Glass Fishing Buoys DIY {Pottery Barn Knockoff}

Hello, sweet readers of mine.

How is summer treating you? I am counting down the days (5) and nights (4) until my summer break from work will start. I have big plans to do absolutely nothing for as long as I can stomach it.

Summer weather hasn’t really come on full force yet, here in the low lands. It is nice but rather unpredictable (which for the weather in the Netherlands is kind of predictable behavior). This weekend we’ve had lovely sunny hours that beckoned us outside and heavy rains and grey skies that made me want to curl up with a good book and a hot cup of chocolate.

I didn’t do that, instead I crafted. I crafted this last project in my project summerification. This time I took it outside.


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A nice little vignette on the garden table with a Pottery Barn Knockoff: large glass buoys. 

Now to be honest I had no idea those things were called buoys. In fact I don’t even know how to pronounce buoys. I hear it in myu head but I am most likely getting it all wrong. To me they are just large fishing floats or glass spheres in fishing nets. Anyway, I made them and I couldn’t be more happy about it.


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Our long narrow refectory table just asks for a pretty vignette, especially since it can be seen from within the living room, and it is completely protected under our porch roof. And preferably that vignette should not be too tiny, but have a bit of oomph. I think this one fits the bill.

The idea for this project came from our April trip to NYC. As a good blogger I visited a couple of stores I only know from blog reading. Pottery Barn being one of them.

There I set my eyes on these:


Pottery Barn Glass Buoys


Mercury Glass buoys from Pottery Barn. They were beautiful and gorgeous and I loved them. I left them there because a) they would not fit into my suitcase and b) they were crazy expensive. So instead I took pictures and made a mental note “make large shipping floats”.

That mental note was still bouncing around in my head when I made a recent trip to the thrift store and I found these:


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A small glass bowl of unknown purpose (a candle holder perhaps) and a large outside lamp with the perfect glass globe. I got them for a couple of bucks combined. I knew they would be perfect for my floating  fishing balls project.

Next step was painting them to look like vintage glass. I used the Modpodge trick I learned when dying small pots on the smaller of the two.


mixing color modpodge


I just love how these colors look together, all pretty and marbled, I could stare at it for hours.

But I didn’t have time for that. I needed to move on. I painted the small vase from within. I also painted an old lamp sphere I found in our basement. I am not sure if these were a worldwide phenomenon but I don’t think there was a home in the fifties/sixties that didn’t have at least one of them hanging on a ceiling. I know we had at least three of them in my childhood home. This one was in our house when we moved in. There really was not much point in taking it to the thrift store since they have at least ten of them at any given day. So I kept it for the day when a crafting inspiration would hit. Well that day came. I obviously painted this one from the outside. Just the Modpodge and food coloring combo, brushed on with a foam brush.


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The large globe from the lamp I painted with glass paint from the inside. It became all streaky and spotty as it was so hard to move my hand inside without messing the paint up all the time. Didn’t take a mid-step photo of that, but you’ll see what I mean.

Than it was time to start thinking about the fish nets. My recent fish net project on my white vase had giving me some confidence and guidance but applying it to round globes was a different matter. So I took my question to the internet, not being too optimistic because, after all, this was a very original idea…..


Google and Pinterest came through and it seems like there had been hundreds of talented crafters who had been encapsulating glass balls into fish nets. I guess that is what I love and hate about Pinterest. It answers all your crafting needs and questions….. It also shows you there is no such thing as originality, and everything has been done before…..

I actually found a project by one of my favorite bloggers, that I missed before. Craftberry Bush even started from the same Pottery Barn inspiration! So I took my cue from here and started to make some fish nets for my spheres. If you want to do that too, I suggest you hop over to her and follow her tutorial.

I just figured some things out on my own, that Lucy didn’t cover.




Like how to get the fish net to follow the curve of the globe. It would have been really handy to have a third hand to stretch and hold the twine as I continued making knots. It was hard to get a good tension and to make sure that the distances between the knots remained the same. I didn’t have a crafting assistant at hand so instead I used a tie-wrap, pulling the two active stands out while I worked on them. That did the trick.

Next conundrum was how to adhere the twine to the top circle. That little rim was perfect to keep the finishing round of twine in place but it made it impossible to get the strands underneath.

