(click the link to see photos)
Sometimes what you need isn’t a new project, but a new process, something that will spark your own creative juices (Can you spark juice? Hmmm…) For instance, you probably have a dozen different ways to use marbles, both the traditional spheres and the newer flat ones, but have you ever wondered if there were a way to make your marbles look a little different? If they did, how would that change projects you have in mind?
Here’s a way to do just that, and it’s really easy. We’re going to fry them!
To begin, select the marbles you want to use. I just pulled out a pretty random handful for the purposes of demonstration; you might have specific colors in mind. This process will craze the glass, so don’t use marbles that are opaque, because the crazing is all on the inside, and you won’t see it. We’re also going to get the marbles really hot, so the painted ones are probably not going to work, either. You want plain glass, although there’s nothing to say you can’t use the cat’s eye style.
Now put them in a skillet or pan, one that’s large enough to lay them all out flat. We’re not literally frying them, so don’t put in any oil! (This is the method for flat marbles; I’ll get to the round ones in a bit.) Turn the burner on under the pan and pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea, and relax for ten minutes or so while the marbles get really hot. Don’t go too far away; you wouldn’t want to melt the pan!
When the marbles are good and hot, fill a bowl with ice water, and then gently slide the marbles in. You’ll hear them sizzling and popping in the water. Don’t worry; that’s what they’re supposed to do.
When they’ve cooled to the touch, take them out of the water. You’re done!
As you can see, they have a nice internal pattern now, which you can’t feel, and they’re not quite so see-through, which may be helpful if you want to obscure a flaw or graphic on the item they’ll be applied to.
Now, as mentioned, you’ll use a slightly different method for the spherical marbles, since they really touch the surface of a pan at just a single point and are too hard to heat that way. Put them in an oven-proof dish or pan, and slip them into an oven preheated to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake 20 minutes, and then slide them into ice water, just the way you did the others. Same sizzle, same crackle!
Are you getting ideas yet? Here’s one more: You can do this with those big glass telephone pole resisters. We used to do that and turn them into quite elegant candlesticks!