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Monday, October 11, 2010

Faux Mercury Glass (3 Tutorials)

I love mercury glass!

I love the randomly worn, very old mirror look,









as well as the randomly worn and patterned look,


as well as the ultra shiny, sleek mercury glass look:



Gorgeous, right? Love the shiny pumpkins from the Pottery Barn too, even though they aren’t the usual mercury glass look!

Warning, this is going to be a long post. It essentially combines 3 tutorial into one, even though they are all about Faux Mercury Glass!

Well, with the help of some Krylon Looking Glass Mirror-Like Paint and some dollar store glass containers I went experimenting in the hope of recreating that look for a lot less!


1.) The ultra shiny, sleek look seemed the easiest. I figured it was a good way to get to know the spray paint!

Here is what I learned:

Make sure you REALLY shake your looking glass spray well. It really does make a difference.

Also, you really have to do this outside.  You should be doing all your spray painting in a “well ventilated” area, but with this one I can’t stress it enough that it probably needs to be outside! Even outside the Acetone smell is still quite something to cope with!

I tried it on a fake pumpkin first, didn’t really look any different than normal silver spray paint.

Except that this stuff dries ultrafast! Much faster than normal spray paint! In our weather (90F and really dry) it dried in around 3 minutes to the touch and maybe 5 more minutes to have it really set. That’s when you spray it on a flat surface (like making a mirror) or on the outside of a  project (the Funkin™). On the inside of a vessel it takes a bit longer. Depending on how heavy-handed you were on the spraying, there is a lot of run off to the bottom. This can take hours to dry, depending on how much there is.

I have found however that the runoff can be carefully swirled around the inside of your vessel to give you more coverage and you also have a way to get it under awkward rims like my glass pumpkin has. You can’t really get there any other way as this particular spray paint does not  do multi-directional spraying very well. And it certainly doesn’t do upside down spraying!


Since the Funkin™ wasn’t a go and I realized that really we need the depth and shininess of glass to make this work, I combined the two ideas and used a glass pumpkin. Got this one at the thrift store a while back, but I also saw some inexpensive ones at Walgreens this year.

I find the glass pumpkins a little cheesy by themselves but “blinged” up like this with the mercury glass look I really love the elegant touch.

I taped off the rims of the pumpkin, then I taped a plastic bag on the rest of it. I did this as a two-step taping because I wanted to be able to check coverage from the outside without having to pull off the entire rim tape .



Unfortunately, this pumpkin won’t be suitable for food though, since the spray paint is on the inside, but that’s ok with me Love Struck It can house a host of other things and when pumpkin season is over, it will be a lovely vessel without the lid!



{I just LOOOVVEEE my shiny mercury glass pumpkin! }


2.) Next, I was trying to figure out some ways to have the grunged look of an old worn mirror. Since I can’t just apply a filter like I do in photoshop, I would obviously need something that can be finely misted and easily removed afterwards. There might be tutorials for this out there somewhere, but I was in experimentation mode, I didn’t even look Tongue 

So I experimented with a water spray bottle. My hope was that the water would just evaporate, leaving some areas more exposed to the shiny stuff than others.

And it worked! But apparently I won’t be able to show you just how well it worked since I’ve found it impossible to get a true to life photo. Even at a really thin coat (or two) it is so reflective that it just picks up everything. And the photographs don’t seem to show the “thin” areas very well either.

These are the best I could do. I’m hoping that maybe once I’ve put them in the revamped living room, they may show up better in the overall photo.

Photo 1 shows the texture a little better, while photo 2 (of the same vase) shows just how reflective it is, despite the mottled, uneven coverage!



Here’s a close up of the pattern. Please ignore the black reflection of my camera lens in all the pics. See how it looks like it’s only sprayed on in the spots, yet it is reflective all over anyway. Cool, right?


