So the glass tile pendants are the latest craze and I can see why. They are so beautiful! I researched how to make them and after a botched first try, I incorporated hints from several websites and made my first successful batch of DIY Personalized Glass Tile Pendants! I have to tell you, they turned out way cuter than I expected! This post is long and detailed. I can’t help it, it’s the nurse in me! I tend to over-educate because I want to make sure there is very few, “what now?” questions! So if it is too long of a read, by all means go to another blog with less complete directions, lol. I can tell you that my first batch was awful and so I am incorporating what I have learned in the process of making these in hopes you avoid the same errors. I know this is a craft project that I will make more of because the possibilities are endless! So let’s get started…
Glass tiles (with rounded edges)
Aleene’s Paper Glaze adhesive
Scrapbook Paper or a picture
Crimps (either ribbon or cord crimps)
So let’s talk about the supplies a bit. You are looking for glass tiles with rounded edges. You can find this everywhere online: eBay (where I bought mine), craft suppliers and even Etsy. They come in rectangular shapes, square shapes and round shapes. All of these shapes come in different sizes. I used glass tiles that were rectangular and 1×2″ in size. Some glass tiles have a rough bottom and that’s ok because the adhesive gets into the crevices and makes it all smooth. Scrapbook paper nowadays comes in amazing colors and patterns. You certainly can find a pattern you like and use a portion of it to make a pendant. You don’t have to add text like I did. I found the red and white patterned scrapbook paper at Hobby Lobby and it was on sale for 40% off (making the paper like 30 cents each)! It was a 14″ square sheet so I had to cut it down to 8.5×11 so it would fit in my printer. You certainly can use photos as well whether they are printed from your computer or professionally printed. The thickness of the paper is important too. The scrapbook paper I used was normal grade copy paper so not thin but not thick. I do think something just a little thicker would be better. I will explain why later. So any type of paper or photo paper will work. If the paper is really thick though, you may want to sand down the edges (just use a normal emery board for your nails) after you have glued the paper to the glass. You will also need Aleene’s Paper Glaze. It was kind of funny because the folks at Hobby Lobby had no idea what I was talking about and the folks at Michael’s said they didn’t carry it. Well, turns out Michael’s does carry it and their staff isn’t fully up-to-date on their products, lol. I found it in the adhesives area at Michael’s sitting on a shelf, lol. It wasn’t too expensive, it was around $5.00. You will need sturdy bails to turn your glass tiles into pendants. Pay attention to the size of the bail opening. Will whatever you use as the necklace itself fit through the bail opening? I chose to use sheer ribbon because it just added the right amount of elegance to the glass tile. You will need a strong adhesive to glue the bail to your pendant. I used E6000 but any strong adhesive will work. I chose to use crimps, jump rings and lobster clasps to close the necklace. You can use anything you want but I thought this too added to the elegance. I have also seen where folks tied their ribbon into a bow but I know my bow would be crooked and I didn’t want all that ribbon behind my neck bugging me. The ribbon crimps were new to me and are pretty self-explanatory (they are the claw looking crimps in the picture). They worked but I will be honest, I liked the cord crimps better. I just twisted the ribbon tight and crimped closed the cord crimp. I cut the excess ribbon off near the hole openings. Use what you are comfortable with. I should mention that you could use Mod Podge to adhere the paper to the glass tile. As hard as I try to create a smooth even layer with Mod Podge, it just doesn’t happen with me, lol. The Paper Glaze reminded me of Royal Icing. It is thin and watery. It also dries crystal clear. I really preferred the Paper Glaze for this project.
You can clearly omit this part if you aren’t wanting to add text to your pendant. I wanted to add words in different fonts and sizes in a cross-word pattern to create my pendant. As you can see, one of the designs says “Proud Cruiser Mom 17”. My son plays football for the GMHS Cruisers and 17 is his jersey number. To add text, I used Microsoft Publisher to create my design (using the “A” design option found in the left tool bar ~ see the arrow). I chose different fonts and sizes. I used the marked margins in the program to make sure my design would fit in a 1×2″ rectangle. I then cut my scrapbook paper down to 8.5×11 size and printed the designs directly on to the paper. As you can see, from one sheet of scrapbook paper you can make a bunch of pendants!
Next, cover your work surface with wax paper! This is a must! Or you will end up with a sticky mess! Some websites say to cut the paper to fit the glass first and then glue the paper to the glass. I tried this and the paper was either too big or too small and of course my lines weren’t straight, lol. I instead cut the paper out bigger than the glass tile.
Using the Aleene’s Paper Glaze, apply a thin layer of glue down the center of the backside of the tile. Center your tile over your design and firmly press down from the center out to the edges. You will be able to see the glue smear across the glass and paper. Make sure all of the paper adheres to the glass. You may have a small amount of glue ooze out, that’s ok. I suggest using slightly less glue than the picture above. Next, allow to dry for at least 2 hours. Yep, the waiting part sucks and there’s a couple more times you will have to wait.
After your paper is adhered to the tile and the glue is mostly dry, you can go to the next step. Using your Xacto Knife, cut out the tiles from the excess paper. You will want to do this at an angle because the glass is rounded. If you attempt to put your blade straight up and down, you will end up with lines that aren’t straight and the paper will hang over the glass edge. Any of the glue that oozed out of the edges will be cut away in this step.