Let me clarify. You start with a circle of twine to which you tie at least 6 double strands of twine. Those strands are tied into the fishnet. When you reach the top (or bottom when working on something like a vase) you need another circle of twine to tie the fishnet too. The little rim really helped in keeping that circle in place but it made it difficult to attach the strands if I tied it first.

So instead I did this.


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I hope this image is clear enough. You can see the circle of twine underneath the rim, I have it tied in the front here and you can see very loose knots all around it. The trick was to not close my circle yet,but first make very loose knots in the strands, string the small bit of twine through the holes, then tie the circle of twine really tight under the rim. I then had room  in my knots to get them really tight and in place. This last phase is really what makes the fishnet look good, it needs to be stretched and have a lot of tension.

The trick worked and my first buoy was ready (still wondering about that word…..).


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I love how the little air bubbles in the largest sphere make it seem all vintage and real. And all those streaks and spots do not bother me at all, now that she is finished.

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I used a different kind of jute twine for the second fishing float. This was the fifties lamp globe.


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You can see the bottom here, where I started the fishnet. As this one was painted on the outside I had to be very careful, because the rough twine could scratch off the paint. But it worked. I made extra small and precise knots in this fish net. I love how it turned out, I think the marbled effect of the original globe really gives it a sea look.

For my third and last one I got really ambitious….


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The clear white version, was a Craigslist purchase. It had double strands between the knots. I loved that. So I tied not 6 but 12 strands of twine to my starter ring. And then I ran into trouble because I couldn’t just tie a knot, with four strands that looked awful.

Google to the rescue once again and it turned out that I needed to make a four strand macrame knot. I couldn’t be more happy with this one, every once in a while it pays of to be ambitious. I foresee more macrame projects in my future (and my sisters will laugh so hard at me for that, because they went through the macrame phase when it first came around in the seventies). I need to get a bit more knot tying under my belt before I feel comfortable sharing a tutorial about it.


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And there you have it. My last (probably, I cannot be trusted in this respect) addition to project summerification.

It all started with my summer mantel that got a summer update.


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My layered photo frame mantel is still going strong and I love it so much still.

Then I created a little vignette:


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Easy peasy DIY beach lanterns. I have gone through quite a few candles with this project already…..

Then there was another vignette, that ‘made me’ drink two bottles of wine….


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See my beach decor vignette here.


Of course there was my first experiment with fish nets….


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Fishing nets vase makeover project is here.


And of course my ‘doily has gone to the beach’ project.


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You can find the doily dream catcher project here.


And that is it. Project summerification is done. My home is ready and so am I. Let the lazy days of summer begin!


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  1. says

    I just love the summery look of your decor right now, Marianne! It is so fresh and I love the blues , whites and browns together. You include different textures in the mix. Nice!
    Those buoys are great! I’m going to try making them in our summer, which begins in December.

  2. Ans says

    Ha die Marianne, leuk hoor, die buoys. Ik weet ook niet hoe je dat moet uitspreken. En ja, dat macrame kan ik me nog heel goed herinneren. Groetjes en tot gauw. Ans

  3. Gwen says

    Your patience is amazing but you do know how to crochet so I’m already impressed. Your globes (buoys) look amazing!! Did you even do a clam shell??!! And the photo display still likes awesome. Take care!!! Lovel how yu were inspired yet yours is, prettiest’!!!!

  4. Marilyn says

    Hi Marianne, Beautiful! I thought there were two acceptable pronounciations of the word, so checked it on Google, and found /ˈbo͞o-ē,boi/ The first is the way that Lorrie, above, pronounces is–which is the same way it’s pronounced in California (boo-ee); but it’s also acceptabe to prounouce it like a small male child (boy.) No matter how you say it, you did a great job again. Thanks for sharing!

  5. says

    However they are pronounced … I love how they look! I’ve always admired them. And now it’s clear that I will do some by myself sooner than later!
    Thanks for the little tutorial :)

    Love, Midsommarflicka

  6. Judy says

    I so remember those round glass fixtures from the 50s and 60s. One time at Halloween I went as a gypsy and took down the hall light fixture to use as my “crystal ball!” I like your idea much better. The “floats” are great!