Top 10 Up-cycling Ideas for Your Broken Vintage Glass or Pottery

Although it’s heart breaking when you accidentally knock that precious piece of Grandma’s old depression glass off the counter, all is not lost. You can still enjoy having that gem in your daily life. If you’re a creative or artistic person, the sky is the limit in terms of things you can do with those glorious shards of glass. The following is a list of my favorite ideas for getting the most out of those broken vintage dishes:

1)     Using some grout and glue or tile adhesive that you’ve picked up at your local craft store, you could create a glass mosaic on top of an old table that’s seen better days.

2)     Using that same grout and glue, you could refresh an old serving tray to jazz up your dining room or coffee table.

3)     Again with the grout and glue, you could create a set of mosaic coasters. This would be a great project to do with the kids. Just make sure they’re careful with the broken glass. Some gloves might help.

4)     With a little silicone you could cover an old vase with the glass shards and sit it on your window sill. The sunlight shining through it will create a beautiful effect. Add some flowers and you have yourself a nice handmade gift for someone special.

5)     With some cement and a few old cake pans you could make stepping stones for the garden. Careful not to leave any sharp edges exposed.

6)     Using some clear silicone to adhere the broken glass pieces, cover some large glass jars or canisters and use them in the kitchen or bathroom to store bath salts or cotton balls or pretty much anything…

7)     Large pieces could be used for creating up-cycled stained glass windows. If you are not this daring or lack the necessary tools for this DIY you could contact your local Art Center or Stain Glass Guild and have a local artist create something for you.

8)     A pendant made from old patterned glass makes a very unique piece of jewelry. There are artisans who do this very thing. You may even be able to strike a deal with someone to buy your broken glass from you or even create a piece for you in trade. Lora from Divine Spirit Creations has a shop on Etsy where she sells the funkiest pieces of jewelry from broken Pyrex, Jadeite, Milk Glass….you name it…Check her out here www.etsy.com/ca/shop/DivineSpiritCreation.

Here are some examples of her work:

Friendship Birds Pendant

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I LOVE IT! She’s the ultimate Up-Cycler.

9)     A glass mosaic picture frame made from an old frame that you found at a garage sale or thrift shop is a great project and would make a lovely handmade gift for someone.

10)     If you have a rock tumbler you could create your own Sea Glass…

If you’re looking for supplies for any of these projects, take a look on Amazon.com. They have a whole section dedicated to Mosaic Making Supplies. Here are some of the things you might need:

Of course there are so many more things you could do. The only limited by your imagination. Have fun making the most of that broken glass!

An Introduction to Jadeite Collecting

Welcome to my first blog post. It only makes sense for me to start this blog by talking about my favorite vintage glass, Jadeite or Jadite or Jade-ite depending on the manufacturer. Jadeite was produced by many different glass companies. Anchor Hocking’s Fire King, McKee, Jeannette, Fitzgerald, Fenton, and Westmoreland each had their own versions of this lovely green milk glass….I even have a “Green Custard Glass Spooner” from the 1890’s by Tarentum Glass.  Technically it is not Jadeite but very close!

Thanks to Martha Stewart there was a revival of the Jadeite love in the 1990’s. Companies like Mosser, Fenton and L.E. Smith began to make their own lines of the glass, and that drove the popularity and the price up of Jadeite in general. For example, this vintage looking cake stand made by Mosser is currently selling on Amazon for under $50:

You can also find new lines of Fire King 2000 pieces as well as a line from Cracker Barrel and Chinese reproductions that were or are still being sold in department stores. Although some of these newer pieces are still valuable (such as an L.E. Smith hobnail cake stand), most of the newer pieces are not as desirable, and therefore not as valuable as Jadeite pieces that were made in the 1930s or 1940s.

To the new collector this can be very overwhelming and confusing. Some collectors will strictly collect vintage pieces while others don’t really care who made it or when the glass came to be as long as it looks good in their display. If you are interested in collecting this beautiful pistachio green glass then I suggest you do your research first and make sure that you know what you are buying. Depending on where you can find Jadeite, you can expect to spend anywhere from .50 cents at a yard sale for a mug to $5000 for a ball jug at auction. It can get really crazy.

I once found this beaded 8 inch bowl at a thrift store.

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I paid $20 for it, took it home, and sold it the next day on eBay for $500. It really helps to know the rare pieces so you know what to pick up at that yard sale this weekend.

When at a yard sale, flea market or antique shop and you spot a piece of Jadeite; pick it up and run your hands over the whole piece to check for chips. One small chip can significantly reduce the value. Hold it up to the light and look for cracks. Really give it a good rub with your hands (sometimes vendors at markets oil their vintage glass to hide dullness). Flip that bad boy over and look for a manufacturer stamp or sticker. If you do not find one don’t panic. It doesn’t mean it’s not vintage or valuable. I have the odd vintage Fire King piece that doesn’t have a stamp. These stamps and or stickers will help you to identify who made the glass and when. Different fonts in the printing were used in different decades and particular slants and subtleties in patterns will tell you if it is a reproduction.

This is an example of an unmarked vintage Jeannette bud vase:

Jeannette ribbed Jadeite vase

This an example of a marked vintage Fire King Jane Ray sugar bowl:

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This is an example of another Fire King piece. This time an unmarked beaded bowl:

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A quick Google search can go a long way to identify whether it’s old or new. I always like to have my phone with me to check  for any info if I am unsure. There are also a lot of Facebook groups dedicated to collecting Jadeite. They are always happy to answer collector questions.

If you’re serious about collecting Jadeite, or just want to find more detailed information about it, I recommend getting this book by Joe Keller and David Ross. It’s available on Amazon and contains beautifully detailed photos, information about the different manufacturers, as well as value estimates. It also helps you determine the difference between a vintage piece of Jadeite and a reproduction. It’s my Jadeite Bible. Click here or the link below if you’re interested in ordering this book.