
eye and some capability and talent, these broken pieces of glass are gorgeous
and more than worth picking up.
There are many items you can make with sea glass. Some of these require very little work or imagination, while other items need a trained eye to picture what that little piece of glass, and it’s sisters and brothers that you collect, can be turned into a breathtaking work of art, someone’s most treasured belonging or even used to design a light fixture. Let’s focus on that for now.
Light fixtures are an item that you can easily visit a department store and purchase at any time. However, there is no meaning, no love, no excitement in a store bought fixture.
Making light fixtures using sea glass is not as complicated as you would imagine. They definitely are not expensive to make. For those who love the look of certain name brand light fixtures, we will show you how to go about making your own style of light fixture to replicate the heavily priced versions.
The first suggestion is to visit your local thrift stores and shop for cheap and ugly light fixtures. Yes, ugly! You are going to take that ugly duckling home and turn it into a beautiful swan. I also suggest visiting the local lakes or oceans where you live. Take a nice long walk while staring down at the sand. Along the way, pick up each piece of glass you come across. Every piece. Then, on your way home, stop and pick up some glue, preferably clear glue. There is a brand in stores specifically labeled glass glue. I get my glue from Amazon and recommend this one right here. This glue is waterproof and heat resistant. You do need the heat resistance when using for a light fixture.
Many sea glass artists choose to leave the sea glass unpolished. Others choose to polish their pieces. Polishing the sea glass is actually very easy. All you do is mix dish soap into a bowl of water, set the pieces into the water and let soak for roughly two hours. Using a toothbrush, scrub the sea glass while in the water. It is going to take extra time to get into the crevices with the toothbrush. Using a strainer, put all the pieces into the strainer and rinse well with cold water. It will help to actually pick up the pieces one by one and rinse and check for dirt still in crevices. After rinsing, place the sea glass onto a tumbler to dry.
When dry, place the sea glass into a rock tumbler like this one here along with Silicon Carbide or Aluminum Oxide grit. It will help to add cornmeal to the tumbler. This will act as a cushion between the grit and the glass. Check on the glass every twelve hours or until the desired polish has been achieved. If you choose, there is another method to polish your sea glass pieces. You can put a drop of baby oil in the center of a paper towel and gently wipe each piece with the baby oil.
Now the time has come to do the fun part. After you have cleaned the light fixtures you picked up from thrift stores, be sure to dry it well. Be sure also to have a plan in mind for each light fixture. It may be beneficial to make a rough drawing for each fixture, then lay out the glass pieces in your design. It will be easier than second guessing yourself or finding that you made a mistake halfway through and need to start all over again. Seriously, if you have the drawing, then you can lay out the glass pieces in the order and color scheme that you want.
Now take your light fixture and put glue
onto one area at a time. Carefully place your colored pieces where you want in
that section. Some choose to let each section dry before moving onto the next.
Either way, continue section by section with the glue and then glass.
Of course, I would not let this article
end there. There are other ways that you can create a beautiful light fixture
using sea glass. It is a bit more difficult, but just as pleasing if not more
so. In the following method, all you need is a basic frame for a light fixture.
We will then turn our sea glass into strands of shiny opulence.
Let’s gather the necessary tools first. You will need a Sturdy clear fishing line or similar line. The basic frame with the electric cord and bulb fixture. You can choose to use metal or wood, whatever you choose. Be very green and collect some sturdy twigs, the vines that grow from the tops of trees downward work great, (think of Tarzan singing through the trees). A Dremel with a drill bit like these shown here or any type that you use to make your jewelry will work. Diamond drill bits are the only bits for drilling glass, with little if any splicing of the glass.
For the jittery souls like me out there,
I recommend a drill that you can control via the foot pedal. That way, if your
glass slips and starts to slide and makes you jump, your foot will come off the
pedal, therefore saving you from a strange and unfortunate accident with the
drill and your hair, or other items too close to the drill. Safety speaks
wonders, be safe and not sorry!
