Polymer Clay Glass Ball Ornaments Do’s & Don’ts

Glass Ball Ornaments Do's & Don'tsVideo #321: A public service announcement that will save you some frustration…

The GREAT thing about the internet is all the free information you can find out there… The BAD thing about the internet is all the free information you can find out there!

Let me explain…

Later this week in the Vol-055 Members Tutorial, I will be teaching you all how to make a beautiful polymer glass ball ornament. During preparations, I came across another tutorial on this topic… it was free… but what I saw concerned me.

From experience, I can tell you that anyone who follows the instructions in that freebie tute, is going to experience a lot of frustration. Most of the information shared, was either incorrect or missing important (critical) details.

Now I am positive the person who wrote the tutorial was just trying to be generous and wanting to share. The problem is, there was a lack of knowledge of the materials being used. The project as taught, is pretty much guaranteed to fall apart.

So I decided to do this PSA (Public Service Announcement), in hopes of helping at least a few other clayers who happen to see it. Feel free to pass the link around to others you think may benefit from this video…

In the 6 Part Vol-055 Video Series (it’ll be posted later this week), all of you paid members will receive even more in-depth tips and tricks on how to make professional looking polymer clay Christmas ornaments.

By the way, if anyone has a polymer clay challenge you’d like me to address in an upcoming video vlog, do post your idea in the comments below. I’d love to help you find quicker and easier ways to bring up the professionalism in your polymer clay art.

Don’t forget to give these videos a Thumbs Up click at YouTube if you are enjoying them. The more Likes a video gets, the higher it rises in the searches. And that means even more people will be able to join in on this polymer clay journey of a lifetime.

Also, by subscribing to our YouTube Channel directly, you will receive notifications as soon as new videos are uploaded. To subscribe, click here… Glass Ball Ornaments Polymer Clay Do’s & Don’ts. The Subscribe Button is right near the top of that YouTube page.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

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Comments

  1. Can’t wait for the Tut. I never knew the plain clear balls had a coating. Some are iridescent so they obviously have something on them. A few years ago I tried to cover the entire glass ball and it ended up crushing as I pushed too hard while smoothing the clay. Lucky I did not cut my hands. The great thing about covered glass balls is you can make them for different events all year long.
    I have also wondered if some brands are thicker than other. You glass ball box looks like you did not buy them at a hobby store. Maybe the ones in the those stores are thinner.

  2. Now that was an amazing video loaded with good information. Explains why the few pieces I tried ended up in ruins, too, LOL! Fortunately I kept them for home, I would have died of embarrassment if I had given them as gifts!

    Love that mistletoe! Cannot wait for Friday….

  3. i watched your video on putting polymer clay to glass balls the one thing i found helpful was from lynnann swartzberg on a tutorial i bought from her she uses genesis heat set its usually for oils
    but it works great attaching metal findings to clay it might work on glass balls to it is very thick so you take out a small amount and work it with a palette knife and put your pieces together and bake on a low oven like 260 let it cool i hope this helps

  4. Cindy, Thank you for the very informative video on the glass ball ornament baking.
    I can see now that it could also smash and cause injury if not done carefully.
    I always like your way of giving information in a way that you are trying to convey as much information as possible and never in an attempt to be condecending. Excellent information.

    • Thank you Joy for saying that! I have never liked it when someone treated me in a condescending way, so I try my very best not to do that to anyone else either. No one can know everything and it is just mean to think you are better than someone because you know something they don’t. Any way, thank you. Glad the info was helpful for you!

  5. Wonderful timing Cindy :)

    Just picked up some clear glass balls last week
    Oh my is Cindy’s mind reading catching or what? LOL

    thanks for the heads up — off to finish my little snowmen you taught us last year

    and Totally looking forward to this years ornament !!

    btw Love your earrings!!!!!!

  6. You just saved the day before the tragedy! I have a glass ball sitting on my worktable while I think about design. This will be a first for me. I’m sure you just made it a success. Thank You!!

  7. Thanks Cindy.. this video couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time because I am working on my glass/polymer ornaments as we speak! Had no idea about the coating.

