Since in 1.2 you can add one block, and then use it as at least 16 (0-15 metadata/damage), there's colored glass idea.
One block of sand in craftgrid = "fine sand" item, which can be mixed with dye or potash (refined from coal, aka new "damage instance" of it). Bake fine sand in furnace and you get green glass, bake sand mixed with potash to get "normal" glass, and if you bake sand mixed with dye, you get colored glass. If you grind diamond (another DI of coal) and mix it with fine sand and potash, you get "fine sand for strong glass", which is about as durable as iron block. Mix this sand with dyes and you get colored strong glass.