And here is what I did:

First I covered my vase. I cut the top off a regular plastic shopping bag (so I didn’t have to deal with handles etc) and taped it to the neck of the vase. Then I rolled the top of the tape backwards, toward the outside, so it would line up evenly with the rim of the vase.



Then I misted it with water. It seems you need to have a really fine mist, with as little water as possible, so you don’t have too much run. Unfortunately the spray itself can be quite runny too, so it’s somewhat unavoidable, but less water helps to minimize it.

Now take very gentle, sweeping sprays into your glass vessel. Really gentle! This stuff is runny and when combined with the water it can run a fair bit and mess up your water mist pattern.

It won’t look like it’s doing much at first, but this stuff somewhat comes out more as it dries, so be patient. Your can always add another coat!

Then I turned it upside down to dry. We are so dry around here it didn’t take very long but in colder, wetter climates it could take a while for the water to evaporate!

Then take off your tape and bag and check coverage. If necessary, re-tape and do another very light coat!  


And when you bring all your stuff back in from outside, make sure you have the cap on your spray paint. So you don’t accidently bump into the door frame and set off a little squirt of spray paint on the door, which won’t come off and will necessitate the painting of the whole door.  Raised Eyebrow


I hear it can happen. Not that I would know from personal experience or anything Blushing


3.) Of course, now that I have that down, I really wanted to find a way to make something like the set or 3 Hurrican lamps from Mothology above!

My first thought was, that obviously some other, much more precise medium would have to be used to do the underlying pattern.  And some way of applying it will need to be found. Stencils I thought!

And of course this would have to happen on something with totally straight sides!

Since I am using my Silhouette Craft Cutter for almost anything, I thought I would try that first.

I designed a pattern in the software of the craft cutter and cut it out on vinyl. I liked the idea of vinyl as it would stick pretty well to the glass and wouldn’t allow the adhesive to seep under it! And I have a lot of vinyl around these days lol


Then I applied the pattern to the inside of the glass container, leaving the spaces I wanted for the pattern open (see removed bursts above.)

If you’re having trouble getting the vinyl into the glass properly, run it over your t-shirt or something first to make it just a tad less sticky and you’ll find that it’s much easier to get into the container. Once it’s in, just start on one end and continue to press it to the glass all the way around. A clear transfer tape makes this process much easier, as you see where everything goes so much better!


The next step was applying some Adhesivefor the silver leaf application. I followed the instructions on the packet.


Once the adhesive turned from milky to clear on the exposed parts, I brushed the silver leaving on.


After that dried I peeled off the vinyl. I purposely made sure that the bursts were unevenly  covered with the silver leaf to give me more of that grunge look.


Next I taped off the outside of my glass and followed the same spraying procedure as in the one above. A misting of water first, then a couple of thin coats of the spray paint. This time I let the glass container dry on it’s side, rolling it gently to let the paint and water run-off go sideways, just for a different pattern.


And here’s the finished product!


So there you have it! 3 Faux Mercury Glass projects!

And even after all that (4 projects, counting the fake pumpkin fail) the spray paint can seems to still be at least half full! So it seems that it goes a LONG way!

I will update this post once I have done over our living room and the mercury glass items have found their “prime” decoration spot Love Struck

I hope you enjoyed these tutorials!

Have a lovely day!

Linking to:


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  1. Love your creativity and your cleverness! Thanks for posting about your faux mercury glass techniques, so well done. I love the way your projects came out, just enough vintage bling and silvery shine to look fabulous. Gorgeous all the way.

  2. Birgit - Fantastic tutorials! I love how the pumpkin turned out! I have one of those glass jars and think it needs a little makeover! Great job! Thanks so much for linking to The Sunday Showcase. I'll be featuring this today. Stop by and grab a featured button if you like. Hope you have a wonderful week. ~ Stephanie Lynn

  3. Thanks for the great tutorials!! :) I bet the Shaklee Basic H2 would take that paint right off your door without having to paint it! :) Might be worth a shot!

  4. Ohhh, I have some of that coming (hopefully soon!) so I'll give that a try! I'll let you know if it works! Thanks, Beth!

