How To Make Breakable Glass

Breakable glass is also known as sugar glass. Filmmakers on a budget use this as part of their special effects since it poses little harm for the actors compared to using real glass. It is also inexpensive and can be done at home with just a few ingredients.

  • Prepare the ingredients and equipment.  Before you start, make sure you have everything you need and you have an idea of what kind of breakable glass mold you would like. Sugar glass is similar to cooking peanut brittle candies but it is not something you would like to eat. You will need 2 cups water, 3.5 cups white sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar and 1 cup light corn syrup or liquid glucose. Liquid glucose is used for making candies.  The measurements of the ingredients here are enough for a sheet of sugar glass made on a standard baking tray. For larger molds, simply estimate if you need to double your ingredients.  Aside from the baking tray, you need a saucepan, a wooden stirrer and a candy maker thermometer attached to a wire so you don't burn yourself taking the temperature of the mixture and a non-stick cooking spray or aluminum foil.
  • Prepare the mold.  On your baking tray, spray non-stick cooking spray or you can place aluminum foil evenly laid flat.  Foil paper might add texture to your breakable glass since it can be difficult to keep it flat so decide which one you want to use before you start.  Using foil paper will also make it easier for you to take out the sugar glass from the mold.  Prepare your mold before doing the sugar glass mixture since you will have to work quickly when you pour it on the mold.
  • Cook the sugar. Place your saucepan over low fire, then pour in the water, white sugar, light corn syrup or liquid glucose and cream of tartar.  Light corn syrup gives your end product a tint of yellow while liquid glucose keeps your sugar glass relatively clear.  Stir constantly and keep the fire low to prevent the mixture from caramelizing.  Bubbles will appear and you will get a whiff of a slight sugary smell.  This process is about 40-50 minutes so you have to be patient.  Bring the mixture into a boil at 300 degrees Fahrenheit.  Remember to attach the candy maker thermometer to a wire so you do not drop it inside.
  • Mold the sugar glass.  While mixture is still hot, gently pour the mixture on to the mold you prepared earlier. The bubbles should disappear but to get rid of those small ones, use a toothpick and carefully pop it.  Work quickly as it tends to dry quickly too.  Try to keep the mixture evenly spread out and as thin as possible.  Thick sugar glass can still be painful if you plan to hit it on someone's head.
  • Wait.  Wait patiently for an hour or two as it cools.  When the sugar glass is settled well into the mold, you can place it in the refrigerator to let it cool faster, but you run the risk of deforming the original shape you want.  Meanwhile, you can practice how you want to use the glass for your special effects.  Take the sugar glass out of the mold when it is ready.

You now have a sheet of what looks like glass. It is sure to break on impact so make sure you have your video camera ready since there is no take two, unless of course you prepare more than one sheet of breakable glass.


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