Saturday, November 3, 2007

Glass Block Tutorial

Several years ago while in a local florist shop, I saw these fabulous lit glass blocks with pictures on them. That got me thinking, hey, why couldn't I stamp on a block! Through trial and error, my husband, Lloyd (the handy guy with the drill) and I came up with this version. Hopefully through the pictures, web link and my directions, you too can make some of these fun blocks!

Lloyd found these great directions on drilling your own block , this is a site for diamond drills, you'll have to click on the "How To Use Diamond Drills", about 2/3 of the page down are the instructions for drilling the glass blocks... don't let the directions scare you, it's not that complicated! There are many sites where they sell diamond core drill bits, here are a couple just be sure to check quality of bit before purchasing.
*NOTE* The drill bit in my pictures is not one of the diamond core bits, it is a masonry carbide bit. BUT, from here on out we will be using the diamond core bits (now that Lloyd did the research...hehe)
You won't find diamond core bits at your local hardware store.

You can purchase the glass blocks at your local building supply store and if you don't have a drill press, I'm sure someone you know has one or knows someone who does. Offer to bake them some cookies in exchange for drilling *wink*...Lloyd likes chocolate chip.



Ok...... here we go....Glass Block 101



Drilling the block

It's very important to keep spraying water on the drill bit as it gets very hot in the process. That was my job! It was tough, but someone had to do it!



I like to paint my block with Gesso as it gives the block some texture and the ink something to grab onto.




Here, I used a sponge, but I've also used a sponge paint brush. You want to try to get the Gesso on evenly and not too thick or you'll have dark spots when your lights are on. Gesso is available at any craft department and dries quickly.

Now you're ready to stamp your images. You need to use a permanant ink, I like to use Stazon (although in the picture you'll see Brilliance because my Stazon was getting dry!)
The sky is the limit when it comes to decorating your block.

Remember the 'trial/error' part? Try to be careful not to scratch your gesso'd block because if you have to touch up with more gesso, you'll have dark spots.


Now the fun part, coloring your block!
Back to the 'trial and error' again...hehe...

I've tried painting with ink from the pad (before I had reinkers) and with reinkers. Also using a waterbrush, paint brush, blender pen and now my favorite, the Fantastix by Tsunkineko. For now my favorite is the reinkers as you can get more intense color, although you could use any paint product, I'm sure. I just haven't branched out *gotten brave* and tried it! Experiment, you'll never know till you try!

Your final step for the block front will be to give it several coats of some kind of sealer to protect it and give it a nice finish.

Insert your string of lights and enjoy! (the shorter the string of lights the easier it is to insert)


This is by no means the only way to do these, just my way *wink*

have fun!!!

*some questions...and hopefully some answers*
Yes, you put Christmas lights into the block, the shorter the string the better (it takes a while to push all those lights into the hole!)

Where you put the hole is up to you, but we put them in a lower corner on the back side of the block. You could put it on the side if you wanted to decorate both sides of the block.

My first blocks were drilled with a 1/2in drill bit, too hard to get the lights in that little hole! Lloyd now uses a 3/4in drill bit...ahhh, easier



Here's a link to another block I made.
And here's a link to an interesting blog about drill bits!

thanks for stopping!

Dawn













32 comments :

Etha said...

COOL!
At first I thought, ok, this is cute, involve your husband in your stamping project, he gets to play with the drill and all, but WHY? what the heck for LOL then the aha-moment, insert string of lights ;) So, you put a real short light in there, or, do you make a chain and go from block to block?
Is there a method to where he places the holes? what size drill?
Looks totally neat, thanks for taking all the pictures and sharing, its a LOT of work to make a tutorial like that!!

Keri Lee Sereika said...

Totally cool!!! I have been so under the weather I have not even called to see if they would do the drilling...thanks for looking into that for me!
K

Dani said...

This is a great idea indeed, and your block is totally awsome! Thank you for sharing this with us!

Cindy Haffner said...

Wow these are so cut, awesome job Dawn.

Carolyn King said...

Totally awesome Dawn. Love your tutorial--i had never heard of doing this before so i really enjoyed this.

Great blocks too...love how you can light them up!

SmilynStef said...

Great tutorial and fun idea ... very cute (and kudos to the husband with the drill).

broni (waterchild12) said...

Great tutorial, Dawn! Thanks!

Dee said...

great tutorial Dawn! Your snowman blocks are awesome!!

Dawn Mercedes said...

Ahhhhh man! I'm famous around my family for Chocolate Chip cookies....I need some blocks drilled!

Thanks for the show!

Anonymous said...

Dawn, I remember ooohing and aaahing when you posted these beauties back when. Thanks so much for this tutorial so we can give them a try! Now to get some cookies made so I can get some holes drilled. lol

Anonymous said...

Great tutorial, Dawn! Thanks for putting it together for us.

- dlm.

Kelly Sampson AKA Emmiestamps said...

Awesome tutorial, such cute blocks thank so much for sharing!!

JAR said...

Wow, Dawn - what an awesome gift and project! Thanks for sharing with us!!

Julia Stainton said...

Gasp! This is fabulous!!!!! I must try it!!!

Rose Ann said...

Wow...these are wonderful!!

mimihas5 said...

Dawn these are stunning! Your tutorial is wonderful. Thanks for doing it. I am sure that there are many people out there who will be making glass blocks now. I would but I have no way of getting holes drilled into them. :) Thanks Dawn for sharing your wonderful talent with us.

Mary

carole (TruCarMa) said...

What a wonderfully unique project, Dawn! And gorgeous, too! I'm going to have to visit you more often!!! : ) Hugs!

Judi Harvey said...

How cool is this. Thank you soooo much for sharing this tutorial with us and also for telling us what did and didn't work. I'm going to try these soon!

Ila said...

Wonderful!! what a Fabulous tutorial!!

Susan (rainy) said...

Wonderful project, Dawn!! Thanks SO MUCH for the tutorial. I'm off to get some Gesso.

Drill Bits Fanatic said...

Hi,

I know this is an old post, but I was so impressed with your project! Amazing what crafty people can do with tools. I posted a link from my post (http://drill-bits.blogspot.com/2008/10/case-for-diamond-drill-bits.html) to this project. Hopefully others will get inspired as well.

Cheers!

Beth said...

Dawn have wanted to do one of these blocks for so long thank you for the awesome tutorial on them it was so easy to follow I finally did one and you can find it here if you would like to take a peek
http://beth714.blogspot.com

Linda B said...

Dawn these are so cute....and what a great idea! Unfortunayeli I know no one who has a drill press....not that my husband would not like an excuse to purchase ANY tool....it's getting him to USE them.

Cheryl, of said...

Do you use archival inks. I'm a SU demo. and I have my reinkers. Do you think they will work as well

Dawn said...

Cheryl, SU reinkers would work just fine

Arizona foreclosures said...

At first I thought, ok, this is cute, involve your husband in your stamping project Core Drilling

Carrie said...

I think a special power led me to your website!!! I've seen this in a recent magazine and have been tearing my hair out regarding how to drill holes in the glass blocks.
Now I can relate this to my husband so that he can drill the blocks for me so that I can get started on my Christmas "decorations". So glad I found this website

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Diamond Core drill said...

I had never heard of doing this before so i really enjoyed this.. You have funny ideas..

Diamond Core Drill said...

The work that was done by you is worth looking..I had never heard of doing this before so i really enjoyed this.

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