If you have a smaller version of a vise grip, that would be ideal to hold your piece of glass while you drill your hole through it. These are often called hand pin vise grip tool. Place your piece of sea glass into the grip pin and line up where you want the hole. Slowly begin drilling and finish the holes in all your sea glass pieces. Now it is the time to begin stringing the sea glass pieces. When stringing, again, be sure that you have a plan set out before you begin.
When you know ahead of time how many pieces of sea glass you want on each string, and how many strings you want in total, allows you to complete a project with no issues of being short a few sea glass pieces, or not having enough string cut. As you add a piece of sea glass on the string, be sure to make a knot to hold the sea glass in place. You will want to do this for each piece of glass that you add on each string. So if you have chosen to make a hanging string with six pieces of sea glass, you will need to put a knot under each of those six pieces.
Now we want to take the framing that we
chose. This would be a fixture with the bulb components and electrical cord
attached. It may be a plain round metal circle with cross bars to hold the bulb
fixture. Let’s say this circle is a 12 inch diameter, you will want to space
out your hanging sea glass into equal spacing. However, if you were to string
enough sea glass in close enough strings, it will make a very shiny light
fixture. By filling the string with sea glass, there will be no bare spots.
Since glass is a reflector for light, the light will be increased.
Another form of light we can create involves a string of clear LED lights, as in Christmas light strings. By utilizing the string of lights, you only need to attach the sea glass to each LED bulb. This will be done by using your Dremel to drill a hole large enough to fit over the bulb. Using a glue that is specially made for gluing glass like this brand that I use, you can glue the sea glass to the element casing, This is a fabulous idea for lights across a room.
While you are at your local thrift
store, look for some plain globes for lights. As before, you can glue your
pieces of sea glass onto the globe in all one color, create a design or a
picture of basically anything, say a dragonfly.
Also, a great idea is to find votive
cups for candles. Or even electric lights. These can be fun to decorate with
sea glass in multiple colors. The sea glass throws off a light reflection in
the many colors you use.
An idea that is free of electric or even batteries is to utilize the sun light. For this, you will need to purchase some plain solar lights. The shape will not matter, you will be covering them in sea glass pieces. The sun creates the power of light for you and will allow for a gorgeous patio, deck or outdoor seating area filled with beautiful pieces of art. As night begins to fall, your creative sea glass lights will start to shine.
The next idea is not technically a light
fixture, however, once you adhere sea glass to the surrounding, you will have
an impressive fireplace surround. Again, I suggest planning ahead. Be sure you
have the amount of sea glass that you need to cover the desired area. Have a
picture or drawing at the ready so you know which color will go where. Work in
sections so that your glass glue does not dry out. There you have it. It will
reflect light from each and every fire you have in your fireplace.
We all have at least one plain lamp at
home. It is simple and has a plain colored lamp shade. If you want to add a splash
of color to it, adhere sea glass right onto the lampshade. Yes, it will stick
to the material type of lamp shade. I have used sea glass and glass glue to
cover a glass shade on a small three way light I have in my bedroom. It turned
out fabulous! I did not use a drawing, I just placed different colors all over
the glass and let it dry well before using the light.
If you are out at the thrift store or
hitting up the local garage sales, keep an eye out for chandeliers. Yes, any
type of chandelier can work. If there are crystal tear drops, replace those
with sea glass. Even just a few pieces of sea glass can make a world of
difference on a light.
Adhering the sea glass does not have to
be just on the lamp shade itself. You can use sea glass to decorate a glass
light. Especially beautiful is if you can locate a clear glass base. Cover that
with different colors of sea glass and watch the beauty appear in front of your
Lest I forget, when you have attached
all your sea glass to the lamp shade, light base, votive cups or fireplace
surround, consider putting a grout all over between the glass pieces and wipe
off the sea glass so your grout does not harden on it. When that is fully dry,
purchase a can or two of sealer, or use a coat or two of polyurethane to cover
it all and protect the sea glass. Not only is it added protection, but it also
ensures that no pieces will come unattached.
