I’m not sure if this will actually become a terrarium (it might end up being a candle holder centerpiece now that I’m seeing it come together and writing this post) but here’s an effort in using extra glass panes to create something different for the home.
I’ve collected picture frames for as long as I can remember, but over time, the frames have broken, been ignored, and retired, leaving me with lots (really, lots) of glass panes in a variety of sizes. My idea was to create a cozy glass home for my favorite mosses and succulents, and as I began to build it, a small glass house formed. I excitedly made two small purchases for this project: 1) a glass cutter, something I’ve been wanting and could probably have used on several occasions already and 2) silicon gel, which is basically a clear, flexible glue that’s not messy and very easy to work with.
I didn’t have a blueprint; I started by making walls using 5×7-inch pieces of glass, siliconing a clean seal at the edges. That framework had solidified within about an hour, and was completely dry within 12. For the “cap” or “top” or “roof” I considered a few different methods, and in the end, decided to cut several small strips of glass; this was the first cutting that I actually had to do, and it was easier than I expected it to be. With a few layers of paper or cushiony fabric beneath the pane you want to cut (I used a rag), you use the tool to score the surface of the glass in a straight line, and then with one side of the scored surface hanging over the table, you just tap the overhanging glass and it snaps apart cleanly along the scored line (most times). I was 90% accurate, which I think is pretty good for my first project like this.
I layered the strips and glued them in place to serve as a shingled roof. One of the only challenges was gluing the two shingled pieces (which had dried nicely) into a peak, and balancing them to dry at the correct pitch. I used a grapefruit (hey, it was on the table) and it seemed to work well.
Overall thought: The silicone was a little clumpy in some places – it wasn’t difficult to work with, but I’m clearly not a pro at this stuff. Girl needs practice.
When it came to cutting some triangular support to hold the “roof” at the correct pitch, I did my damnedest to measure and cut pieces of glass to perfectly match the preferred pitch and the base of the structure itself; while both triangles ended up being identical in size, the placement of them by moi ended up being imperfect, and the top roof and bottom framework didn’t fit together perfectly (it felt like I made a poofy shirt to go with my skinny jeans).
The easiest fix I could come up with was to change the dimentions of the base to match. I shortened two of the 5×7’s so now they’re about 5×5, and re-siliconed the structure. The impromptu glass cutting worked better than I planned (I was sure I’d shatter the whole thing since I was basically glass trimming a cube)… and the roof now sits on the frame like a hat that (almost) fits perfectly.
If anyone has seen this done really well (DIY-style, not a Pottery Barn-style [I know they could manufacture better]), please send along the source info; I’d love to see someone else’s tips. If you end up trying this project yourself, please do send along your photos or post them to facebook.com/merrypad!