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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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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
What are the "Glass Block Crafts"? They sound interesting, but I don't know what they are? Does someone have a picture of one? I might like to make one! Any help would be appreciated!
Linda from Matamoras, PA
I have made these bricks for about 2 years. They are great gifts and sell well too.
I know you asked this question several months ago but I have been ill and not able to get on line for some time now. I'll attempt to answer your question in case no one else has. Lighted glass blocks are exactly what the words say. It's a glass block typically used to build a "privacy wall" in your bathroom. A hole is drilled in the block to allow access for a string of lights to be inserted. Some people use pictures on their blocks, some use a variety of decorations and some just use ribbon or any combination of these. The results are an outstanding decoration! They make fabulous gifts. I don't know anyone who has received one that didn't truly treasure it. I'll attach some photos for you so you can get some ideas of what you might like to try to make. Have fun making these beautiful crafts. I can only upload one photo at a time so I'll send another response to you with a different block.
Here's another photo
I was recently at a fair where a vendor was using a printable, fill in template of snowmen where she added family names. Does anyone know where I could find such templates for projects? She then printed it out on a laminated sheet and applied it to a lighted glass block. It was perfect for a family gift. Thank you!
Here is one I use.
Size is 6.56x4.56
You can e-mail me at Craftycritter8 AT aol.com and I can send it directly to your e-mail
My email address is alberts739 AT comcast.net
Could you please email me the printable template?
Hi, could you please send me the template as well. Much appreciated.
I'm making the glass blocks with NFL teams on. Does any one know how to put the glitter on the blocks? I seen the blocks with glitter on, but I can't figure out how they done it. Also when you use the frost in which I have, how do you keep it from scratching off?
Connie from Windsor, Pa.
I think I have seen these also and it appears there are several ways to get the glitter to adhere to the glass. My suggestion is to that a small mirror or the glass out of an old picture frame you don't use anyway and practice on them first. Try different types of glues, like: spray glue, E-6000 glue, school glue or low temp hot glue. In addition, why does it have to be directly on the glass? Couldn't you cover a sheet of acetate or laminate with glue and glitter, let it dry, put your template for the school letter or logo on top and cut it our. Seems like it might be easier and maybe even less messy that way. Hope one of my suggestions helps. Send us a photo of your finished product and how you accomplished it. Good luck
I think the glitter is mixed into a clear-drying glue, then painted over the surfaces. I don't think the blocks can be pulled in halves and reassembled after painting this inside, so you may need to leave it as a surface decoration.
I would like to make with NFL teams on. What did you use to put letters or painting on? What does you finished project look like?
I would think glitter glue would work or spray glitter. I had heard we are not allowed to use team /licensed logos 'cause it's against the law. They watch craft shows and can charge a huge fine and take all your stuff. If you are selling it anyway. I just want to know where to find the blocks with holes already in them if you don't live in Hobby Lobby country. Sounds like a lot of people are doing this, will I sell any?
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
Glitter just plain has a tendency to occasionally fall off and be rubbed off. The only time I haven't had this happen, is when I buy fabric that already has the glitter on it.
I was given a beautiful glass block decoration, but how do you change the lights when they go out?
If it is what I am thinking of, there should be an opening on the bottom or on the back where a light cord with a small bulb goes in or else a string of Christmas lights. You should be able to pull this out and replace the bulb or string of lights.
I have about 70 old glass boxes. I want to make gifts from them. Does anyone have ideas on what to do with them without using lights? I have looked and searched everywhere I could! Lol... I do not want to go out and spend the time on drilling holes in them. I know I can still put whatever I want on them, but do you think it's OK not to do them with lights? I have a friend who used hers on her table and never plugs it in. So I need to know if this would be OK. Everywhere I have looked they all have lights, but I am covering the sides with lace and they will have a lot of items glued on them. I really don't want lights.
I spray the inside of the block with glitter-it and then add the glitter. However when I put in the lights, the glue and glitter is scraped off in some areas. Help.
By H. J. Beers
I have a couple ideas to help. The first that comes to mind is to use a clear spray paint. Find a way to hold that block upside down (ask a Freind or make a contraption) then take your spray can into the glass block and put a clear coat to help it adhere. If fitting a hand and the paint can is an issue then you could try using a glue that's transparent and try mixing it with glitter. A third idea is to buy an almost clear but glittery spray paint. It's very opaque but does have glitter as well but it's very fine specs.
Hope these help
Where can I buy the 3x3 glass blocks for crafts? (Betty referred to them in postings dated 10/17/2007)
Becky from California
I am making the decorated glass blocks. How do you make the bows on them, or do people usually buy them pre-made? Can anyone let me know! I want to start making ASAP!
Carrie from Canada
Can I use regular stickers, letters, sports decals, etc. that you would use for scrapbooking on a lighted glass block? Will they stay on with the heat from the lights?
By Dorthy K.
I want to make the glass blocks that are decorated. I am looking to make several for my family members. Can you tell me the most inexpensive place to purchase?
By Isis from Tampa, FL