On your outdoor fixtures that you
covered with sea glass, use a thin set bonding mortar, as this is moisture
resistant. The final coating of sealant, you should always consider a high
What is the main point of this whole
article? Well, simply that you can trash that may have been thrown in the ocean
decades ago and turn it into something fabulous, something that every friend
will be envious of. The world of art and broken glass collides and you see art,
make it happen. The art of adhering sea glass to a base of some sort, whether
it is glass, wood or material, is not a complicated process. It does not take forever
to create this work of art and it does not involve a lot of money. Take a walk
along the ocean, beach or lake. Keep your eyes open and you will be amazed at
what you find.
With the treasure that you locate, you can re-purpose an old lamp, light fixture or any one of a number of things. Do not forget the votive cups for candles. The will also reflect this gorgeous light once the art is created.
I hope you enjoyed this post and learned something new. If you did, can you please do me a favor ? Please share this post on Facebook or Twitter. Thanks so much ! 🙂
In order to polish sea glass, the right tools are required. With the usage of a dremel, this task has never been easier. It is great for the smaller glass projects that need to be completed and a dremel can also restore the finish to classic antiques. That’s why this rotary tool is utilized in so many different contexts.
Since the tool operates at a high rate
of speed, a high quality result is created. However, it is important for those
who are responsible for operating a dremel to learn as much as possible about
the process beforehand. Otherwise, a sea glass polishing project may not come
to fruition as easily as we had hoped.
With the help of this multi step
process, the grinding and polishing of sea glass is made simple. While this
process does take some time, the results are undeniable. For starters, it is
important to utilize safety glasses. This keeps us safe from flying glass or
any other accidents that may take place along the way.
Sea glass is typically polished by those who visit beaches on a regular basis and are looking to use it as jewelry. Since these pieces of glass come in a wide range of colors, it is easy to see why so many people are accustomed to utilizing it in this manner. There is just something about a piece of sea glass that cannot be duplicated by any other minerals.
When the glass is tumbled in salt water, it can take on a greater shine. In order to enhance the natural beauty of sea glass, a good quality dremel tool like one of these I reviewed in this post is needed. Proper cleansing and polishing is key in these instances. The transparency is heightened after project of this nature are completed and it becomes easier to utilize the sea glass in various pieces of jewelry.
Before that can happen, the proper steps must be taken, though. Let’s take a closer look at the process and go step by step. It all starts with some garden variety dish soap…..
Step 1: Cleaning The Glass
Take the aforementioned dish soap and
mix it in with a bowl of water. By allowing the sea glass to soak for a few
hours, this removes all of the hard to reach grit and grime from the cracks and
crevices. Those who are looking to clean the glass even further may decide that
they wish to use a toothbrush inside of the sea glass’ crevices. Dirt will
typically build up within these areas.
Be sure to rinse the glass until all of
the soap has already been washed away. From there, place the glass onto a towel
and allow it to dry. This ensures that the sea glass is fully prepared for
polishing and keeps dirt and debris from building up. Some may choose to dive
right in, however.
Step 2: Using a Buffing Pad
A buffing pad is one of the most crucial
tools that is going to be used once it comes time to start polishing sea glass
with a dremel. Knowing how to polish sea glass with a dremel is all about using
the tools that are on hand. Take the buffing pad and secure it to the tool.
Before the buffing pad is attached, it needs to be wet with the proper
For best results, use 100 grit to 140 grit compound for any sea glass polishing projects. Take the time to buff the glass’ surface with smaller, circular motions. In order to grind away all of the imperfections that are found in sea glass, the polisher must make sure to overlap each circle that is being created as they work their way across the glass.
Once the compound that is being used
begins to dry, it is time to use additional compound. Don’t make the mistake of
applying the additional compound too early. Make sure that the previous
compound has been given the chance to dry. For best results, place the dremel
tool on a speed setting somewhere between 1000 RPM and 1400 RPM.
Step 3: Removing Buildup
This is a step that is often ignored, especially by those who are learning how to polish sea glass with a dremel. It is important to stop buffing every so often. Experts recommend that we stop buffing every few minutes, so that we can remove all of the buildup that is accumulating on the tip of the dremel tool being used.