  5. I love all three ways. Everything turned out fabulous. My favorite was the last one with the snowflakes.

  6. Thanks for sharing. You are a Superstar this week!

  7. Beautiful! I have a can of this spraypaint with a similar idea in mind! LOl Great minds DIY alike. I just haven't used mine yet. It's good to see that the results are amazing! Thanks so much for linking to the DIY Fall Festival! ;)

    Happy Fall!

  8. I am in love with the silver pumpkin! One reason is because I have one just like it and have been wanting to do something with it for a lllooonnnggg time. I am definitely going to give this a try ;o)

  9. Thanks so much! That was a great tutorial. I keep mulling over trying this and putting it off. You've encouraged me! Lisa~

  10. Oh my goodness I am loving this!! I love mercury glass and now I can make me some!!!!! Yea!!

    bee blessed

  11. I think my jaw dropped a further at each method! That last one is spectacular! I really, really have to try that. Love it!

  12. Hi Birgit, I thought your post on mercury glass was really good and I made reference to it on my blog here:


    ~ Heather

  13. I think I'm going to have to give this a whirl. The results are just so pretty!

  14. Thanks for the three tutorials. Awesome!


  15. I love this! I can't wait to try. Great tutorial!

  16. Loved your project and sense of humor! Fabulous results!

  17. Birgit,
    Awesome job. I love the fact that you have 3 different effects.

    Thanks for entering the DIY Club. We look forward to getting to know you better.


  18. Congrats on making the Top 10 at the DIY Club, great project, love how they came out. I have some Krylon Looking glass on order...looking to trying this out

  19. I love love love your "mercury glass" with the stencil snowflakes! Fantastic! :)

  20. You can mix the water with vinegar. Sometimes it forms bubbles that I pop with paper towel. It does dry fast! BTW, great site.

  21. Hi ....
    absolutely beautiful all three of them ....but esp the last project....i just loved it....i have been working with the same for last 5-6 months ,but yet to post the pic on my blog(new to blogging,so i don't know in n outs as yet)....
    gonna try something similar to your last project...thanks for sharing...

  22. I love these and your post on alcohol inks made with kool-ade! Fabulous stuff! Thanks for getting me started on another addiction/hobby :)
    Kassie aka "Mom"

  23. Love how these turned out, will have to give this a try. Thanks for the inspiration.

  24. Great tutorial! I might try this to Mercury Glass my bowling ball for the garden. What if you sprayed [gently] with cooking spray? It wouldn't evaporate and could be sprayed over and left until paint dried. Then if you gently wiped it off, would the oil spots break through the paint leaving polka-dots of clear glass? Just a thought.

  25. W O W - This it TOO cool! I just found your blog and am now your newest stalker - I can't help it! Your projects (and explanations) make me drool. This technique is fabulous and now I'm having involuntary tics waiting for the crafting big box store to open. (Thank goodness they are used to seeing me in this state...I would hate to scare small children with these involuntary tics and the drool frothing from my mouth. I *try* to appear semi-normal when out in public. For my kids' sake.) I'm wondering if anyone ever tried Deborah's idea regarding the cooking spray? I suppose I'll have to assume the horrific task of experimenting with both. The hardships of being a creative type.

    Thank you again for sharing your "arsperiments", Oh Mighty One. I will refrain from commenting on ALL of your fascinating posts - aren't you the lucky one?! - and hope this note sufficiently conveys my awe and gratitude. My neighbors were probably around when Lincoln was shot and although sweet, I don't think they appreciate my creative shenanigans. Or maybe they do? Witnessing a middle-aged woman in the throes of her latest creative pursuits (which are really harebrained antics clearly not familiar with the concepts of "planning" or "thinking things through"!) could be the highlight of their days? Whatever the case, I wish you were my neighbor...the fun we would have! :)

    Thanks again - this has been a fun ride! xx


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Birgit Kerr