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IS BEACH GLASS ART ?

FOUR QUESTIONS: 1. Is Beach Glass Art? 2. What Is Beach Glass? 3. How do you find beach glass? 4. What do you do with beach glass?

Is Beach Glass Art?

Art has a broad definition. It is unique, individualized, pleasing to the sight, colorful or colorless, and often; one of a kind. Yes, I believe beach glass is art, alone just as you find it.

Beach glass art can also be created by display, arrangement, and adornment of beach glass; such as using it in mosaics, jewelry, and display vessels. The possibilities are unlimited.

What Is Beach Glass? beach glass, sea glass, beach glass jewelry, Michigan beaches

It's glass that has somehow found its way into a body of water. Usually, it's the sea and beach glass may also be called sea glass.

A glass bottle or vessel that falls into an inland lake will generally not incur the continual movement and wave action that's needed to break up, wear down the edges, and smooth, round, and etch the surface of the glass piece.

Inland lakes get limited wave action, usually just the wake from boats. Not often enough action to wear the glass down or toss it up on the shore so we can find it. In a body of water without vigorous wave action, a glass vessel will likely sink to the bottom and stay right there.

So beach glass, or sea glass is glass that has found its way into a body of water. That water and wave action has worn the piece down, rounded it, smoothed it, etched it, and frosted it and thrown it back towards or upon the shore so you can find it: beach glass art in its purest form.

Lake Michigan is not the sea, but produces beautiful beach glass art. The lake has continuous wave motion, like the ocean. The waves can be very turbulent, particularly in winter. But the most important factor is that the waves are constant. That's why finding beach glass art is one of the many reasons Lake Michigan Beaches are some of the best in the world!

How Do You Find Beach Glass?

beach glass art, Michigan beaches, finding beach glass

Well, the first word you may hate to hear is "practice." When I came to Lake Michigan many years ago, my friends had beautiful glass containers filled to the brim with beach glass. From the looks of that, I thought it would be a little easier than it was to find.

My first couple walks along the shores of Lake Michigan, everyone found beach glass but me. My eyes just weren't tuned in to what to look for. It's kind of like looking for the elusive Petoskey stones along the lake shore; you have to train you eyes what to look for.

Then I began to see it. First, only the larger more colorful pieces. The big blues and greens. Next, I became good at spotting the "ice cubes" as I call them. These are the frosted white glass chunks that are nicely rounded and with the water lapping over them look just like a melting ice cube in the sand.

The hardest color for me to see is brown. It looks like many rocks, dried leaves, and sometimes Zebra mussel shells. Different colors are hard to see for different people. Many beach glass hunters have trouble seeing white, or clear - the "ice cubes." My husband, for some reason has trouble seeing green beach glass.

I've also learned that you may see pieces of beach glass walking one direction on the beach that you didn't see going the other direction. So be sure to look both ways. Wearing sunglasses may also affect what colors of beach glass you notice and how much you find.

The best times to look for pieces of beach glass art are after heavy wave action. When the water has calmed and receded, it will usually leave many beach glass treasures just lying on the sand. Look early in the day if possible. A prime piece of beach glass will probably be snatched up by the first passer-by who knows what a treasure they're looking at.

The picture above is the beach glass that I found on a recent 30 minute walk along the shores of Lake Michigan near South Haven. You can see that a few pieces are not worn and frosted. They are "glass found on the beach", not "beach glass". But, there are several that are nicely colored with interesting characteristics. Ridges, curves, bottle necks, and markings on the glass all add to its' artistic value. (The 2 small, oval stones in the upper left hand corner are Petoskey stones).

What Do You Do With Beach Glass?

Well, what do you do with art? You enjoy it, you display it, you wear it, and you share it with others. How you do it is up to you.

There is some very beautiful jewelry made from beach glass. Have someone create a ring, necklace, earrings, keychain or who knows what for you if you can't make it yourself.

Some people cover table tops or other items with beach glass like a mosiac tile. I have a table top I would like to decorate this way - when I get time. I also have a cement garden face that I'm going to decorate its' eyes and hair with glued on beach glass. Who knows how that will turn out. I'll post a picture here so you can judge the results!

My favorite thing to do with beach glass is to just put it in a simple, glass container so its' natural beauty shows through. Beach glass is art, in itself, so it really doesn't need much help.


Beach glass art is one of my favorite gifts to give. A small, glass jar filled with these colorful beauties has always been received with enthusiasm. It's a unique gift, literally like no other.

The glass has a secret story, where it came from and who owned it. Some beach glass is very old, perhaps from a ship wreck, an old bottle tossed overboard, or who knows?

It's a perfect souvenir from Lake Michigan, and for "icing on the cake", I often glue a Petoskey stone on top of the jar.


Hunting beach glass art is great exercise. It gets you outdoors, on the beach, and is yet another perfect activity for Michigan family vacations in the spring, summer, and fall.

I've got several glass jars to fill for next Christmas so I've got to get to the beach. But

We'll see you around _South Haven To Saugatuck and Beyond

The Best Beach Glass Art Stories Come From YOU

Do You Have a Beach Glass Story?

Whether you're a seasoned beach glass hunter or new to the sport, we'd love to hear what you found. If you've got a picture or 2 we would love to see them.

Enter a Title For Your Story

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