Thursday, December 6, 2012

Seaglass + Recycled Bottles = Plastic Fantastic Curtains

Since it is time to redo my postage-stamp size kitchen, I realized I needed to scrap my old seaglass curtains (last seen here, in Rubble Decor).

Seaglass curtain

In the past, I've played around with both seaglass and using pockets in curtains (see Window Fantasies and Window Fantasy Close-ups).

Detail from bedroom window fantasy curtain: broken auto tail light and scraps of broken jewelry

All of these experiments failed in one critical sense. What I was envisioning was a sort of faux stained glass effect, created by light streaming through the seaglass to form a play of colored light on the walls. Didn't happen. When you look at the curtains, it is pleasing to see the glass illuminated from behind and the curtains themselves can be very colorful, but light doesn't go through the glass in a way that creates anything whatsoever on interior walls.

I tried to solve the problem when playing with new dining room curtains by using photo filters (see Photo Filter Window Treatment).

Photo filter window treatment

This worked in terms of creating shifting patches of colored interior light, and I do enjoy the dance of purple light on the hardwood floors in the morning, but I wasn't ready to abandon the pocket approach or seaglass entirely.

 I created new kitchen curtains using cheap Ikea white mesh curtains (about $10 a pair). After trimming them for length, I had plenty of yardage left over to use for creating pockets. This time I decided to go with all green seaglass and, as per the definition of insanity, after trying the same thing yet again I got the exact same result: zero play of light on the interior walls. What to do? A serendipitous bout of stomach flu and the purchase of a couple of bottles of ginger ale solved the problem. At one point in a bleary haze I noticed how the light was coming through the bottle, held the bottle up to the sunlight, and voila - a patch of green light on the wall. Instead of abandoning the seaglass, which still looks nice when viewing the curtains from the inside looking out, I simply added scraps of green plastic from the ginger ale bottles.

Wash bottle and remove label

Cut plastic into organic shapes (not strictly necessary but these shapes pair nicely with the seaglass)

Plastic has been added to pockets in lower half of curtain only at this point

Combining plastic and glass

And the end effect - very magical mornings in which I am mesmerized by the play of light on the walls while I wait for my coffee water to boil.

Light on wall


  1. Neat idea and love the shadows on the wall! a bonus!

  2. This is brilliant - I shared it on the Sea Beans facebook page
    Love it!

  3. Glad you like the idea - I'm really enjoying the end result. Every morning is a surprise as the light shifts.

  4. Brilliant, wonderful work of art! It's very simple but it's beautiful. Thanks for sharing your craft.


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