All you need is a drinking glass full of
water to make sure of the dremel tip’s continued cleanliness. Removing buildup
from the buffing pad is equally simple. The dremel will need to be turned onto
the highest possible speed for best possible results. Steps #2 and #3 must be
repeated until the entire surface of the sea glass has already been buffed.
Step 4: More Cleaning
Step four is similar to step one, in the
sense that it is focused on the cleaning aspect. A cotton towel can be used for
this step, in addition to some warm water. As the polishing process takes
place, sanding compound residue buildup becomes a greater potential issue. Take
the time to remove all of this residue from the surface of the glass before
Step 5: Swapping Out The Buffing Pad
Now, it is time for a new buffing pad to
complete the remainder of the sea glass polishing project. Once the new has
been swapped out, apply the correct diamond glass polishing compound. Most
experts recommend using 270 grit to 300 grit compound for the best results. The
same steps that took place before must now be repeated with the new buffing pad
When it comes to grinding the glass,
this is the very last stage. The dremel speed settings should be placed
somewhere between 1000 and 5000 RPM. If there are any remaining imperfections,
this is our chance to fully remove them before it is too late. To test out the
results, run your hands across the surface of the sea glass that is being
Step 6: Removing Additional Scratches
Even after the previous step has been
completed, various imperfections and scratches may still remain. They must be
removed as quickly as possible. The buffing pad will need to be swapped out
once again. Do not try to use the same buffing pad that was utilized for the
previous steps. The scratches left by the grinding process will not be removed
Once the new buffing pad has been applied, it is time to apply some 300 to 400 grit glass polishing compound as well. Repeat the same steps that were taken before and keep the speed setting the same as the previous step. Knowing how to polish sea glass with a dremel is all about patience. Don’t stop buffing until any and all scratches can be removed from the sea glass surface.
Step 7: Creating The Necessary Clarity
Of course, the buffing pad needs to be
swapped out once again. Once the new buffing pad has been applied, cerium oxide
glass polishing compound must also be used. This is how the necessary clarity
is created and it is an especially important step of the process for those who
are looking to make their own jewelry out of sea glass.
After all, no one wants to wear or
purchase cloudy jewelry of any kind, even if it made from sea glass. Repeat the
same steps that were taken before to remove all of the most minor scratches
from the sea glass’ surface. If there is any sort of haze on the sea glass
surface, this is also the perfect time to remove it from the equation entirely.
Use the same speed setting (1000 to 5000 RPM) that was utilized to finish the
This is your chance to buff the surface
until you are completely satisfied with what has taken place. Don’t be shy
about taking your time and overlapping each circle. This is the final step that
is taken before the sea glass polishing is fully complete.
What About Sea Glass Drilling?
In many cases, those who have completed
the sea glass polishing process will want to create jewelry or use the polished
glass for any number of additional purposes. In these instances, there are a
few key tips for sea glass drilling that must be taken into account.
Drilling sea glass is not always as easy
as it looks and the process comes with a bit of trial and error. For the most
part, drillers are going to want to drill through the glass without having to
take the time to turn it over. However, this can cause issues when the hole is
not nearly as clean on the other side of the sea glass.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the
most crucial tips and pointers for those who are looking to use their polished
sea glass for additional projects that require the usage of a dremel drill…
Watch The Thinner and Smaller Pieces Closely
The thinner pieces can be very
problematic when it comes time for drilling. There are a number of issues that
can occur in these instances, including breakage. To avoid these types of
occurrences, place the proper amount of pressure on the piece of sea glass. Too
much pressure and the thinner pieces will break. Too little pressure and the
drilling process will need to be repeated.
Smaller pieces must also be watched very
closely. There are going to be moments when the smaller pieces get caught on the
end of the dremel drill being used. It is important not to panic at this time.
Be sure to slowly and carefully turn off the dremel drill before addressing the
problem that is taking place.
Do not bend the drill bit when removing
the glass. Carefully turn it back and forth until it is removed. For best
results, hold the piece of glass in one hand and the drill/bit in the other. Do
not be impatient. This process may take a few minutes to complete. Taking your
time sure beats destroying a perfectly good piece of sea glass.