  8. Who KNEW ? This little video was an eye opener!. Can’t wait for the REAL tute Friday. I ddn’t know about the coating on the ornament. Of course that would make a BIG difference. Thanks so much for this info……………..Ornament in hand, clean and ready. Now BRING IT ON!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Saved my hinnie once again! Thank, Cindy. Indeed you are generous and conscientious and just a great person and artist!

  10. Thank you so much for your always helpful and clear concise explanations!!! I just think Cindy that you are the “Bomb” I’m so thrilled to be part of your Great Group! =)

  11. This was such an informative video Cindy and your tips were really great. I have never done a glass ball so am looking forward to the next tutorial. Your enthusiasum to put yourself out there and help us prevent making so many mistakes is just wonderful. You really do your homework. I know that if we hear if from Cindy first, it’s got to right! By the way I had my first pomegranet this last week and it was yummy! The juice stains like beet juice does but their coloring is so intense. I really like them cold. Also for any new members the search engine on this blog is terrific. I punched in mixing clay color recipes and it led me to Video 33 which I watched again now that I want to make some new color chips. I don’t believe there are any questions that can’t be answered using this wonderful search feature. If you can Google, you can run a search here!

  12. Wow! Great info! Even I should have known about being careful with glass heating and cooling too quickly. Having come from the “Glass Capital of the World”, Toledo, OH, my dad was a glass mold designer and often talked about how glass was made.
    I have thought about decorating glass balls but so far haven’t tried it. Glad I didn’t try it I would have been disappointed.
    Free tutes are to be viewed very carefully. Some are done without complete info or accuracy. Maybe even done so on purpose. I like to give more tips when I teach my jewelry classes because I want them to succeed. I know you, Cindy, really want your students to succeed because it shows in your videos. Great tips and accurate information is always present. Keep up the fab job!!

  13. I don’t think my comment got posted. Thanks for the info and tips Cindy. I just bought a whole lot of glass ball ornaments for beading and polymer clay. I did not realize there was a coating on them. Do you bake anything with glass in a cold oven and then let it preheat like maybe a glass jar covered with polymer clay?

    • Yes Cherie, pretty much the same rules apply when putting polymer clay on any glass piece.

      Make sure the glass is clean.

      Put thought into your design, so that the clay won’t fall off after baking, so you can avoid having to use glue if at all possible.

      Start cold and end cold when baking.

      The one exception I can think of is to not even try to bake a glass piece that was hollow but completely sealed, like say a glass fishing float. The hot air inside would expand, with no way to escape and would then break your piece.

      Other than that, most glass pieces should be no problem, if you follow these rules.

  14. So glad you took the time to issue this PSA Cindy. Everyone should view it at least twice ( as glass deserves respect).
    It can be strong as steel or as fragile as eggshells and the glass used to make these ornaments is pretty thin so treat it gently (as you would a new laid egg)

    Loved the bracelet and earrings using the mistletoe leaves and berries, so realistic. So will look forward to your mistletoe glass ball tutorial.

    In some parts of the UK the mistletoe is burnt on 12th night to ensure health and happiness for the household. It was also used in folk medicine many years ago although I do not know how, as it is toxic to humans.

    It can be eaten by birds and animals. Farmers would give a bunch to the cow that had the first calf in the new year as it is also said to insure fertility. Not sure if this applies to polymer clay mistletoe though:)…… cheers xx…………………..

  15. Once again you have saved the day. I also just purchased some glass ornaments and was going to give them a try with polymer clay. Thank goodness I saw this first. You saved me a lot of headaches and that is something I don’t need any extra help with. Looking forward to the tutorial on Friday. Thanks again so much for all you continue to do for us every day.
    Many Uuuugggs and will try my best to be back bright and early on Friday.

  16. BIG thumbs up Cindy. Thanks so much for this informative PSA! I’m really looking forward to the tutorial on glass balls (love them) and now I can be prepared.

