Glass floats for your tiki bar at HomeGoods — Mom scores a mother lode for me!

tiki glass floatsFirst thing Monday morning, I had an terse email from Pam: “In case you want to hoard some for your tiki bar” with a link to Hukilau friend Tim “Swanky” Glazner’s photo of two big glass floats he found at his local HomeGoods. I had planned on using some glass floats in my future basement tiki bar — and since my Mom lives near a HomeGoods and loves to shop there, I asked if she would mind looking for some of these glass floats for me. As you can tell by the photo, I have an awesome Mom.

tiki glass floatsWithin a few hours, Mom reported back from her expedition — she had hit a mother lode and cleared out her local HomeGoods. The haul — 10 glass floats in several sizes. The large ones are about 11 inches in diameter, she estimates. The smaller ones, about six inches. And, there are a variety of appropriately Oceanic colors — cobalt blue, teal green, aqua, light blue, clear and pale green.

tiki glass floatsI just love how the mix of colors and sizes all look together. My hope is to collect enough to completely fill the ceiling over my future tiki bar with glass floats — and a few puffer fish lights too, of course.

tiki glass floatsPam checked out her local HomeGoods on Wednesday and reported, boo to the hoo, she only found one large glass float, and its was unexcitingly clear. She bought it, even so — because she also is planning a home tiki bar project. Pam told me that she would be totally fine with my Mom going shopping for her in the future — since she had so much luck finding all these great colors and sizes.

tiki glass floatstiki glass floatsThe tops of some of the floats have holes in them and could easily be filled with objects or even made into pendant lights for your tiki bar. Swanky plans to turn his HomeGoods glass floats into pendant lights — but he will “frost” the interiors first. Here’s his method, he told us:

What I do is get a paint from Michael’s or other store they used to call glass etching. Could not find it recently, so I just diluted white paint. Swirl it around inside to coat it and drain and dry. Get a uniform white translucent coating. This diffuses the light so when you hang a bulb inside you don’t see it, just the glow. For safety, you should not hang the lamp by the power cord, but a swag chain or something else. I have a big batch of light cords from making puffer fish lamps I use with the smallest watt light bulbs with the frosted finish. Here is a cord, but you can find them cheaper, especially if you buy in bulk: Snap In Candelabra Bulb Socket Black Cord Rotary Switch Country Primitive Lighting Craft Décor (Retro Renovation affiliate link)

[Precautionary Pam notes: Readers, when making and hanging your own lights, do your own thorough research on safety issues so that you can make your own informed decisions.]


tiki glass floatsThe crackle texture on the clear glass float is pretty neat, too.

shell garland tiki barMom also bought me this long sea shell garland. Pam got one, too. These will be great to hang among the floats or fasten into a fishing net to help make the ceiling feel lower and create that cozy, tiki bar or cargo hold of a ship — aka Molokai bar  — feeling.

crab for tiki barMom even found me a crab decoration to arrange among the floats.

Howdy hudee! If you have a home tiki bar, or, like me, are starting to hoard collect goodies for a future tiki bar, you might want to (1) run to HomeGoods now and (2) keep an eye on their ever-changing selection of nautical decor especially, we guess, in the spring and summer. Make sure to shop with your “tiki glasses” on — think flotsam and jetsam.

Mega thanks again to Swanky for the tip and to my Mom for securing 10 glass floats for my tiki bar decor stash.

Did you know: Click here to scan our entire category of stories about Tiki Bar Decor

Categoriestiki and bars
  1. Janet in ME says:

    Wow, Kate, congratulations on the great haul! Remind me of a funny incident back when I was in high school back in the sixties. We lived out on a dirt road so our mail went to a post office box. One day Dad asked me to pick up the mail for him. I found a parcel notice in the box. I went to the window and the person there must have looked for five minutes and couldn’t find it. Two others joined him and for another five minutes or so, they couldn’t find it. A fourth fellow came along and he immediately lit up and started to laugh. Mind you, this was an old post office with all the wood boxes and bars on the windows. He slid open the wood panel and they pushed this huge THING out on the floor. It was three big glass Japanese fishing floats, tied together and mailed just like that. They had to have been 18′ to 20″ around and were a beautiful sea bluegreen. They were all laughing at my puzzled expression and I blurted out loud, “WHAT IS THAT?” My uncle worked for the military on Kwajalein and after storms, he would go out on the beach and pick up the floats that drifted in. He sent some to all his family members for Christmas! Apparently, he figured if the ocean couldn’t destroy them, the post office couldn’t either. It was all I could do to carry/drag them out to what was fortunately a station wagon! I don’t think my mother really appreciated them and they sat out in the barn for many years, where our friends at least thought they were cool. Unfortunately, someone stole them at some point, when my parents were elderly and no longer were aware of who came and went around the farm. I sure wish I had them now. I love having stuff with an interesting story or knowing where they came from.

      1. Mary Elizabeth says:

        Great story, Janet-in-ME, formerly known as Janet-in-CT! There was a time when the P.O. didn’t require everything to be packaged in boxes of uniform sizes. My grandfather always claimed that he sent one of my grandmother’s first attempts at doughnut making to a friend through the post office. No package. It was simply a doughnut, with a manilla tag tied to it with twine, and it arrived in tact. Or so he always said. 🙂

  2. Janet in ME says:

    Just wanted to tell you the definitions of two of my favorite words, flotsam and jetsam. Flotsam is debris, often from a sunken ship, found floating on the ocean, and also refers to things that float onto land. Jetsam is stuff thrown out/overboard on a ship, usually to lighten it. I collect lots of weird things that people get rid of, so I call my stuff “Janet’s jetsam”. If a friend is cleaning out a house, you can bet I’ll be there!

