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Home Projects: Sea-Glass Mirror Surround

Home Projects: Sea-Glass Mirror Surround
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PROJECT: Sea-Glass Mirror Surround

Beachlovers Holly Rader and Carol Smith-Sloan are longtime friends who share a passion for beach glass. Recently they’ve started transforming their collections of those ocean-tumbled fragments into art.

They’ve adorned mirrors, picture frames, and mantels with colorful shards — but these days they’re concentrating on larger installations, such as the mirror surround they created in the powder room at Holly’s summer home in Chatham, Massachusetts.


Holly and Carol sifted through their sea glass, collected on expeditions to Spectacle Island, located in the waters between Boston and their hometown of Hingham, Massachusetts. Their design captures the spirit of the sea. “We wanted a natural look,” explains Carol, “one that would suggest that the waves had tumbled and tossed these particular pieces right into our mosaic.”

They built “troughs” for either side of the mirror with the same two-inch crown molding used elsewhere in the room. Next, they mixed grout in a plastic bucket. They decided to keep the grout a natural shade, which resembles sand in both color and texture.

Using a large sponge and a putty knife, Holly and Carol set the grout inside the trough. Then they spread solvent-free tile adhesive onto each piece of glass and pushed it firmly into the grout. Holly’s husband and three daughters affixed their favorite pieces; the mosaic became a family effort. Overnight their masterpiece dried; they sprayed tile sealant across the entire surround in the morning.


About $100 (if the glass is free), including grout, adhesive, sealant, and molding (16 feet of 2-inch pine crown molding runs about $30). Replicated or artificially tumbled sea glass may be purchased online or in craft stores for about $10 a pound. Holly and Carol say there are countless jars of genuine sea glass out there collecting dust: Ask around among your friends and look for glass at flea markets.


“I love that Carol and I did it together,” Holly says. “It reminds me of the fun we have going out to the island to collect our treasures.”


Visit (or call 781-789-0677) for information on Holly and Carol’s sea-glass mosaic artwork.

Updated Friday, June 6th, 2008

6 Responses to Home Projects: Sea-Glass Mirror Surround

  1. Mary Hardwick August 4, 2008 at 12:38 pm #

    We found spectacle island last fall and had a wonderful afternoon searching for fun pieces of sea glass! This past June we brought a few friends to visit the island bringing a picnic lunch along. As we walked the beach we were met by several rangers who frowned upon our removal of “sea glass/pottery artifacts” off the beach. We were reminded these artifacts belong to the federal goverment! As a former “dump site” we were amused that sea glass is now belongs to the goverment! What next! Mary Hardwick

  2. Paul Martinello August 19, 2008 at 7:52 pm #

    Outstanding Craftmanship on this Sea Glass Mirror. If you are ever interested in Sea Glass Jewelry from Maine, take a peek at our Website: for Exclusive Designs. Christine

  3. Susan Fischer August 28, 2009 at 1:07 pm #

    Wow, rangers frowned on removal of sea glass! How absurd! I love sea glass too, but we all know it’s sanded down glass bottle garbage. We’re all just helping clean up the beach!

  4. Elizabeth Ulnits September 11, 2009 at 12:38 pm #

    what does sea glass look like – i do not think i have ever seen any????

  5. Gary de Blois August 12, 2010 at 12:45 pm #

    Yup! Sea glass on Spectacle is now considered “a natural resource” by the US gov’t. This is an interesting phenomenon as more and more historic coastal dumps around the country are being taken over by the National Parks Service. They are beginning to understand that sea glass attracts tourists ( i.e. $$$ ) and thus has to be protected.
    Sea Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, CA is another one of these locations.
    If you want to see more about the sea glass at Spectacle and Fort Bragg, and sea glass in general, visit
    — Gary

  6. Jody May 24, 2013 at 9:00 pm #

    I cute this picture out of Yankee magazine when it was published, kept it in a folder long enough to think I’d never actually make my own or contact these artists to make me one. Now, a year later, the master bathroom renovation is becoming a reality and I’ve been searching for this bathroom mirror. And here it is! YEAH! Thank you!

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