  17. Hey everyone, I forgot to ask if anyone can recommend where
    to get glass ornaments for Cindys Tute? I have never worked with
    glass so would appreciate recommendations. I know there is a lot
    out there to choose from and I don’t want to get something that is not going to hold up afterwards. So please…..suggestions?

    • Hi Dixie Ann
      I got mine at Michael’s near their Christmas stuff
      I personally do not have any type of preferance – not sure
      that any of them are better (or even different) than any other

      I’m so looking forward to the new tutorial aren’t you :)

      I just wish that DH’s work Christmas party was Next week
      not tomorrow :/ —- oh well– next year:)

      • Hey Sherry, so sorry I didn’t have this tute ready before your Christmas party. They would have been some nice gifts! Next year maybe I will be thinking Christmas a little earlier?

        You know I preplan all my tutorials and had thought this one was going to be my November tute. But somehow when I got closer to the date I realized that I had messed up and filmed it for the December slot. Which meant I had to axe the December one I had planned since it made no sense to do another Christmas item in January. Oh well, at least I got this one out in time for many people to have it ready for Christmas. lol

        Enjoy the tutorial!

        • Cindy, you are such a sweetie!

          No need to say sorry (ever) I’ve been making your little snowmen for this year and their faces were so easy to make sweet looking – I tried doing some cute faced guys before I found you & … lets just say they never made it to the oven lol

          also, I love it that your tutorials don’t have an expiration date and next year or 10 years from now these mistletoe ornaments will still be awesome :)

      • Thanks Sherry, I tried Michaels, they were out of clear glass and didn’t want to take a chance on anything else. I tried Joannes, then the local drugstore, then Walmart and couldn’t find any. Maybe after Christmas I can find some on sale?

    • If you go up to the upper right part of this page, Create for Less has a sponsored link. They have a number of reasonably prices glass ornaments in several sizes.

  18. Someday I would love to see all of us clayers take on the issue of poor quality “clay machines” sold at Michael’s, AC Moore etc. I returned one seven times before I got one that actually worked. I’ve played with clay for more than 30(!) years and it bothers me to see students new to clay frsutrated by poor equipment. I discuss quality control regularly with Polyform, and they have mostly been responsive to my concerns/issues re inconsistent plasticizers. Not so AMACO and other machine manufacturers. I still recommend Atlas, Makins and some others (of course, the Dream Machine from Polymer Clay Express), but hate to see so many unhappy with conditioning clay because the cheal machines just don’t work. I’m not sure what we can do since pasta machines are such an esstial part of successful claying–and I’m not a Facebook/UTube afficiando so I can’t mount a public campaign. Any suggestions?? Thanks, Susan

    • I absolutely agree . I have an Amaco and Makins. The quality could be better specially on the Amaco. And the handles. I still have to get sugru to fix them. For the moment I used masking tape and it seems to be holding well. I just find the whole finish and quality of the material used for these machines should be better and stronger.

    • I hear you Susan!! The quality of the pasta machines available on the market today for polymer clay are no where near what I feel they could be or should be. I have been trying to get the manufacturers to listen to that for years now.

      I would love to send everyone to go buy the Dream Machine, since it has addressed the quality and cleaning issues associated with the machines that are out there, but it is too darn expensive! ($250 machine + $400 Motor)

      Way out of reach for most beginner and intermediate clayers, which is the bulk of the people who come here. You can buy more than 10 cheap machines for the price of the Dream Machine. And that’s without the motor. With the motor you could buy 30 cheap machines or 8 cheap machines with their motors. It really then become s a luxury item, rather than one that makes practical sense. That is why I don’t have one yet.

      Any way, maybe if we can band together as a community, we can put some pressure on the manufacturers, to come up with something more reasonable? Maybe in the new year we can put a campaign together. Would you be up for that?

      Anyone else?

      • I am with you guys. I think we should get up a petition for a better built clay machine and have everyone digitally sign it. If we can get several thousand signatures maybe they will listen. I don’t know how to accomplish that but the whole community could be involved and maybe the clay machine makers will realize just how far and wide the complaints are. I would be willing to pay a little more just to get a better built machine and one you can take apart and clean easily, a better way to hold the handle so it doesn’t fall out and a better way to attach it to your table or workbench!