    1. pam kueber says:

      Thanks, Janet! I love when we can use the words flotsam and jetsam on the blog — yes, fantastic words! And now we actually know their specific meanings. Howdy, hudee!

      1. Jenny A. says:

        We went to my son’s middle school production of “The Little Mermaid” last night where two of the characters were Flotsam and Jetsam, of course. Strange how you don’t think of words for a while and suddenly they’re everywhere!

  3. Jay says:

    Way to go Kate’s Mom! Nice color range from blue to green. You really do have to haunt the stores to catch the stuff when it arrives, before it all sells out. I was shopping in Target Sunday and looked to see what Pyrex anniversary stuff was on hand, I wanted the pie plate; nothing left, just two casserole covers.

  4. Geronimom says:

    We are fortunate enough to live on the gulf coast, therefore these type of floats are more easily found in this area – both the real and the decorator versions. They still ain’t cheap, tho, so I’m always keeping my eyes peeled for less expensive versions for our home tiki bar project. Thanks so much for the tip! There is a chain department store here in Florida called “Bealls” which also has outlet shops connected with it. The best prices I’ve found so far on similar 3 glass globes, etc have been at my local “Beall’s Outlet” – the one here has lots of nautical decor – nets, star fish, etc. Pretty sure I’ve seen them at Tuesday Morning and World Market on occasion, as well. I also often see them at various local consignment/antique malls. If you are lucky enough to catch a booth having a sale, they can end up being quite reasonable. Puffer fish, however, are another story, The only b&m place I’ve actually spotted these is at a couple of the local tourist beach souvenir shops. Never seen any actually already made into lamps, however…guess that’ll be yet another home project on the horizon for us!

    1. Geronimom says:

      Forgot to add that we’re hoping to get some more good tiki decorating ideas at next month’s Hukilau in Ft. lauderdale – I am betting there will be lots of great tiki decor items there!

      1. Geronomom says:

        Whoa! Best price yet – even for here on the Gulf coast! Definitely gonna head over there later & see what I find. Thanks!

  5. Annie B, says:

    Congratulations on your beautiful floats, Kate. Your Mom should receive the Retro Finders Hot Hand Award for scoring these for you. Their colors are so lovely. I hope they were not too terribly expensive.

    If my memory serves me correctly (which is not often these days), I think I’ve seen similar floats at Hobby Lobby.

    My Mom had floats like these, with a smooth finish, in the early 1960’s. Her sister brought the floats to her from Formosa (today’s Taiwan). Aunt Ruth told us that the floats were made by the Formosan fishermen from US glass Coke bottles. I’ve had a sentimental fondness for them ever since.

    Thanks so much for a fine post and happy memory trip, Kate.
    I’ll take a Mai Tai at your Tiki Bar, please.

  6. Tikimama says:

    I found some new floats a few months back at TJ Maxx or Ross (sorry I can’t remember which – they’re in the same shopping center and I hit both that day).

    I am fortunate to live in So. Cal, where there is a big (for tiki) tiki community. For those of you on Facebook, check out the International Tiki Marketplace in Huntington Beach, a semi-monthly event where vendors and artists gather to sell their wares. I know that many, if not most, of them sell online as well. Plus, they are a great bunch of people!


  7. Jaime says:

    I also saw these at a TJ Maxx or Marshalls recently here in Florida. I think they were around $10-12 each for the smaller ones.

  8. Scott says:

    I brought one of these home from Myrtle Beach on one of our first family southern vacations and it hung from my bedroom ceiling all through junior high and high school. I have been colored-glass obsessed ever since.

  9. tammyCA says:

    Man, I want a tiki bar, or have one to visit. I saw those floats last week when I stopped in the store, but resisted the urge to buy more new pretty things in my fave color & nowhere to put them.
    Maybe, instead I can make a dollhouse size tiki bar (while I drink daquiris in this blasted heat). 😀

    1. Kate says:

      Yes! A dollhouse tiki bar! That would be awesome.

      On a side note, what blasted heat? Is it warm where you live? I’m hoping it gets to be 60 this weekend at my house. I’d love to be able to go without a coat for once! 🙂

      1. tammyCA says:

        yep, it was upper ’90s this week in socal but is coming down for the weekend..yay.
        Well, I just took back my dollhouse from the kiddo (& all the littlest pet shop critters) & now I am inspired to get back to what I wanted it to be…a Victorian Key West/Caribbean mid-century style Inn! It can have a bar, right? 😀 I found some mini frames at Michael’s (2 for $1.50) and I’m gonna attempt some mini paint by numbers!

    2. Tikimama says:

      Tammy, what part of California are you in? I’m in the Inland Empire, in Yucaipa.

      Yes, Kate, where we are, winter lasted about 2 weeks, and the weather we had was probably what you’d call “spring”! Summer weather is here!

  10. Kat says:

    Kate – would she happen to live by the only Homegoods in the Milwaukee area? I’m trying to decide if I should jump in the car and check…but I was unsuccessful Vera hunting last year…

  11. Amanda says:

    The Michaels near me (in Georgia) was selling smaller glass floats at 40% a week or two ago. I picked up a few for the tiki bar I will have one day. I’m definitely going to have to check out the Homegoods by me now.

  12. Kathy says:

    Thanks for the tip. I just bought a vintage tiki bar and bamboo/rattan table and chairs. It goes with my vintage bamboo loveseat and two chairs I found along the road. All I had to do is get cushions made. I need to find more TIKI stuff. I like the light idea.

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