3 pieces of blue seaglass with the words "How to write on seaglass" on them in white lettering

How to Write on Sea Glass

A lot of people have asked me about the best way to add names to sea glass place cards. Whether you're a beginner letterer or a professional calligrapher, you can find a solution here! But first off, let's talk about preparing your sea glass pieces.

Before You Start

Before you start lettering, give your sea glass a quick wash with warm water and a mild soap and allow to dry completely. Any dust or grease could prevent the ink/paint/vinyl from adhering properly. Wash your hands too, since sea glass can easily pick up greasy fingerprints.

Plan which name will go on which sea glass piece. Choose the largest pieces for the longest names. You don't want to be stuck writing 'Evangeline' on your smallest piece of sea glass. 

Paint Pens/Markers

The first option for lettering on sea glass is paint pens. Beginners (like me!) will appreciate paint pens or paint markers because of how easy they are to use. Your local craft store likely carries a variety of options. I've tried Sharpie and Craft Smart oil based paint pens. Both of these are available in extra fine point which was helpful when working at a relatively small size. After the white Craft Smart paint pen dries, it's possible to apply a second coat for a more opaque look (the photo shows only 1 coat). Both of these were completely waterproof after they'd dried completely. For more guidance, Erin from ECLetters shares her favorite paint markers here. 

Sea glass with 'Sharpie Oil' and 'Craftsmart Oil' written on them

Sharpie Oil paint pen and Craft Smart Oil paint pen in packaging

Photo Credit: Trisha Warkentin

Keep in mind that permanent markers (like Sharpie) don't show up super well on sea glass. Metallic Sharpies are especially hard to see. I've used Sharpie brand PAINT PENS in the photo above and they DO work well. Be sure to take a moment to read the packaging when selecting your paint markers.

Pointed Pen

Pointed pen or dip pen calligraphy is a great choice for lettering on sea glass and can produce very elegant results. Dana DiLenardi of The Blonde Scribe suggests P H Martins bleed proof ink when working with sea glass. 

Avoid using a brand new nib on sea glass. An older nib that's just slightly blunted will work better and you won't wear out your brand new nibs. Pointed pen calligraphy is much more difficult than lettering with a paint pen, but the results are worth it! 

Photo Credit: Dana DiLenardi


Vinyl is another option to add names to your sea glass place cards. If hand lettering methods are daunting to you, this might be the way to go! You'll need vinyl, transfer tape and a vinyl cutter like a Cricut or Silhouette. There's an abundance of tutorials on Youtube to get you started. Weeding the excess vinyl around the names is time consuming and finicky so don't put it off til the last minute.

Photo Credit: Trisha Warkentin

Bringing It All Together

If you're still feeling confused, email me (info@tumbleworks.ca) and I'll do my best to answer any questions you may have!

If you're purchasing your sea glass place cards from my shop, feel free to request some practice pieces. Just leave a note when ordering and I'll send a few smaller pieces so you can get comfortable with your lettering method before starting on your place cards.

If you'd rather not tackle your place card lettering yourself, there's many professional calligraphers and letterers who would love to help you! You can find some of them credited in our Sea Glass Gallery.

Whichever method you choose, I'd love to see the results! Come find me on IG, @tumbleworks, and tag me in your photos.

Keep on tumbling!


Broken link or error on this page? Please contact me at info@tumbleworks.ca.
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