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I have to tell you all that I have tried many different things and settled on the following because they look the best. First, I bought my blocks at Lowe's for about $4.25 a block. I bought them in cases of 8. Next, I purchased a diamond core drill bit online from a company called McGills for $15 (just Google diamond core drill bits).
I used a drill press at a slow pace. It took about 4 to 5 minutes a block. I also used a diamond bit lubricant that I sprayed on with a small spray bottle. Just a little bit will do it.
I then tried different alternatives with the lights. For outside light boxes, which I use as luminarias, set upright, I used regular mini sets of 50 that I bought for $.99. I tied the bows around the sides so the lights only show through the front and back. I sprayed both sides with frosted spray from Lowe's, by Rustoleum, a couple of coats and then set them at intervals down the driveway. Very nice effect.
For indoor ones, I used LED mini lights that I got from a friend who does that for a living, so it gave me a price break. I used pre-tied bows from Lowe's that were $1.99 each. That sort of offsets the LED lights' price. LEDs do not get warm and they use 80% less energy. I would look online for these. I also sprayed these with frosted spray. Oh yes, I forgot I bought some opaque glass spray paint in blue and green to spray stenciled phrases like, "Peace on Earth", etc. on the fronts of the frosted glass block, that I used for the luminarias.
I just made these blocks, I used a RotoZip tool with a masonry bit (used for tile work) to drill the hole. It was fast and easy, about 5 minutes. I stand my blocks on end, drilling on the side for the hole.
Regarding the dust that falls inside the block while drilling, I used the hose attachment on my vacuum cleaner to suck out the dust, that also works great.
The lights I used were the mini 20 set with only a plug on one end, they are not the end to end type of light, that way all the lights fit inside with the cord and plug hanging out.
I tie a bow on the front of my block and also attach 2 smaller round Christmas ornaments for a little extra flair. These make beautiful gifts.
When making glass block lights, I remove the icky wax-like substance by using a 4 inch razor blade in a "safety scraper". You can purchase this item and the refill blades for a low cost, along with the glass blocks at places like Lowe's. I can clean up to 3 large blocks per blade. Just be sure to do this in a safe and comfortable way.
I place a block on an old newspaper (several layers thick) on my coffee table. It is the right height for me and I am sitting. Always scrape AWAY from your body and keep your non-scraping hand on the 'side" of the block. Scraping the block is a very quick process and makes the blocks much prettier. I then do a quick scrub with hot water and a Brillo pad to remove any left over residue. Then drill! Rinse thoroughly and dry.
I have tried various chemicals and found I was allergic to them. I have bad arthritis in both of my hands and they can be a bit sore after 8 - 10 blocks, but it is well worth the effort. I have found that friends and family really like these with the clean look.
I also have found through the internet 35 count lights 3 inches apart on white cord with female plug. It looks much prettier than double plugs and ugly green wire. I got the lights from the "Christmas Light Source" in Fort Worth, TX. It is really great to have the lights only 3 inches apart, and to be able to order white wire. I was able to get a great price by ordering by the case, 24 sets.
By preheat350 from Seattle, WA
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Here are questions related to Glass Block Christmas Decoration.
I am making glass blocks for gifts. After putting in glue and glitter, my husband inserted the lights. While doing this, a lot of glitter came off. What did I do wrong?
By Mrs H J Beers
By Karen 12/24/2011
Hi, Try drilling the hole first. Then decorate the outside. When done spray with some kind of glaze sealent. That should help keep the glitter on the block.
I was given a beautiful glass block decoration, but how do you change the lights when they go out?
By leslie 12/21/2011
Yes, you should be able to remove the strand of burnt out lights. Needle nose pliers make the job a breeze. Then replace with a similar size string of new lights.
How do I make glass blocks with lights in them?
By Mary from Toronto, ON, Canada
I bought my glass block @ AC Moore :-) Question- how many lights can you have on a strand of lights without it becoming hazardous?
How do you frost glass blocks for crafts? I want to give one to my new sister-in-law for Christmas.
By Sue from Barnesville, OH
I am very interested in making the Christmas decorations out of the glass blocks. Not sure I can cut the hole in them. I did find a place that will do it for $5.00 each. Do you think that is a fair price? I think it sounds a little high. Don't really want to make them to sell, just use them as gifts for the girls I work with and maybe some other friends.
Ruth from Tennessee
By Tammy (Guest Post)01/09/2009
Hobby Lobby sells these blocks with holes already in for $9.99 each.
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How do you make lighted glass blocks for Christmas decorations and gifts? Here are some tips and tricks from the ThriftyFun community. Post your own ideas here.
I need some step by step instructions on how to make a Christmas glass brick.
By Kristy from TX
I am making a lamp and need to know what you put on a glass block so that the x-mas lights won't show through. I am going to put some stickers on the outside, but they won't be enough.
By Terry from Seguin, TX