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How to Make Mercury Glass

How to Make Mercury Glass | Mercury Glass | DIY Mercury Glass | Crafts | How to Make New Glass to Mercury Glass | Faux Mercury Glass | Recycled Vase Ideas | Gift IDeas | DIY Antique GlassThis is a guest post by Claire @ A Little Claireification

Today I am so happy to introduce you to my adorable friend Claire.  I first “met” Claire over two years ago when she discovered my goofy You Tube videos and became an expert coupon-user, regular blog reader, and frequent commenter.   I was lucky enough to meet her in person this past January at the Beech Retreat, and then again at Blissdom, and she is a joy to be around.  Be sure to check out all the amazing recipes and thrifty craft projects on her great blogA Little Claireification.

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Hi there! I’m Claire! I am so tickled to be here at Living Well Spending Less, today. I have followed along with Ruth for over two years now, so this is such a treat! I am also super excited to share this easy DIY Mercury Glass tutorial. Just like Ruth, I too love easy and budget-friendly ideas and this one definitely fits that bill!

There are so many Mercury Glass projects out there all over Pinterest and and I have always wanted to try it myself . I actually cannot believe I waited so long – it’s just really “stupid easy” but… the caveat is this:

WARNING {danger, danger!}:
Making your own mercury glass is HIGHLY addictive! You might just be tempted to transform every piece of clear glass in your house so, please. Proceed with caution. 😉

You’ll need the following things to get started:

  • “Looking Glass” mirror-like spray paint by Krylon (this is the most expensive part of the project as a can costs about $10 BUT… if you take a coupon to your favorite craft store, you can most likely get it get it for 40-50% off – yay! I actually had a $5 off coupon for Ace Hardware so that is where I purchased mine.
  • White Vinegar
  • Water
  • A clean spray bottle
  • Paper towels or a soft rag for blotting
  • Clear glass pieces you want to transform (I am a little obsessive about candles so I already had all sorts of things on hand, but you can also easily thrift some clear glass items for .50-$1.00 each)

First, I looked around the house and rounded up my little glass collection.

How to Make Mercury Glass | Mercury Glass | DIY Mercury Glass | Crafts | How to Make New Glass to Mercury Glass | Faux Mercury Glass | Recycled Vase Ideas | Gift IDeas | DIY Antique Glass

You want to make sure the items you will be painting are clean and completely dry {clearly I had to wash these after the picture!}.

In the spray bottle, mix 50% water with 50% white vinegar. I used about 1/4 cup of each and that was plenty.

I started with a mini glass “hurricane” – I have at least 20 of these that I bought years ago and I use them for outside parties. You can find something similar at the dollar store.

How to Make Mercury Glass | Mercury Glass | DIY Mercury Glass | Crafts | How to Make New Glass to Mercury Glass | Faux Mercury Glass | Recycled Vase Ideas | Gift IDeas | DIY Antique Glass

Now, if you read the directions on the “Looking Glass” spray, it says to spray the INSIDE of the piece. Well {little, redheaded rebel that I am} I bucked THAT whole system after loads of research online and I decided to apply it on the OUTSIDE. Not only is it more manageable to distress but, hello? I’d also like to actually USE these pieces for flowers or candles, etc.

I placed the glass upside down on some newspapers and got ready to go. You want to do one piece at a time since you have to work fast, so have your vinegar solution and {well shaken} “Looking Glass” spray standing by.

Start by lightly misting the glass all over with the vinegar solution. You want little beads, not a runny mess so this was a little bit of trial and error for me too. Immediately spray a very thin coat of “Looking Glass” spray, lightly coating the outside of the glass.

How to Make Mercury Glass | Mercury Glass | DIY Mercury Glass | Crafts | How to Make New Glass to Mercury Glass | Faux Mercury Glass | Recycled Vase Ideas | Gift IDeas | DIY Antique Glass

You can see I did have a few drops that were running on this first attempt, but that’s ok. Each piece is going to look very different which is the cool thing about mercury glass. After one minute, lightly blot the glass with a soft rag or paper towel. You can use a light circular motion – I pressed a little harder in some areas to distress the paint. In some spots it even removes the paint, giving it a very worn or crackly look.

I repeated this process three times – mist with the vinegar, spray with”Looking Glass”, allow to set for 30 seconds to one minute and then distress. Wait a minute or two and repeat. I turned my pieces right side up for the last 1-2 coats to cover the lip of each. You can add as many coats as you would like. I stuck with 3-4 on all of my pieces.

Here’s a look at the Hurricanes before and after. Love.

How to Make Mercury Glass | Mercury Glass | DIY Mercury Glass | Crafts | How to Make New Glass to Mercury Glass | Faux Mercury Glass | Recycled Vase Ideas | Gift IDeas | DIY Antique Glass

Next up, a random glass vase that was under my kitchen sink. I could not even tell you where it came from but I know I did not buy it so it must have come with some flowers I received at one point. I used the same method, working quickly to distress between coats.

How to Make Mercury Glass | Mercury Glass | DIY Mercury Glass | Crafts | How to Make New Glass to Mercury Glass | Faux Mercury Glass | Recycled Vase Ideas | Gift IDeas | DIY Antique Glass

The possibilities are pretty endless! I also used a glass votive and a jam jar since I have been saving those (repeat after me: “I am not a hoarder, I am a crafter.”) But I AM just a smucker sucker for before and afters:

How to Make Mercury Glass | Mercury Glass | DIY Mercury Glass | Crafts | How to Make New Glass to Mercury Glass | Faux Mercury Glass | Recycled Vase Ideas | Gift IDeas | DIY Antique Glass

The glass on the votives already had a pattern so I used the least amount of spray on these. Very “Anthropologie” like! And I still have a little “Looking Glass” spray left after these 4 pieces so now I am keeping an eye out for which thing I want to cover next.