    • To me, you cannot not substitute good workmanship when creating a metal product to bear use and stress, and that is costly.

      If the pasta machine does not work, return it immediately for store credit or refund. If we all do this, the cheaply manufactured non cleanable machines will be used for scrap metal, and they will upgrade the product.

      Bear in mind, this will cost more. But the benefits you get from being able to tackle any type of clay or bear the weight of any production commitment without fear more than justifies the increased outlay.

      Again, return those that do not work. Demand store credit. If we all do this over the next couple of months, I think the manufacturers will listen.

      For those of you starting out, being without a pasta machine for awhile is good. The hand rolling method will teach you things you need to know about clay, how it feels, when it is ready for the application you need, how colors mix, etc.

  19. Thanks Cindy, I had been wondering how to do the glass ornaments with polymer clay. I will be making a trip to Michael’s today. This is what we all love about you Cindy, you describe things from start to finish and you don’t leave steps out. There has been many times I will be watching a video on how to do something and they leave you hanging on a lot of the steps you should be doing. I really appreciate you being so thourough on all you tutorials.

  20. Thanks for the info re glass ornaments. I had a bad experience with glass ornaments a couple of years ago (broke in my hand while putting clay on) so have never tried working with them again.
    Armed with your good info and the most recent tute I will give it another try.

  21. YIPES! Bought some balls at Michael’s. They are NOT clear. Sort of a halo look. I soaked, rubbed, washed with soap, soaked some more. Held one under the hotest water I could stand. The covering did NOT COME OFF> The brand name is : Celebrate It. Michaels did not have any just clear. I will test it in the oven and see what happens. UGH………sigh. Will let you know..

    Anybody out there have this problem.? Would love to hear from you…………

    • I saw those also Patt and almost bought them but decided at the last minute not to. I kept hearing Cindys warning about clear glass!

    • Sat A.M. – put one ornament, not decorated, in the oven. It can do it’s things while I am gone to our Guild party. I’ll see what happened when I get back. Let you know!!!

      • Hi Patt, glad to hear you are testing the ball on it’s own, since you were worried about the finish of the globe. As long as the ball is indeed glass and not plastic, it doesn’t matter if there is no coating on it. It doesn’t NEED to be there. It just needs to be removed if it is there.

        Let us know what happens with your test bake. Your not leaving it unattended are you? Hope you just mean you are going to let it cool while you are gone.

        Have fun at your guild party! I was hoping to go to ours but I have too much work to get done before another Christmas event I need to go to tonight. This time of year is always so busy isn’t it!

        • Just returned from the Guild party -what a good time we had! And a nice surprise too -the glass ball came thru with flying colors. Baked it while I was gone – came out perfectly o.k. – plus the halo coloring was intact. Guess I am safe to cover these little beauties. So happy , can’t wait to actually cover them with the pretty Mistletoe . Thanks for waiting LOL

          Cindy, sorry you didn’t get to go to you party. Maybe next year. This has been an especially busy year, what with the new format and you great Road Trip. Things should settle down soon ! Sure hope you have another Road Trip – that was great fun……………….

          Elaine -you are a poet for sure. That poem has such feeling to it. Enjoyed it ……………. have you written a book yet ? You should, you know. WE WOULD ALL BUY IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!..

          Speaking of books – Cindy, when is YOUR book available ? It is on the top of my do buy list……………

  22. Thank You so much. I have 30 ornaments to make for gifts on Thursday. First timer with work on the glass balls. Actually the second, my first time was a year ago which ended up with an ornament that was a hot mess. While I had wiped everything down for oil I never even knew there was a plastic coating. Thank You for sharing.

  23. Hi Cindy:
    I’ve been a member for some time now and am still really enjoying your tutorials and videos.

    I did want to let you know that I have attempted a number of times to order items from the links you post via Amazon.com. I shop on line a lot and find it easier to get what I need that way.