Now is when you will seal the back. With the Paper Glaze, apply a layer around the edge. Some sites say to use your finger to smear the glue to seal the edges of the paper. I tried this at first and well, this is where the whole batch was screwed up. I had glue everywhere! So here’s the good news and bad news. Bad news first, your glass pendant is NOT waterproof. So if you are wearing your necklace, avoid getting it wet! I am guessing if Mod Podge is used at this step then it would create a tighter seal but again, the Paper Glaze makes the back of the necklace so much smoother. Good news . . . since it isn’t waterproof, I just ran warm water over the tiles for a few seconds. The paper and all the glue mess washed right off without soap! So I ended up with blank glass tiles and started all over. On my second batch, I used Q-tips. I applied a bead of Paper Glaze around the edge. I then used one end of the Q-tip to smear the glue on the edge of the paper to create a good seal between the paper edge and the glass. I then flipped the Q-tip over and with the other side, I stood it straight up and down along the glass edge. I ran the Q-tip around the glass tile edge keeping it perpendicular to the glass and wiped off any excess glue onto the Q-tip cotton end. Next, take the Paper Glaze and “color” in the glue over all of the back paper in short strokes back and forth. Coat all of the paper. You want to create a thick, even layer of glue. When I used the Q-tip to seal the paper, it created a border of sorts and the glue didn’t drip over the edge. Keep in mind I didn’t push my luck and press the glue bottle hard around the edges so that I could avoid spills over the edge. Now I can explain why thicker paper is better. When I was holding down the glass tile in the middle while applying a bead of glue around the edges, my fingernail tore the paper on one pendant because of the pressure I was applying! Just be careful because once your paper is soaked with glue (I’m talking before you add the thick layer of Paper Glaze) the paper fibers are weakened and you easily can tear it with a fingernail or even the hard cardboard part of a Q-tip. Now here’s the really long waiting part . . . put your glass tiles in a safe place and allow to dry for 24 hours. Yep, 24 hours. Don’t stick your finger in it anytime during that 24 hours to see if it is dry. You will only create an indent and leave a fingerprint that isn’t fixable. It will ruin the pendant (trust me, I know this from experience). I tried adding more glue to fill the indent but since the original glue added to the back had already began to dry, the new glue I added just created a puddle on top of the old glue. It wasn’t pretty.
After your back is completely dry, it is time to apply the bails. It just takes a tiny dab of E6000 to the bail and then gently push the bail to the back of pendant making sure it is centered on the glass tile. As you can see in the picture, I put a little too much glue and it oozed out around the edge of the bail. I was okay with that because it does dry clear. This is the last “waiting” period. Allow your E6000 to set up. It took about 2 hours and then I was good to go on to the next step.
Cut your ribbon to size. Apply the crimps to the edge of your ribbon. If using ribbon crimps, you will want to fold the ribbon over two times and then crimp over the folded ribbon using your jewelry pliers. If using cord crimps, twist your ribbon and crimp over the twisted ribbon using your jewelry pliers. Add your jump rings and lobster clasp. I will tell you that most mega packs of jump rings are poor in quality. I find using thicker jump rings that are “joined” (meaning not open) work the best. I use pliers to cut open the ring and gently twist it open. With jump rings, you don’t pull apart the circle, instead, you twist one part forward and the other part backwards. You are just opening the ring without losing the circular form of the ring. I added the crimp and the clasp to the jump ring. Then gently twist the jump ring back to where it is a complete circle again. I find it to be stronger when you use jump rings (also called “O” rings) that were closed and then cut open. Slide your pendant onto your ribbon and tadah, you just made the cutest pendant ever!
I am definitely making this again and will use designer scrapbook paper without adding words to make elegant pendants. I also plan on making one with a photo of my kiddies. When I complete these, I will add the pictures to this post. Hope you enjoyed this DIY Personalized Glass Tile Pendants tutorial!
UPDATE: I made another set out of photo paper. It looked fantastic until the photo peeled right off the glass! So too thick of paper matters! You need the Paper Glaze to soak into the paper fibers to create that bond throughout! So maybe thinner (not tissue paper thin, but normal copy paper thin) is really the best paper to use!
UPDATE 2: My beautiful niece plays volleyball for Licking Heights High School. She called and asked if I could make the glass pendants for the 5 senior volleyball players as a gift from the team. I was honored to be asked and thought they turned out pretty nice too! What I did learn is that when you personalize the pendant with printed designs you create with your computer that using your home printer (which is most likely an inkjet printer) doesn’t work well. Since the paper glaze is watery, it ended up smearing the printer ink creating awful blobs. I saved my design to a flash drive and took it to the nearest Kinko’s. I handed them the designer paper and asked them to print my design onto it using their laser printer. They were able to upload my file from my flash drive and printed it lickity split. Inkjet printers use liquid ink sprayed through microscopic nozzles onto the paper, and laser printers use a toner cartridge (filled with fine powder) and a heated fuser. I ran home eager to try the new printed paper, ok, I didn’t run. I walked really slowly thanks to my PH but you get the point about my excitement and anticipation. The printed design (meaning the words and numbers) printed perfectly on my yellow lined scrapbook paper. When I applied the Paper Glaze, it didn’t smear! So that was the trick. I will say though that the Cruiser pendants above were made from my home printer (an inkjet) and didn’t run? Maybe because the black holds up better? The Licking Heights pendants had maroon colored ink? Either way, save yourself the trouble and if you are printing words on designer scrapbook paper, leave it to the professionals at Kinko’s. It was definitely worth the 63 cents for one full-page copy of my designs.