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March 21, 2011

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Beachy glass gem wall art {the water's edge}

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Madigan made...   glass gem marbles into 'art.'

Imagine you are standing on a beach at the water's edge.
You look down at a wave coming into shore.
The blue water and foamy bubbles sparkle in the sun as the water comes toward you.
The edges of the foam stretch along the sand but can't quite swallow up your toes.
Then the wave gives up and slides gently back into the sea.

THAT brief moment is what inspired this art project for our master bathroom.

I told you this weekend that a movie scene inspired the palette and texture for my bath. I loved the colors in one of the beach scenes of Something's Gotta Give. Read more about my inspiration here.



And in general, this bath is going to be a beach themed room.

I try to avoid buying store bought wall art that everyone else could have in their home. My philosophy is to try and find something unique at flea market or just make it. For this project, I decided to tackle it myself.

I knew I wanted an element that reminded me of water... but did not scream: "Hey, that's supposed to be the beach."

I initially thought about mounting blue and white glass mosaic tile on a board and trimming it out with white moulding.

But then I realized I had all these blue glass gems in my craft stash. (I used them as vase filler in our bedroom... a room I have yet to show you. Hmm, I'll get on that!)

And I figured it would be easier to start with a white frame instead of cutting a board and trim. If you remember, I'm not super handy and I rely heavily on my hardware store for help in the wood cutting department.

Aside from the white frame, I used:
- Blue and clear glass gems (found at the dollar or craft stores)
- Mod Podge (satin and shimmer)
- A large piece of creamy tan heavyweight paper (cut to size to fit behind the glass)
- Salt
- Brushes
- A very strong, clear glue (one that says it can be used on glass is recommended)

(If you read this post, then you know I've used salt for fake snow. Did you also know that salt can be a great substitute for sand, too?)


Over a large plastic bag (who wants salt everywhere, right?), I worked from one end of the paper and brushed on a thick coating of Mod Podge. Then, I sprinkled some of the salt over the glue. I continued this process working in small sections across the whole piece of paper.
After that, I carefully shook any loose salt off the paper onto the plastic bag.

Note:  At one end I used a little shimmer Mod Podge. This is where some of the blue gems would be placed. I did not want a lot of 'sand' color peeking out under the blue... I wanted it to shimmer a little and look more like water. The shimmer product worked great. On the other areas of the paper, I just used the regular Mod Podge that would dry clear.


After the sheet dried, I placed the sandy paper in the frame behind the glass.

Suggestion: I noted that some of the salt was falling out of the frame when I hung it. So I grabbed some wide tape and taped up the back of the frame around the edges. This prevented any of the sand from sliding out.


Before gluing down the gems, I laid them all out all them in the pattern I wanted. I tried to make it resemble a gentle wave.


Then, I just lifted up each glass marble and put a dollop of glue on the back. I pressed the gem back down onto the glass. I worked my way around the whole frame and glued them all down.

I allowed the glue to dry overnight.



The next day I found out that this sucker was HEAVY. I could not find a stud to hang it from in the spot I wanted, so I used a large wall anchor.

If you look closely, you can see the sandy texture between and under the gems.
The effect is subtle, which is fine with me.


I love the wide, classic and traditional look of the frame with the more modern interpretation of water.

The image is simple and it sparkles.



Can I tell you how I happy it makes me feel to see this frame on the wall when I am getting ready each day?

Especially when you consider what we used to look at every morning?

(for more before pics, read this post)