Topic: Crafts

Home Projects: Sea-Glass Mirror Surround

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Seaglass Mirror

Holly and Carol

All photos/art by Chris Vaccaro

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.


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.


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.


“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.”


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

  • I cute this picture out of Yankee magazine when it was published, kept it in a folder long enough to think I’d never actually make my own or contact these artists to make me one. Now, a year later, the master bathroom renovation is becoming a reality and I’ve been searching for this bathroom mirror. And here it is! YEAH! Thank you!

  • Yup! Sea glass on Spectacle is now considered “a natural resource” by the US gov’t. This is an interesting phenomenon as more and more historic coastal dumps around the country are being taken over by the National Parks Service. They are beginning to understand that sea glass attracts tourists ( i.e. $$$ ) and thus has to be protected.
    Sea Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, CA is another one of these locations.
    If you want to see more about the sea glass at Spectacle and Fort Bragg, and sea glass in general, visit http://www.seaglassjournal.com.
    — Gary

  • Wow, rangers frowned on removal of sea glass! How absurd! I love sea glass too, but we all know it’s sanded down glass bottle garbage. We’re all just helping clean up the beach!

  • We found spectacle island last fall and had a wonderful afternoon searching for fun pieces of sea glass! This past June we brought a few friends to visit the island bringing a picnic lunch along. As we walked the beach we were met by several rangers who frowned upon our removal of “sea glass/pottery artifacts” off the beach. We were reminded these artifacts belong to the federal goverment! As a former “dump site” we were amused that sea glass is now belongs to the goverment! What next! Mary Hardwick


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