Drilling underwater is a necessity. The
drill bit and the sea glass are both going to get very hot during the drilling
process. The water will keep the drill cool as it makes its way through each
surface. Debris and glass is also washed away by the water. Plastic bowls are
best, as they can withstand the wear and tear that occur when bits of glass fly
When you are working with a dremel drill
that has a cord, do not make the mistake of submerging the entire tool. As you
may have imagined, electricity and water do not go together all that well.
Caution is key.
Use a Drill Press or Stationary Drill
When pressure is applied to sea glass,
it is important that we increase our level of concentration. These tools allow
for the driller to apply an even, slow amount of pressure onto the glass. For
those who are worried about their hands shaking and moving while the process is
taking place, a drill press or stationary drill is a powerful tool.
Handheld Tools Often Work Best
To build on the previous point, there
are many who are easily startled by this process. Even those who are
experienced when it comes to polishing and drilling sea glass with a dremel may
need a refresher course on the matter. Drill bits often tend to
“jump” over the sea glass while it is being drilled and that is why
handheld tools tend to work the best in these instances.
Mind your surroundings as well. There
are a number of work areas that are ripe for accidents and those who are
looking to avoid them will want to make sure that they are taking a look around
first. Otherwise, they could be placing themselves and their work studio in
jeopardy. Devices that are controlled with the usage of foot pedals work
Going to use a tool that has an on/off
switch on the handle? Make sure that your nerves are steady. There’s no reason
to use such tools if you do not honestly believe that you are capable of
When it comes to learning how to polish
sea glass with a dremel, the process does not have to be as complicated as it
seems. It also does not have to be as challenging as it seems. Those who strike
the balance between these two mindsets are going to experience the greatest
level of success over the long haul. Tools must be handled with care and the
process must be treated respectfully.
Polishing sea glass with a dremel is a
popular activity because it can serve as the springboard for so many others.
Looking to make awesome, unique jewelry for your friends and loved ones?
Knowing how to polish sea glass with a dremel is a must and drilling is crucial
as well, especially for anyone looking to utilize their sea glass for follow up
With the help of this multi step process, even novices can get the most out of their next do it yourself craft project. Put in the proper time and effort to get the best looking polish possible and set the table for all of your future DIY projects to come. There is no limit to what we can accomplish when we are willing to put in the work necessary!
When it comes to learning how to carve
alabaster with a dremel, there are a number of considerations that need to be
made. Carving alabaster with a dremel may seem deceptively simple but those who
are looking to get the most out of their projects will definitely want to read
on and learn more.
These pointers are especially helpful to
those who are learning how to carve alabaster with a dremel for the first time.
Every step of the process is equally important. It is important for readers to
fully grasp each step. Otherwise, a wide range of mistakes can occur.
Let’s start with the most crucial tips and pointers.
Learning how to carve alabaster with a dremel does not have to be a major challenge but that does not mean that we should be taking any unnecessary chances.
Alabaster Stone Is Highly Unique
There are some who may believe that they
are ready to begin carving because they have handled projects that are similar
in the past. However, alabaster is a highly unique stone and must be treated
differently from other carving projects. The same techniques might be used but
the process is not going to be the same.
The sculpting process tends to be more
slow. This is a solid stone that is not going to respond in the same way as other
stones would. Take everything that you know about carving stones with a dremel
and toss it out the window. While some techniques from past projects may work
just fine, there are not any perfect 1:1 comparisons to speak of.
Obtaining The Proper Equipment
Of course, the project cannot begin in earnest until the carver has taken the time to obtain the proper equipment. A heavy duty dremel such as one of these shown here in this review post, is typically the best choice. While some may wish to use mallets and chisels to aid them during this project, these tools do not provide the same level of precision as the dremel.
Mallets and chisels are also more taxing
than the dremel from a physical standpoint. These tools do not offer the same
level of discretion. Others may want to equip their working areas with a vacuum
system, so that all extraneous dust can be removed from the premises.
A felt pen can be used to create a rough
outline on the alabaster stone that is being carved. A glass of water should
also be kept close by. This allows the carver to clean their area and make sure
that no mistakes are being made. The process is much slower than the process
for carving other stones. Be prepared for this reality.