    However, delivery to the part of Canada that I live in is not available in most cases from the Amazon.com vendors. I live in Ontario just outside of Toronto so am not remotely, remote. :-)

    I don’t know if you have any influence over the distributors that you advertise, but if you could let them know that there is business that they are not taking advantage of, I’m hoping that their policies might change.

    thanks for everything,
    Carol

  24. Hi Carol,

    Glad to hear you are still enjoying your membership. Thanks for letting us know.

    In regards to Amazon… they make us choose either the American .com site OR the Canadian .ca site… but not both. And since most of the members are US based, we ended up having to go with the .com option.

    However, you can manually search for product on the .ca amazon site. The selection is probably not near as good… but it’s worth a try.

  25. Hi Cindy,

    I stuck some butterfly and flower slices to clear Christmas ornaments and baked them, with liquid Sculpy to sick them on there. But that says it’s only for porous surfaces. Most look like they’re stuck, but I wonder if that will last.

    What would you use to stick cane slices to glass, before baking?

    Thanks.
    Betsy

    • Hi Betsy, sticking cane slices to glass with liquid Sculpey or other similar products will only be a temporary measure. It is best to either choose a design where the pieces are all connected to one another or glue on your pieces after they are baked, using a super glue or similar product. I suppose a product such as Lisa Pavelka’s Polybonder may work before baking, but I haven’t tested that myself.

  26. Hi, I wanted to ask you if these tips apply also when applying polymer clay to vases, jars, bathroom containers etc….. do I need to preheat the glassware for an hour, then let it cool? and then? Excuse my ignorance I am an absolute beginner!!

  27. Hi Cindy –
    I just watched that tutorial that you saw and objected to! I thought it sounded all wrong, but I came running here to check it out and you gave me the information I needed.

    I do have one question. I just bought some very small straight up and down glass vials to cover in polymer to make small amulets to be worn on a cord. Even keeping the polymer slices all stuck together might not cause them to stay on the straight glass cylinder. I have Lisa Pavelka’s Polybonder and will test to see whether it works to keep polymer stuck to glass. How long would you say I should observe it to see whether it works? A month? Or much longer?
    Anna

    • Hi Anna, I usually give things a few weeks to see how they hold up, before putting them out there. Your idea sounds neat! You might want to make a few and wear them around to see how they do. I think it should work, but you never know until you try. Thanks for commenting!

  28. When applying polymer clay to glass or metal, I put a very thin layer of white glue on the glass or metal and leave until it is tacky, then apply the canes or large pieces of polymer to it. I have things done a couple of years ago that are still sticking.

  29. HI Cindy,
    I make wreaths. As an alternative to the typical painted ornaments, I wanted to make my ornaments with polymer clay. I have several paper mache eggs for Easter that I want to completely cover with polymer clay swirls. O few others I want to cover with polymer clay and then put polymer clay flowers on them. I need to know what type of adhesive I should use to adhere the clay to the paper mache. Thank you for any help.

    • Hi Susan, it really depends on if you plan to bake the clay on the paper Mache piece or not. If you plan to bake on the piece you need to first do a test bake to see if it can handle going in the oven. If it is fine, then use some bake and bond or some liquid clay and spread that on before the clay. If you’re adding the piece after baking, then Weldbond or E6000 should work. Good luck!

      • Thank you Cindy, for the info.

        The paper Mache I purchased from Hobby Lobby has a plastic center so I was a bit concerned. I baked the paper mache egg at 265 for about 30 minutes just to be sure and it was fine.
        So I will now test with the clay. I do plan on covering the egg with clay so I ordered bake and bond. I plan on adding a few pieces on a wooden egg that I have painted. I will use E6000 for that.

        Hopefully that will work. I will let you know. I am really excited though.

        I really enjoyed the post on the glass ornament too. I sure was going to cover a glass ornament the “wrong” way, so thank you for saving me a lot of frustration. As a newbie, I would have probably gotten aggravated and may have not attempted clay again!!

        I am thrilled to be working with clay, there is just so much to learn! Thank you again for your help.

        Susan

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