Monday, November 16, 2009

Beaded Glass block Light

I have recieved a ton of questions about my glass block lights, so I hope that this tutorial will help to clear those things up!

First, I can't take credit for the idea.  I saw it on SplitCoast, only without the beads.  Then, on pennywise arts (my source for the beads and tape sheets) I saw a beaded one.  So  I am just sharing my process.  The credit for the idea lies elsewhere!

Glass Block- I get mine from a local building supply.  They are 8*8 and we drill the hole for the lights.  If you are only doing a few, you may want to get the predrilled variety available at Hobby Lobby.  A bit of advice we got from the glass block supplier is not to use a glass drill bit as sometimes suggested.  Instead we use a Dremel with a diamond grinding stone.  My DH keeps it lubricated by dipping it in baby oil occaionally during the process.  We drill the hole just big enough to fit the lights, about 1".  It is in the bottom of the block near one edge.  Because the block has raised edges, there is room to run the cord out without the block tipping.  After your hole is drilled, you will need to rinse out the block, and then leave it to dry.  Mine took about 24-36 hours.
Picture- 6"*6".  I use computer images, printed on a lightweight computer paper, so the light can shine through.
O'so Sticky adhesive Sheets- Available at
Microbeads-  these are available in different sizes.  I order mine from Pennywise, and they are the mini microbeads.  They are about the size of a grain of salt.
Lights- I like to use a 35 light strand of Christmas lights.  A 50 light strand heats the block too much.  You could get burnt.  If you are making a child's night light, I would use the LED lights, as they let off virtually no heat

How to: the fun part
Insert your lights through the hole.  I do this first so I don't have to mess with it after I get the beads on.

Center your picture on the face of the block.  Attach with a small amount of adhesive on the corners.  (I like AdTech tape runners).

Peel the backing off of your trimmed adhesive sheet (sized to fit over your image, in this example 6"*6"), and carefully place over the picture.

Peel off the remaining backing sheet and sprinkle your beads on.  Press firmly.  Pour off excess beads.  Repeat on the other side of the block if desired.  I make mine 2 sided with a different pic on each side, so it's reversible.

Last but not least, I wrap mine in ribbon and tie a bow.  If you need a bow tutorial, try you tube.  I stink at bows!



Linda Tarolli said...

Beautiful job on the blocks and all your other items. No doubt you had some great shows. Thanks for sharing!

Christa W said...

Thanks for the tutorial. They look great, and the photography really shows off how they shine in the dark. Nice work.

Cammy said...

Your blocks are beautiful! A great gift idea!