Don’t Forget The Sand Bags
This is a step of the preparation
process that can be easily forgotten, especially by those who are not used to
carving alabaster with a dremel. These bags are utilized as a means of holding
the alabaster stone in place during the process of learning how to learning how
to carve alabaster with a dremel.
These bags are also useful when it comes
to propping up stones that are not perfectly shaped. The sand bags should be
chosen with durability in mind as well. If the fabric does not have the correct
level of durability, the project becomes that much more difficult.
Sand bags that are used by photographers
and film makers do not need to be used for projects of this nature. They do not
offer the necessary durability. These bags are made for fancier usage and
cannot handle the dirt and grime that is created during the carving process.
Some may even decide that they wish to make their own sand bags, just to be on
the safe side.
Protect Your Eyes and Ears
Carving alabaster with a dremel can be a
lot of fun but eye protection and ear protection is of the utmost importance.
Make sure to have a pair of goggles and a dust mask at the ready. While most
readers are probably rolling their eyes at the obviousness of this pointer,
there are many who have probably not obtained the correct protection for their
When alabaster stone is being carved,
the noise that is created can be damaging to the ears. The ringing noise will
only increase in pitch as the project continues. This is definitely going to
wear thin fast. Don’t neglect the importance of ear protection when
contemplating a project of this nature.
Making The Stone Easier To Work With
The exterior of the alabaster stone may
be rough. However, learning how to carve alabaster with a dremel is all about
taking the time to learn as much as possible. When carving by hand, it is
important to make the stone as easy to work with as possible. The rougher parts
of the exterior need to be ground down.
If the stone is not smooth yet, this is
a sign that more work needs to be done before the project can begin. Those who
attempt to carve rougher stones are placing themselves in a position that is
less than advantageous. Do not become overly worried about the removal of
material. This step is all about making sure that the stone is smooth enough
for carving. Many experts recommend using an electric grinder.
Choosing The Right Stone
Of course, the stone becomes even easier
to work with when the right one has been chosen. Do you already have a finished
product in mind? If so, the best decision that you can make is to choose a
stone whose shape aligns with this vision. The closer the stone is to the final
product, the less work the carver will need to do over the course of the
There is also less stone to be wasted in
these instances. Others may decide that they wish to take a different approach
to choosing a stone. Some will elect to choose a stone at random and analyze it
closely. Instead of having a specific design in mind, they will let the stone
speak to them.
In some cases, there just may be
something inside of that stone that is waiting to make its way out. Carvers who
are willing to analyze stones to find out more about their true makeup may
decide that they would rather take this approach, as opposed to going into the
project with a set outcome in mind.
Drawing The Image Onto The Stone
Once the alabaster is smooth, the carver
can draw their chosen image onto the stone and prepare for further carving. A
felt tip pen is in your best interests. Do not use pencils and Sharpies. A
pencil is going to carve into the stone unintentionally and create issues that
need to be addressed during the latter stages.
There are also going to be stones that
keep us from using pencil for more logical reasons. For example, there are a
wide range of stones that cannot be marked with pencil because the carver is
not going to be able to see the marking once it is made.
Sharpies may seem like the best choice
but these cannot be used either. In many cases, even the slightest Sharpie
markings will melt into the stone and render it unable to be used. Sharpies
also create far more mess. It cannot be erased once it has been used, either.
Crayons, felt tip pens, crayons and even
pieces of other stones can be utilized for this step. Pieces of soapstone may
not seem like the most obvious choice but these pieces offer carvers the chance
to make markings that are not permanent. Wax crayons are often the best bet,
Don’t Let The Dremel Tool Get Wet
There are some who will claim that the
dremel tool is not as useful as other tools that can be utilized for carving
alabaster. On the other hand, those who have used a dremel in the past are well
aware of the basics of carving. For starters, the dremel is only going to work
in the appropriate manner if it remains dry throughout the duration of the
Did you know that stones are typically
carved without the usage of heavy duty equipment? While a dremel can help in a
number of ways, the tool needs to be treated properly in order for a carver to
get the most out of it. The piece does not need to be left underwater for an extended
period and any carver who recommends it is not to be trusted.
