tumbling glass

by Patty

Can I tumble glass pieces in my tumbler with stainless steel shot? Will the edges soften?

Stacy's Answer:

Hi Patti!

I don't use the tumbler for tumbling glass....just metal stuff. I have tumbled jewelry with annealed lampwork which tumbled just fine, but the glass was unaltered.

I had asked a lampwork artist whose beads had a really cool, aged beach-glass finish how she did it - I wanted to duplicate the look on some shiny lampwork I had and I assumed it was etched forever. But she said she used large 1/4 inch shot to tumble the boro-glass lampwork for a few days to create that frosted, time-worn old look. This technique does round edges and creates a look like old beach glass. I do not think it's possible to only round the edges without also altering the other areas of the glass using her technique. I don't know if the glass is tumbled dry or with water. This artist also didn't elaborate, so if I really wanted to duplicate it, experimentation would probably cough-up the answer. I haven't tried it yet.

The lampwork beads I've purchased that were tumbled this way often have small - or not-so-small - nicks on the surface too. Perhaps a lampworking/glass site can better direct you for the most effective way to soften edges of glass without also damaging said glass unless a reader here knows the answer?

Click here to post comments

Return to Tumble Polishing Q & A.