Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Handpainted Glass Sea Urchins

Hi, you guys!  Here's a salty, splashy gift idea, made with some of those great glass paints from Martha Stewart crafts.

Sea urchin jewelry!

For Mother's Day, perhaps?  My mom is part Mer-woman, she is so in sync with the sea.  If your giftee adores the ocean and all its creatures, she will love one of these spiny little gems.

And you, yes, you can make a fantasy glass sea urchin in just three little steps.  1. squeeze out paint lines.  2. squeeze out little baby spikes.  3. bake in the oven.  Sounds doable, right?  It totally is!  Here comes the complete DIY.

You will need:

Martha Stewart translucent frost glass paint, any two colors.


A decorative glass pebble.  You know the kind I mean!  These are the larger size, about an inch across.

Additional supplies:
*jewelry adhesive
*a ring blank, bracelet blank or glue-on pendant bail
*a Post-It note

Got 'em?  Okie dokie, let's get urchining.  

Draw a five-armed starfish on the sticky part of a post-it note.

Why the Post-It?  It's a great trick I discovered for handling the slippery little pebbles - you can hold the Post-It and turn and twist while painting, without getting all butterfingers and dropping your still-wet work of art (paint-side down) onto the dog's head.

Not that that happened.

Clean the glass pebble until squeaky (with alcohol if you have it) and stick it onto the starfish. 

These paint bottle tips are extra fine, great for squeezing out paint lines.  Using your 5-armed drawing as a guide, squeeze out five little arcs of paint, reaching halfway up the sides of the pebble.

I'll be honest - it required a few practice tries before I got the hang of it.  The good news is, they don't have to be perfect!  See?

The even better news: if you mess up, just rinse off the paint and start again.   Once you're happy with your arcs, allow them to dry completely.


Be really, really patient here - give it a full hour.  You will thank me later!

While you wait, start practicing this little move.  I call it the "blorp and lift."

How is it done?  Squeeze out a tiny blorp of paint, keeping the bottle tip at the surface.  Then lift the bottle away very quickly to form a point.

Try it!  It feels uncannily similar to the "bend and snap" from Legally Blonde.  Practice blorping and lifting until you can do it with one eye tied behind your back.  By then your painted arcs will be dry.

Now for the fun part!  Begin to cover your sea urchin in spikes.

Blorp and lift!  Blorp and lift!  Until you have:

It doesn't matter what pattern you use, as long as it's symmetrical according to the 5-armed motif.

As with the arcs, you will make some mistakes, but it's okay!  Since you were really, really patient and waited a full hour for the arcs to dry, you can rinse off the wet spikes during this step, and start over several times.

When you're happy with your spikes, allow to dry for one hour.

The final step - bake in the oven according to the package instructions.

Woohoo!  Your handpainted sea urchin is done - a thing of beauty and a joy forever.  The glass paint has become a sort of fired-on enamel: crazy durable and very permanent.

Optional: before baking, you can also paint the flat bottom of the pebble in a contrasting color for a deeper-hued effect, as in this pretty urchin:


Another variation: the totally spiked version.  Skip the painted arcs and just go crazy with the blorping and lifting.

A peek at the flip sides:

Doncha love the rich effect of this one with the multicolored background?


So okay - at this point you have a sea urchin.  And now - let's turn this baby into jewelry!

It's way easy.  Just glue the urchin to a metal jewelry blank.

You can buy ring blanks, bracelet blanks and glue-on bails at any bead shop or craft store.   Or, as in the photos below, use a flat metal charm in place of a pendant bail.

Mich's Single Most Important Tip For Using Jewelry Glue.   You are adhering glass to metal, which is against all the laws of nature, so listen up.  Ready?

Glue your two surfaces together.  Wait 24 hours.

You heard me.  Twenty.  Four.  Hours.  Do not touch it for 24 hours.  Do not look at it, do not think about it.  Do not even think about thinking about it.  Follow this tip and you will always adhere successfully. 

Okay, my friends, that's my sea urchin tute - I hope you get a chance to try it out!

One final little idea.  What if your giftee isn't into jewelry?  Make a whole flotilla of urchins - and give her a seascape, with shells.

Find more crafty ideas from Plaid on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Blog.

Disclosure: I wrote this post as part of a sponsored campaign with Plaid and The Blueprint Social. Projects and opinions expressed are entirely my own.


  1. Very cute, indeed! What a great way to use up all those left over glass gems - make these and give them as gifts.

  2. Really cool. So summery. I love the blorping.

  3. very beachy...very peachy!! ;)

  4. Awesome!! Thanks for the idea and somehow making it work in with the "bend and snap" HA HA HA :)

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  6. They look so great, the spikes and colours just make me smile! :)

  7. So darn cute and clever...again! Thanks for the great tutorial and for teaching me a new word of the day: blorp.

  8. What a cute idea!

  9. Thank you for this great tutorial! I love they way you made it so easy to follow, and teaching me new words like "blorping"! My mom recently moved back to Indiana from Florida, but is still a beach girl at heart. She will love this!! Thanks again! You ROCK!
    Angi Mullis

  10. cool. I love beach things and this would be great to make and display :)

  11. Oh man, what a great idea! So clever and delicate. If I had the patience to make a bunch (doubtful) I would love to see them all along the edge of a mirror.

  12. Oops, I've missed so much fun! This is another must copy project! Love it!

  13. Gorgeous ~ Love it! Pinned it!

    <3 Christina @ I Gotta Create!
    Wildly Original link party is open.