Use a smaller, more shallow tray if
necessary. If the part of the alabaster that is being worked on needs to stay
underwater, these trays offer the highest level of effectiveness. A drip system
is another valuable tool that lets dremel users clear dirt away from the
Avoid Putting Too Much Pressure On The
Learning how to carve alabaster with a
dremel may seem easy enough but there are many reasons why these stones are
used for a project of this nature. While there are other stones available that
can be used for carving, alabaster provides the requisite softness. Harder
stones are not always as easy to carve and this is especially true for
Since the alabaster is soft, the carver
must avoid the temptation to place too much pressure on the stone. There is
only a small amount of pressure that is needed. The stone needs to be warped
and shaped. Too much pressure and fissures will form that cannot be worked around.
Flaking and cracking in alabaster stone
is not always readily apparent. The dust also settles into the air while we are
working and this issue is only magnified even further when too much pressure is
placed on the stone.
Work With The Grain of the Stone
Once it is time to start carving the
stone and creating the sculpture, it is important for carvers to work with the
grain of the stone. Those who carve against the grain are increasing the
likelihood of splintering and cracking. The stone is more likely to split along
Be sure to design the carving properly.
The grain of the stone should run along the length of what is being carved. If
the grain runs crosswise, this can cause a number of issues. Breaks and chips
are far more common in these instances. Take the time to sketch out the design
first. This keeps obvious mistakes from taking place.
Rasps Work Well
While those who are accustomed to
carving harder stones will not typically recommend the usage of rasps, these
tools are best used for the softer stones out there. Learning how to carve
alabaster with a dremel is all about putting yourself in the best possible
position to succeed.
Carving alabaster with a dremel does not
always allow carvers to remove materials as desired. This is where the rasps
come into play. They provide the assistance that hammers and chisels cannot.
These tools are useful on harder stones but when it comes to alabaster, they
only cause more chips and cracks.
A Helpful Primer on Filing
Once the desired shape of the carving
project has been obtained, it is time to consider the finer points of filing.
If there are any gouges that have been left behind by the rasps (or any chisels
that were used), now is the time to remove them completely. The filing process
is what allows us to avoid a long and drawn out polishing process.
Sandpaper can provide the necessary
assistance but filing keeps us from having to spend too much time and money on
this step. This is your chance to add in all of the fine details that will set
your finished product apart. Sandpaper is crucial but it should never take
precedence over filing.
Use Dry Sandpaper When Polishing
The softness of alabaster can make the
polishing process much more difficult than we imagine. Start with a coarser
sandpaper before moving onto something different. The rough form of the carving
should already be established. This is simply the carver’s chance to properly
Medium grit sandpaper and maximum grit
sandpaper can be used once the coarser sandpaper has taken care of the tougher
parts of the job. This is the best way to bring out the natural patterns of the
alabaster and will really allow your colors to pop.
Enhancing Your Final Polish
Alabaster’s softness is what allows the
carver to apply final polishes that are designed to bring out the stone’s
natural luster. Make sure that the stone is fully dry before applying a final polish.
This is how deeper scratches are found. These scratches cannot be removed once
the carving project has been completed so be sure to take a closer look.
Bee’s wax and linseed oil can be used
for this step. Use a soft, dry cloth to rub the wax or oil into the structure.
Depending on the quality of the stone and how well the previous steps have been
followed, it may take the carver two or three applications to achieve the
The process of learning how to carve alabaster with a dremel is easier than most realize. While there are various nuances to projects of this nature, those who take the time to follow the aforementioned tips and pointers will get the most out of their project. It is also in your best interests to find the best prices for all tools and equipment, such as the dremel tools reviewed here which are available on Amazon.com
This is my blog where I share tips, tricks and info about DIY crafts that I have already learned.. OR.. as I learn them. I enjoy helping others to learn about this great hobby. Oh… and by the way, my husband Tom also loves making clay pottery, home made sculptures, etc. and doing some writing here too.
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