Sea Glass Foraging on the Isle of Man

Collect Sea Glass for Craft Projects

When storms lash the shores of the Isle of Man the first thing I think of is the sea glass that might have been uncovered. You can comb your way across a beach one day and find nothing then after a storm the sand and pebbles can reveal brightly coloured shards of softened glass. It makes you wonder what else is hidden under the beach.

Sea Glass Foraging on the Isle of Man
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I like hunting for sea glass just because it’s so much fun to scour the beach looking for it. That in itself is a good enough reason to go but sea glass is the perfect material for beautiful diy projects like these ones on Pinterest.

Sea Glass Foraging on the Isle of Man: Piles of brightly coloured sea glass, 19th century pottery, and Louis the cat
Piles of brightly coloured sea glass, 19th century pottery, and Louis the cat

Josh has been under the weather for the past week so I thought some fresh sea air would do him good. We drove to a beach I’ve found glass at before and created a challenge – whoever finds the most sea glass wins. There’s nothing like a little competition to perk a guy up. He even felt well enough to cheat by putting a big stone in his bag, making his finds seem heavier than mine. It made me laugh!

YouTube video

If you’re looking for decent places to find sea glass on the Isle of Man, the east coast seems better than the west for some reason, though of course I’m sure there are exceptions. I also tend to spot pieces in beaches that are more pebbles than huge rocks or sand.

We came home with a handsome haul that included decent sized piles of the common clear, pale blue, and green glass. We found some rarer pieces too including two shards of lavender, various shades of blue, and 19th century pottery.

I’m told that just off the beach where we were looking is the wreck of a ship that was carrying a cargo of tableware. Fragments of the broken dishes wash up to this day with many of them clad in their original patterns and colour. You can even see how some of them were hand-painted all those years ago.

Sea Glass Foraging on the Isle of Man: 19th century pottery shards
19th century pottery shards

There’s something so beautiful about the softened glass you find on beaches around the world. Come across a freshly broken bottle and it’s trash but give nature a little time to do her magic and each piece can be transformed into a precious gem. Some even have stories, with writing in old fashioned fonts still visible and shapes that were clearly bottle necks or bottle stoppers.

Sea Glass Foraging on the Isle of Man

I’ve also been sharing photos of these latest sea glass finds on my Facebook page and there’s been a lot of attention given to this piece of lavender sea glass. I was sent the below diagram and link that shows just how a bottle gets its colour – apparently purples come from Manganese being added to the glass. I wonder what kind of glass container the piece belonged to though. Was it perfume? A wine glass? Or maybe a special kind of wine bottle?

This ‘Chemistry of Coloured Glass’ diagram shows how trace elements can affect the colour of glass. More on this here

Sea glass is beautiful displayed on its own but I have a project in mind for the pieces we found over the weekend. Something that will display them as the gems they are… More on that later but in the meantime I have a couple of other projects that I might be making more of.

Sea Glass Foraging on the Isle of Man: Blue glass is relatively rare
Blue glass is relatively rare

I still have and use the Seaglass Candle I made a couple of years ago and the Seaglass Garden Stone is in the flower patch in front of the house. They’re both easy projects are perfect for displaying the colour and texture of sea glass finds.

As for the pottery, I’m not sure what I’ll do with it at the moment. Just keep it in a jar as a conversation piece until I can find a better way to display the pieces.

Sea Glass Foraging on the Isle of Man: DIY projects you can use sea glass in
Sea Glass DIY projects
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  1. Kristie Escobar says:

    Beautiful big blue piece from Douglas today :) So cold though, no sun.

    1. October is one of the best months for foraging for sea glass — storms really churn up the beach! Hoping you find even more stunning pieces over autumn and winter :)

  2. Living off the coast of Maine our colorful sea glass comes from bouys which were once made of glass. Different colors were assigned to the fisherman, thus the gorgeous turquoise, reds, pinks etc

  3. Maggie Davis says:

    I take a dog for a run on the beach once a week, and I can’t help picking up the bits of glass and other treasures I find. The bits of dark blue glass, and ceramics are my favorite finds! I usually come home with at least one pocket full (I’ve learned to be less enthusiastic and more selective, lol). I’m now working on stained glass sea glass projects, which is turning out to be really fun! I’ll add this to the project list. Thanks!

  4. I live on the IOM too and came across this blog completely by accident. I’d love to know at which beach you found all that lovely pottery. I find the odd bit on Port Erin beach and discovered some at Langness.

  5. Gary Caldwell says:

    I forgot to mention,,,I have about 50 lbs. of sea glass,,,,and allot of pottery,,,,, and even red sea glass ,,,I had no idea what to do with it,,,thank’s for your idea’s,,,,

  6. Gary Caldwell says:

    Love your idea’s Thank’s,,,,,