This EASY glass totem tutorial is just what you've been looking for. I have lots of tips at the bottom of this post, things I've learned along the way from making countless glass totems!
Are you looking for a way to repurpose all that old, vintage glassware you have around the house?
True trash to treasure people fall into 2 categories. Those of us who have never made a totem, and those of us who have made tons of totems. They are sort of like potato chips... betcha can't make just ONE! Over the winter, I shopped and shopped for glassware. I couldn't stop! I tried really hard to never pay more that 50 cents for any one piece. My guest room became my totem workshop!
Vintage Glassware for Garden Totem
I think making these totems is the closest I've ever come to being artistic. It is so much fun to stack the pieces and see what works well together. I really like the colored pieces of glass, however they can be a little more pricey.
Vary Colors in your Glass Totem
I really like tucking pieces inside of other pieces. In the top of this one is a cute little cherub.
I love this green one. My friend Cathy has this one in her yard.
Glass Totem for Flower Garden
In this picture, the purple vase totem is sitting in front of one of my favorite rose bushes. I name my rose bushes in honor of people. This one was a gift from one of my former students, so I call her Skylar. (if you look closely, you can see that the bottom vase has another vase inside of it)
This photo shows the panda totem by my Endless Summer hydrangea.
Yes, that is some sort of depression glass on top. I got it really cheap, and I thought it looked really pretty on this with the red vase. My friend Cathy has this one in her yard also.
This is my "bluebird of happiness" totem. 🙂 The bottom vase of this piece is a beautiful candle holder that one of my former students gave me. Part of it got broken, but I held on to it because it was so pretty. When I started putting pieces together for my totem, I knew it belonged with these other pieces.
Glass Totem Tutorial Tips
- thicker pieces of glassware work best
- stemware is the most fragile. (I've only had one totem break, it was knocked over onto a driveway on a very windy day by a child's tent that being blown by the wind)
- plates should be place upside down so they don't hold water
- a plate should be the base of your project. (I bury my plate a little to help steady my totems)
- if you have a very large vase, try placing a smaller vase inside
- a plate may be placed on top for a bird feeder (however be careful because if the squirrels jump or climb on it, they can knock it over)
- I recommend that you move your totem to a protected area during the winter or freezing weather.
- It's best to wash and dry all your glassware very well. If it is extremely humid, or if your glassware is not totally dry, moisture will build up inside.
- I used silicone II for doors and windows. It comes in a tube that you have to use a caulk gun with. After you apply the caulk to join 2 pieces, release the pressure on your gun, and your caulk will not ooze out.
- after gluing 2 pieces together, you can use a rag or a paper towel to wipe off excess caulk.
- I glued in sets of 2, I then waited for those to dry and joined 2 sets of 2 together at a time.
- use a level to make sure you don't end up with any leaning towers. 🙂
- if you do end up with a leaning tower, you can carefully use an exacto knife to undo the silicone. Please remember a leaning tower is better than a trip to the emergency room!
What will you make?
I hope you learned something from my glass totem tutorial tips!
Now, get out there and buy some glassware, dig through your cabinets and garages. BUT, don't say I didn't warn you. This is highly addictive! Have fun creating!
I have done some more totems-you can see them in my post Repurposed Glassware Totems & More.
Gail Wilson is the author and mastermind behind My Repurposed Life. She is obsessed with finding potential in unexpected places and believes that with a little hard work and imagination, any old thing can be made useful again, including herself!
Gail reinvented herself during a midlife crisis and has found purpose again. She hopes you will find new ideas for old things and pick up a few tools along the way.