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Home Projects: Sea-Glass Mirror Surround

PROJECT: Sea-Glass Mirror Surround Beachlovers Holly Rader and Carol Smith-Sloan are longtime friends who share a passion for beach glass. Recently they’ve started transforming their collections of those ocean-tumbled fragments into art. They’ve adorned mirrors, picture frames, and mantels with colorful shards — but these days they’re concentrating on larger installations, such as the mirror […]

By Kathleen McKenna

Jun 06 2008

Holly and Carol
Photo Credit : Vaccaro, Chris

PROJECT: Sea-Glass Mirror Surround

Beachlovers Holly Rader and Carol Smith-Sloan are longtime friends who share a passion for beach glass. Recently they’ve started transforming their collections of those ocean-tumbled fragments into art.

They’ve adorned mirrors, picture frames, and mantels with colorful shards — but these days they’re concentrating on larger installations, such as the mirror surround they created in the powder room at Holly’s summer home in Chatham, Massachusetts.

PROCESS

Holly and Carol sifted through their sea glass, collected on expeditions to Spectacle Island, located in the waters between Boston and their hometown of Hingham, Massachusetts. Their design captures the spirit of the sea. “We wanted a natural look,” explains Carol, “one that would suggest that the waves had tumbled and tossed these particular pieces right into our mosaic.”

They built “troughs” for either side of the mirror with the same two-inch crown molding used elsewhere in the room. Next, they mixed grout in a plastic bucket. They decided to keep the grout a natural shade, which resembles sand in both color and texture.

Using a large sponge and a putty knife, Holly and Carol set the grout inside the trough. Then they spread solvent-free tile adhesive onto each piece of glass and pushed it firmly into the grout. Holly’s husband and three daughters affixed their favorite pieces; the mosaic became a family effort. Overnight their masterpiece dried; they sprayed tile sealant across the entire surround in the morning.

COST

About $100 (if the glass is free), including grout, adhesive, sealant, and molding (16 feet of 2-inch pine crown molding runs about $30). Replicated or artificially tumbled sea glass may be purchased online or in craft stores for about $10 a pound. Holly and Carol say there are countless jars of genuine sea glass out there collecting dust: Ask around among your friends and look for glass at flea markets.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST?

“I love that Carol and I did it together,” Holly says. “It reminds me of the fun we have going out to the island to collect our treasures.”

RESOURCES

Visit allcrackedupbiz.com (or call 781-789-0677) for information on Holly and Carol’s sea-glass mosaic artwork.