Faux Japanese Fishing Floats (Mod Podge Alert!)

Have you ever seen Japanese fishing floats? Google it if you don't know what I'm talking about. You won't regret it. They are so beautiful! They're glass balls that were tied to the edges of fishing nets to make them float, and the colors are amazing. They occasionally wash ashore all the way on the west coast of the US, which is where my mom got hers. I think she found them on the beach in Oregon while visiting my great-grandfather, who lived in a small town called Woods which is now nothing but yurts. He was a fisherman, bootlegger, railroad worker, etc. You know, whatever was available. Dolla dolla bill, ya'll. Anyway, I've been trying to figure out how to color some clear glass ornaments to mimic the look, and I got it! With Mod Podge! Mod Podge! Mod Podge! (Say it 3 times and Amy Anderson will appear).
I'd seen this tutorial for painting Ball jars with a Mod Podge and food color mixture, but didn't know how to a) paint it inside the ball and b) make it less streaky. I tried it with a glass paint similar to vitrea, and it was still streakier than I wanted.
So here's what I figured...I basically coated the inside with Mod Podge. Just poured it in until the ball was about a third full. Sloshed it around to coat all the inside.
Then poured out the excess into the next ball.
Then I totally dried them in the oven in this little set up. Yes, those are toilet paper tubes cut in half. Baked at 180 degrees...
...until golden brown, er, I mean, clear.
Then I mixed up some fabric dye (I used one Rit and one something I can't remember...oh yeah, Tulip brand).
I used hot water in a disposable coffee cup, about a teaspoon of the powdered dye, and a pinch of salt, and then let it cool because I was afraid the hot liquid would crack the balls. I actually mixed up one yellow, one teal, and one blue. And then I poured them in random ratios into the balls.
Let it sit in there about 3 minutes. Then pour it out. Rinse it. And let it dry in its little toilet paper holder with the spout side down. The Mod Podge gets a little opaque again in this step, but then it all dries really clear.
And you can tie a triple knot into some jute twine and shove the knot down into the hole. Then string them up!
So now aren't you dying to make about a hundred of them in shades of pink and red and fuschia and orange to make a chandelier?! I know!!!


  1. You summoned?

    As my grandmother said "A dollah makes me hollah." So I think our grandparents would get along! Okay, not really (I mean she didn't say that, not that they wouldn't get along).

    I LOVE this project. And of course I want to feature you. This is a great way to do it that I haven't seen yet!

    PS - I have been to a yurt village near Bellingham, WA.

  2. Those are so pretty! What a great idea to coat them with mod podge. Now I need to wait until christmas rolls around again and I can buy up scores of those little ornaments. Remind me in December, k?

  3. If only I hadn't packed away my clear glass balls... I'm going to the beach next week adn this would have been a great project to do there!!

  4. Thank you for all your tutorials.
    I posted an article about you.
    Veronique from France

  5. Your mind works in wondrous ways... really, just fantastic!

  6. cant wait to try them,thank u:}

  7. What dyes did you use to create these colors?

  8. ok I am having trouble...Mostly clear but with some patches of glue. I tried to clean them out with soapy water but can't seem to get them totally clean. Even after the soapy water seemed to help redistribute the mod-podge I rebaked but got same results. I may just have to throw them away and start over. Any ideas...I love the Japanese floats as well but hate the price tags!!

  9. Thank you SO much! I have been trying to find some inexpensive ones to use on a parade float and now I've got to try this!!!


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