Glass Garden Art: No Green Thumb, No Problem

Glass Garden Art: No Green Thumb, No Problem main article image
Posted on May 28, 2021 by KAREN STELLATO-SA

These beauties are fun to make and add a pop of color to any garden.  Sometimes there is a gap of a few weeks between when the plants in the garden begin to shine. Or you love the idea of flowers, but real flowers take up too much time, or the soil is just not workable, or the bunnies and deer will eat up anything you try to grow!

These glass garden flowers made from thrift shop tabletop finds add a great accent to any garden bed. In addition, they are a great excuse to stop at every yard sale in your path in search of those adorable little one-off plates, bowls and candleholders.  

The glass daffodil flower in this photo can be created with a salad plate, a small vintage square bowl, a bathroom vanity light shade and a candleholder. The light shade was frosted glass to begin with, the rest of the pieces were clear glass.    Yellow glass paint brought this daffodil to life.

Just like real flowers, there are no two exactly alike; all depends on your dishware and paint choices. Just have fun!

Before you start – Things that are good to know:

  • The hunt for the most desirable combo of plate, bowl and candleholder probably takes longer than actually putting the flower together.  If you are like me, you have a certain image in your head and the hunt for the perfect pieces is a personal challenge!
  • Keep your eye out for plates with petal or pointed edges and soft curves
  • You must be sure that your pieces will all lay flat against each other in the middle where you will be applying the glue.  This is very important in regards to the overall stability of the finished product.
  • I think the prettiest ones are those that are made of either all clear glass pieces (of which some can be tinted with glass paint) or of all ceramic pieces. However, there are exceptions and you should do whatever makes your heart happy.
  • Running all the pieces through the Dishwasher before starting is a great way to be sure they sparkle to the max once assembled.
  • While both E6000 and Silicone are both super strong and hold up well outside, the E6000 is crystal clear, where the Silicone may leave a slightly cloudy appearance.  Therefore, E6000 is ideal for clear glass plates, and silicone for ceramic plates. 
  • Silicone dries faster than the E6000 glue
  • E6000 is toxic and tends to always leak out of the tube, so an option is to push some glue from the tube into a small zip lock bag and cut the corner. Use the zip lock bag like a pastry bag for more control of the flow of your glue.  Be sure to cap the tube immediately, so it does not dry out and you minimize inhaling the smell.
  • They look super when placed in a group of 3 with similar look and feel.

Materials needed:

  • A large dinner plate (Glass or Ceramic)
  • Smaller bowl or salad plate, or glass shade
  • Candleholder or mini bowl
  • Vintage earrings, flat glass marble gems (for flower center)
  • A flat sided glass salt shaker or bent tablespoon (to attach to pole stem)
  • Glass Paint –  Pebeo Vitrea 160 recommended
  • Straight stake, metal or copper pipe, bamboo stick (for stem)
  • Dishwashing soap/water
  • Paper towels
  • Tablecloth
  • Disposable gloves
  • Rubbing Alcohol to remove any oils before painting or gluing
  • E 6000 glue or Clear 100% Silicone tube and a caulking gun
  • A container to keep the E6000 tube upright when opened so glue does not leak out
  • A small zip lock bag (optional)
  • Green exterior paint for the stem (optional)

Glass Painting instructions:

  • If you have chosen clear glass and you would like to tint it. (My favorites are yellow/ orange and Pink/reds).  You will need to be sure your glass is clean and dry wiped with alcohol for good paint adhesion.
  • You can decide to paint the whole plate or do a design that is inspired by flower petals
  • After painting the glass, it will have to go in the oven to cure.  Read your paint product directions for specifics.    Once that is done, the color will stay through summer sun and winter snow!
  • Painting must be done prior to Gluing/Assembly

Ceramic Plate Painting instructions:

If you have very plain plates, you might want to add some petal designs to them to create a more realistic looking flower. I like to look at pictures of real flowers for color and design inspiration.

Instructions for assembly:

  1. Prep the workspace area with a tablecloth.  The glue is very difficult to remove so cover everything carefully
  2. Be sure you have a well ventilated area when using the glue
  3. Glue plate and bowl or salad plate together
  4. Glue the little accents (vintage earrings/flat glass gems)  inside the candle holder (as flower center)
  5. Put the glued pieces on a flat surface so no shifting will occur as you let it dry overnight.   It is important that the pieces stay centered. Place something heavy (a book or another heavy plate) on top of them to form a tight bond.
  6. Depending on your layout, you may be able to add the 3rd inner piece on the same day as well, providing you can lay something heavy over it while the glue dries to full strength.
  7. The next day glue on the inner piece (if you have not already).
  8. The following day, you can add either a flat-sided saltshaker or a bent spoon to the back of the plate (for attaching the flower to the stem).
    • Saltshaker method: Remove top and discard.  Attach the flat side of an upside down saltshaker to the back of the largest plate.  The stem will slide inside the hole of the salt shaker
    • Spoon method: Bend spoon to a 45-degree angle.  Then attach the round end of the spoon to the back of the largest plate. The other end of the spoon will slide inside the pole stem.
  9.  Be sure to let the entire flower cure for 72 hours before putting it in the garden
  10. Drive the stake into the garden first to secure it in the ground and then place the glass flower on the stake. This will prevent you from accidentally putting too much pressure on your glass pieces so your flower does not crack.
  11. Wind tape or paper towel for a snug fit if necessary
  12.  When setting up your flowers in the flowerbed, be sure to leave enough space between the flowers, so that if the wind should blow strongly they will not bang into each other.

Happy Planting!

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