How Does Chameleon Glass Work?

Chameleon Glass is one of the most popular materials for smoking pipes, bubblers, and bongs. It can be hand blown in any imaginable shape or size. While the color-changing properties of chameleon glass may seem like magic, there is actually some science behind it.

How Does Chameleon Glass Work?

To make chameleon glass, a metal alloy is vaporized onto the glass surface and then covered with another layer of glass. The metal alloy contains lightly colored ions, which are nearly invisible on perfectly clean glass. This being said, clean chameleon glass will look more translucent than regular glass. As the color-changing pipe, bubbler or bong gets used, resin build-up on the inside of the pipe will make the colors more visible. A piece with chameleon glass may appear to change colors as you move it around. The colors in the glass are not actually changing but appear to change based on the light passing through or reflecting off the glass.



Chameleon Glass vs Regular Glass 

In terms of function, there is no difference between chameleon glass and regular glass. However, usually chameleon glass pieces are high quality whereas regular glass has varying levels of quality. The main difference is aesthetics. Chameleon glass looks pretty cool and it is fun watching a piece develop color over weeks or months. Arguably the coolest thing about chameleon glass is that every piece has a unique pattern. Since the color-containing metal alloy is not painted on, but vaporized into the glass, this guarantees that each piece will look at least a little different from any other. Also, you will be the first person to really see the colors as you use your chameleon glass pipe, bubbler or bong. Chameleon glass is kind of like the chia pet for smokers.

Chameleon Glass Pipes, Bongs and Bubblers

Chameleon glass is mostly used to blow pipes, bongs and bubblers. Because the color-changing properties of chameleon glass work off of resin buildup, this glass makes beautiful smoking devices. As a buyer of a chameleon glass pipe or bong, you will gain a unique piece with a beautiful pattern that develops over time. Chameleon glass can be blown into virtually any shape or size. From three-foot bongs to one hitters that fit in your palm, chameleon glass is a popular medium among many glassblowers that adds a bit of extra style to their art. Most chameleon glass pipes and bongs are high quality and can come with a slightly higher price tag than pieces made from regular glass but it is well worth the investment.

How To Choose A Chameleon Glass Pipe Or Bong

With so many chameleon glass pipes and bongs to choose from, it can be hard to know which one you should buy. First, there is the option of a bong, bubbler or pipe. Pipes are the simplest to use and are easy to transport. There are a wide variety of pipe styles from spoon pipes to steamroller pipes. A bubbler is a type of pipe that is basically a cross between a bong and a pipe. You can use it dry and it works just like a pipe, or fill a small water chamber for water filtration. If your main goal is to get massive rips, a classic bong is always a great choice.

There can be a variety of quality among glassblowers so we recommend buying from some of our featured glass artists listed below. Another option is having a local glassblower custom make you a piece. Although this can be costly, and you may not be guaranteed quality. If you go this route, it is best to buy from a reputable glassblower. You can also find chameleon glass pipes and bongs in local head shops. If buying locally, to see what the piece may look like later, hold it up against a dark background and the colors will be more visible.

Cool Glass Artists That Use Chameleon Glass

While chameleon glass is often a sign of quality, this is not always the case. Here at, we stock pieces made from these high-end USA-blown glass companies:

Cherry Glass – A small family-owned glass-blowing business, Cherry Glass operates out of Northern Minnesota. This small company is known for making beautiful pieces using organic material.

Tedrow Glass Pipes – This small business focusing on scientifically-advanced works of art operates out of Columbus, Ohio. They make some of the coolest bubblers we have seen.

Ohio Valley Glass – Founded in 2010 by glassblower Aaron Jewitt, OVG now has over a dozen local Ohio artists designing incredible pieces across all price ranges.


How To Clean A Chameleon Glass Pipe Or Bong

First, you will need a cleaner. You can find cleaners designed for glass pipes and bongs such as 420 Cleaner at local and online headshops. Another option is making your own glass pipe and bong cleaner. Isopropyl alcohol and salt makes a great substitute to a specialty product. The higher proof alcohol, the quicker it will remove resin. Also, kosher salt works better at breaking up resin than say table salt. To clean a small glass pipe, place the pipe in a ziplock bag filled with the solution and seal the bag. Shake it for 30-60 seconds or until it appears mostly clean. You can use a cleaning brush to remove any leftover resin. Rinse the pipe with warm water and let dry.

To clean a bong downstem and bowl piece, follow the same steps as above. To clean a glass bong, pour the solution into the base of the bong with the downstem still in place. Make a whirlpool with the solution across the base of the bong by making circles with your arm like you are stirring a pot. After 30-60 seconds, pour it out. If the solution was really nasty and there is still some residue in your bong, repeat this process. Then rinse with warm water. You can use a disinfecting wipe to clean the mouthpiece.


Written By: Nate C.


Primary Sponsor

Karma Koala Podcast

Top Marijuana Blog