vintage glass

Turn vintage glass pieces into tiered masterpieces! Here’s how

Pull out that vintage glass you’ve been saving all these year.

Maybe it’s been a while since you pulled your old china out of the cabinet. It might be missing a few pieces from the set, or have a few chips and cracks. But, here’s your excuse to dust it off!

Studio 5 Creative Contributor Michelle Crowley shares an idea that gives your old ceramics a chance to shine. You can mix, match, and stack them together for a totally transformed vintage vibe. And, may we add, a chic looking piece!

Find more from Michelle on Instagram, @michellesdesignlife, or on her website,


Turn Vintage Glass Into Unique Tiered Pieces

Creativity Is learned, not inherited.

There’s this very common misconception floating around out there that says “Creativity is inherited, an inborn trait akin to being born with blue eyes, either you have the gene – or you don’t. Either you are born creative, or you’re not. End of story.

This is just so NOT true! I’m of the very strong opinion that creativity is developed through mastering skills. Just like with all skills, the more we practice, the better we get.

So how does one go about practicing creativity? Exactly the same way someone would learn to play the piano, shoot a three pointer or turn a pirouette  – by first learning a few basic skills and then practicing them over and over and over again until they become second nature.

This creative concept is a really fantastic way to “practice” creativity. First, by learning a couple of very basic “how to” skills. Then utilizing the skills over and over in a variety of different ways. Once we’ve learned the basic skills required to do the projects, the practice part comes into play.

Homework assignment: Intentionally look for a few every day items that you find pretty, but also might toss out in the middle of a decluttering frenzy. Now look at them again, this time while asking the question, “using the skills I’ve just learned, what new or different thing could this be transformed into?

Then go try it out. Work on mastering the basic skills, see works for you and what doesn’t work.  Each time we practice by utilizing everyday items in different or unique ways, our creativity abilities grow stronger. These kinds of projects exercise the creative side of the brain and increases our ability to both think and do creatively, in all aspects of our lives.

Trash It or Transform It?

We’ve all heard the saying “one’s mans junk is another mans treasure.”  In a world where we’re always looking for ways to reduce, reuse & recycle, I take this mantra to heart in my own creative practices.

One of my favorite creative hobbies is to find every day, even discarded items and transform them into a unique new treasure. I love to gift these custom made little treasures to my friends, they make such a fun and meaningful gifts.

Where and what do I look for?

My favorite items to use are family heirlooms. You know, grandma’s beloved china that doesn’t have have enough pieces left to set a full table? We feel so bad just throwing it out! But really, we know we’re never going to use it, it’s just going it sit in a cupboard collecting dust until some future generation finally tosses it. THESE are the perfect things for this project!

I also love to comb thrift stores, it’s like I’m on my own personal mini treasure hunt. Often I leave empty handed, but even more often I discover pretty little things that I know can be transformed into meaningful treasures.

Go gather up a few items you think are pretty from anywhere; new or old, if they’re beautiful all on their own, they will become truly fabulous when paired together.

Gluing Glass & Ceramic

What You’ll Need

  • Glass bowls in any style that suites your fancy.
  • For the base find a Candle Stick, Vase, Ice Cream Dish, or even a candy dish lid that looks good with the bowl you’ve selected.
  • Glass Glue or Epoxy,  I like Loctite or Gorilla Brands
  • Rubbing Alcohol (use wipes or liquid lint free cloth
  • Rubber gloves
  • Baby Wipes


  1. Thoroughly clean the items you will be gluing with warm/hot water and dish soap.
  2. Allow the items to completely dry before attempting to glue them.
  3. Wear rubber gloves for two reasons: 1) To keep the glue off your skin. 2) To keep the natural oils from your hands off of the glass. Even very clean hands have oils that will prevent the glue from adhering properly.
  4. Using a lint free cloth, wipe the areas you are going to glue with alcohol Let it dry completely.
  5. Squeeze glue onto the edge of the item you are attaching to the plate or bowl.
  6. Press lightly to adhere the items together.
  7. Quickly wipe away any excess glue with baby wipes.
  8. Change gloves to prevent any glue that has leaked onto your hands from smearing all over. Clean glue from items with more wipes if necessary.
  9. If needed, brace with masking or painters tape until the glue is dry and set.

Project Ideas

  • Cut Glass Containers. I created these for my daughters wedding, we used them on the tables filled with big colorful floral arrangements. For months I looked and looked and couldn’t find what I was imagining. So instead I started collecting cut glass bowls, candlesticks and tulip vases. Some were my mother-in-law’s, some were my grandmother’s, some were gifts from my own wedding that had rarely seen the light of day for 25 years. Some I found at the DI and HomeGoods. They turned out truly spectacular!
  • Serving & Display Stands. Kind of the same idea as the tiered trays, only not tiered. These will level up any cake or desserts you serve. Or, create a gorgeous place for a seasonal display of your favorite ornaments or holiday figurines.

Drilling Holes in Glass & Ceramic

What You’ll Need

  • Pretty plates, platters, bowls or cups. They don’t need to be a “matched set” but they do need to look good together.
  • Tiered Tray Dividers. I get these on Amazon or I steal them from other trays I already have, OR I use candle sticks. This is another opportunity  to exercise those creative muscles, what can you find or do you already have on hand that would work?
  • Flat Head Screw & Washer (rubber washers are ideal) that fits the divider post you are using.
  • Drill
  • Glass/Ceramic Cutting Drill Bits. These are the ones I use
  • Eye Protection
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Heavy Duty Rubber Cutting Board
  • Glue Gun
  • Sharpie Marker
  • Tap Water


  1. Place a heavy duty rubber cutting board flat in the bottom of your sink.
  2. Measure the center of the bottom of the item you are drilling a hole into and mark the center with a marker.
  3. Install the smallest tipped glass cutting drill bit into your drill.
  4. Turn on cold water tap to a little drizzle so that there is a small amount of water surrounding the area you are drilling at all times. This step is essential. The drilling will take a fair bit of time and will create heat between the drill and glass or ceramic item you are drilling a hole into. The water helps lubricate the friction and keeps both your drill bit and item from overheating.
  5. Don’t put too much pressure on the glass by pushing hard on the drill. Use light pressure and be patient. Let the drill do the work.
  6. Have patience! This can take a bit of time and becomes tedious. If you become impatient and press hard to make it go faster, you’ll risk breaking your item. (Speaking from experience here. . . )

Hint: I think it works better and a little faster to first use a very small bit to drill a tiny pilot hole, then go back with the bigger bit (the size of the screw I’m going to use) for the final hole.

Project Ideas

  • Tiered Serving Trays. Any plate or platter can be transformed into gorgeous serving pieces for special events & dinners, for displaying holiday or seasonal decorations or for gift giving, just fill it up with a yummy treat for your friend.

    A plate filled with fresh fruit and berries under a suspended teacup or bowl filled with cream or custard for dipping is a real show stopper.

    I love to give these as birthday gifts. I can customize the look to the personal taste and style of each particular friend. Then volunteer to bring dessert to the celebration party. Fill the trays with the desserts, attach a pretty bow with a little gift tag so she knows this personalized tray is a special gift from you, custom made just for her.

  • Candy, Display & Jewelry Dishes. I love to create pretty little displays from small vintage plates, candy dishes, and even tea-cups and their saucers. These also make into elegant little bedside catch-alls for jewelry, ear-buds, and other odds-and-ends we tend to shed at the end of day as we fall into bed.

Add comment