Monday, December 26, 2011

Barbara Lindsey of PWA: Glass Block Tutorial

We are delighted to have another fabulous tutorial from the talented Pennywise Arts team. Today, they are going to show you how to turn a simple glass block into some beautiful decor item! Instructions were written by Barb Lindsey and the artwork created by Suzanne Glazier.

Here's Barbara to show you how!

  • Glass Block (Glass blocks can be purchased at most building supply stores, i.e., Home Depot, Lowe's)
  • Drill
  • 1/2 inch Ceramic Tile Masonry Drill Bit
  • Ribbon
  • Hot Glue
  • Graphic of your choice (You can print a graphic on regular text paper, use a pretty tissue paper, stamp your own design on text weight paper or even use a decorative napkin)
  • O'So Sticky Tape Sheets & Roll
  • Set of Christmas Lights (Depending on the size block anywhere from a string of 20 up to a string of 50. Look for them at a dollar store)
  • Micro Beads Clear
Remember that O'So Sticky Tape likes to be warm. It's a good idea to heat the surface of your block with a heat tool before you add the tape for best adhesion of micro beads.

If your graphic is very fine in detail, you might want to use the Ultra Fine size of micro beads. This will keep the image from distorting too much.

Instructions for cutting the hole provided by Barb's DH:

CAUTION: Use safety glasses; wear protective clothing, and a respiratory mask. Glass flakes are not good for the human body. Also, these blocks do shatter easily, so be careful! Barb's dh uses a drill press with a 1/2 inch Ceramic Tile Masonry drill bit. Set the drill press at the lowest speed. GO SLOW AND STEADY. When the bit cuts into the block there is an intake of air. At this point use a Dremel tool with a Ceramic Tile Masonry bit to enlarge the hole to the desired size. 1/2 inch. (Big enough for the string of lights to go in and out). There will be glass dust in the block you can rinse it out with water and drain.


1. Clean surface of glass block with alcohol. If you want to clean the sides you can, but the ribbon will cover them.

2. Lights. Remember to test your lights before using them. Feed the string of lights into the block leaving the plug on the outside. If you like you can try to manipulate them with a dowel to distribute them more evenly.

3. Measure the surface of the block to size your graphic. Remember that the lights shine through the graphic. For best results avoid dark colors and too much of one color. Center your graphic on your block and apply with adhesive of choice. Make sure you burnish it down good.

4. To apply micro beads, put O'So Sticky Tape over the image and pour beads onto it. It's good to use a tray to catch them in!

5. Finish your block with a ribbon if you like. Or you can add any embellishments. Wrap the ribbon around the block and attach it anyway you like. (Hot Glue works great!) Then make a pretty bow for the top!

Thanks Barbara for such a great idea and thanks to Suzanne for creating such gorgeous examples.

We have been very fortunate to have the Pennywise team sharing all their fabulous ideas with us all month! While, this is their last tutorial on Gingersnap Creations for this year, be sure to check out the amazing tutorial archive on the Pennywise Arts website for more great ideas!


  1. It's always so beautiful here!

    Merry, merry!


  2. Very pretty.

    Happy New Year,
    Carson's Creations

  3. Oh, what a beautiful idea! I already have some ideas for this. Thanks for the inspiration on this day after Christmas!

  4. I know I've already posted, but I had a thought. Wouldn't it be safer and a little less troublesome to use some kind of LED lights and somehow hide them in the back of the block? (Perhaps I just have a vision of myself doing damage instead of art!)

  5. Oh my word, these are gorgeous! Pinning them straigtaway! :)


Thanks for your wonderful words!

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