This is a tutorial on how to make sea glass without a tumbler or glass for that matter.
Ok, so it doesn’t look exactly like the real deal but if you are looking to make some fake sea glass for an art project and other other type of DIY craft decor piece, I’ve figured out how to do this without having to shatter a bunch of bottles and creating a big pile of glass shards.
To me, that’s a fair compromise.
So what’s what exactly am I going to use instead of glass?
Shrink Film!! That’s right, this super affordable plastic film meant for kids can be used for adult crafts too!
The best part is, you can actually control what shapes you end up with which makes it even better for art projects.
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Materials for fake sea glass diy art projects
Shrink film: This is the exact set I bought (originally for my kids). It works great for sea glass projects.
Frosting Paint – There are a few options here. You can use either Frosting Spray Paint, Frost enamel or make your own with Elmers Glue and some coloring agent.
Cutting Machine – I use a Cricut. Check out my recommendations for Cricut machines and accessories for beginners for more info.
Templates – This set of beach-inspired templates are available for free in both SVG and printable formats in my resource library.
DIY sea glass projects
Step 1: Sea glass cutouts
The first thing we want to do is to make cutout the shrink film into the shapes we want.
You can cut irregular rock-like shapes with a pair of scissors or trace a dedicated template.
I cut mine using my Cricut cutting machine. I would recommend a standard green mat. I experimented a bit with the different pressure settings and found the one for plastic containers to be best suited for cutting shrink film. Everything else did that cut through all the way.
Keep in mind shrink film shrinks to about a quarter of its original size. Just keep that in mind as your are sizing the initial cut.
Step 2: Bake the shrink film
Depending on which brand you end up using, directions may vary. It’s usually somewhere around 300 degrees F for about 12 minutes.
My kids are mesmerized by this process and basically stand in front oven watching this intently. It is kind of neat. At around 10 minutes, it suddenly starts to warp and curl and then all of the sudden, it just flattens out.
You can take it out as soon as it flattens out.
Step 3: Frost your shrink film pieces
Full disclosure, depending on which brand you use, the DIY glue frosting paint doesn’t work as well. It tends to bead and pool on some plastics.
I personally don’t have a dedicated area where I can spray anything so I had to resort to the frosting enamel which worked great.
I just gave it 2 coats using a brush. If you wash the brush immediately after use, it can be reused again for other purposes.
I also adding some additional decorative details with a metallic sharpie. If you are to do this, add it before painting the piece with enamel.
Here’s a tutorial detailing how to make shrink film jewelry and other crafts if you are interested in doing more with shrink film.