I hope you have a chance to try it out out soon – it really is so easy to do! You can find out a little more about me {& my cheese addiction & crazy obstacle course mud run obsession & more} HERE, so come on over and say hello – I would absolutely love to hear about any mercury glass projects you make, or have already made, too.

Thanks so much again for having me over today, Ruth!!

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Thank you SO much Claire for this awesome tutorial!  If you are interested in guest posting at LWSL please email me at ruth@livingwellspendingless.com for guest post guidelines!

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Isn’t that the coolest DiY project ever?  I am so excited to try this!!  Have you ever made your own mercury glass?

63 Comments

  1. Amanda
    April 23 at 08:47AM

    This is really cool! I had no idea you could make your own mercury glass but I really want to give this a try! Thanks for the tutorial Claire. I’ve seen your comments before, but it is nice to “meet” you! 🙂

    • April 23 at 05:36PM

      Thanks Amanda! So nice to “meet” you as well! 🙂

      • michele
        July 22 at 08:40PM

        Hey There,
        I live in Canada and am not able to find the “Looking Glass” product anywhere. Do you know a Krylon – Looking Glass supplier? Thanks for your help !

        • Nancy
          September 16 at 03:51PM

          Hi Michele, I looked everywhere, even resorted to calling Krylon directly, and for some insane reason, they do not distribute Looking Glass in Canada. The service rep even attempted to send me a sample can, but was unable to do so. 🙁 She did send me a sample of another specialty paint, so that was pretty cool. I ended up begging my sister who was going to the US for a camping trip to scour the stores for me and brought back two cans. Just got them yesterday, so I haven’t had a chance to try out any project yet, but definitely looking forward to it!!

          • April 11 at 08:07AM

            Michael’s suggest using Krylon Colormaster Metallic Silver Spray Paint, $10.99

      • mamasnook jayne
        February 21 at 08:12PM

        have you ever done a french door window with it , im thinking about doing it. wanted a little bit of privacy in the other room dont really want to use curtains sooooo

        • February 21 at 08:41PM

          Well, here’s my thought on this. I would do a test on a piece of glass and see what you think as far as how much light is coming in and the finish, etc. I’d likely recommend a vinyl frost before this application on a French door because it does lend privacy but lets the light shine through AND…. it’s easily removable. 🙂
          Hope that helps! – Claire

  2. April 23 at 09:24AM

    I LOVE the way this looks! Definitely making it soon.

  3. Claire! So fun and easy. LOVE the ball jar one!!

    • April 23 at 05:38PM

      Well hi there, pretty lady! Thanks for your sweet comment and looking forward to reading the Ditto DiY series with you and Ruth and the whole gang! Hope you are well! xoxo, Claire

  4. Barb
    April 23 at 01:44PM

    Very pretty. Great job!

  5. April 23 at 09:18PM

    wow, this looks amazing! wonder if i could do a gold version…

  6. April 23 at 11:01PM

    This seems pretty easy! I might have to try this one day. I love the way the jars look!

  7. Melissa N
    April 25 at 11:02AM

    Love it! Can’t wait to try. thanks for sharing!

  8. Melissa N
    April 25 at 11:03AM

    I especially love the smuckers jar!

  9. Annie M
    May 2 at 09:25PM

    I have the can of Looking Glass and was wondering if you knew if it could be done on opaque pieces? I have two cream ceramic lamps I wanted to try it on… Was hoping you might know how it would turn out.

  10. Gemma L
    May 9 at 06:40AM

    Hi, Im looking to make some DIY mercury vases for my wedding so on finding your post i was very happy!! However I live in the UK and can’t seem to find a stockist for Krylon. Have you tried any alternatives?

    • Anonymous
      February 27 at 02:54AM

      Amazon, although it is about £20!

  11. Anonymous
    June 22 at 03:46PM

    Sounds easy and looks great.

  12. michele
    July 22 at 08:38PM

    I would love to try this, however, I cannot find the Looking Glass anywhere here in Canada in Ottawa, Ontario. Does anyone know where I can purchase it? Thanks for your help!

    • Anonymous
      July 25 at 11:58PM

      Michele,

      I’m not sure if this is too far for you to travel, but the Ace Hardware at this location is a supplier for Krylon Specialty paints. You might try giving them a call and seeing if they carry the Looking Glass mirror-like paint or if they could order it for you?

      QUINCAILLERIE CANTLEY
      267 MONTEE DE LA SOURCE
      CANTLEY, QC J8V 3L4
      819-827-3778

      Best of luck!

      ~ Jenn

  13. Anonymous
    August 4 at 12:01PM

    I am excited to try this, I love mercury glass.I hope to do a lamp but will practice on dollar store vases. Thank you for your clear directions.

    Suzie

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  15. Alan Bronstin
    August 13 at 03:55PM

    Love. Love love this stuff. Just finally found it last week and have been experimenting. While I agree that if you want to use your vase afterwards you have to paint it on the outside. You get a much more mirrored finish by painting the inside. Have you tried baking it afterwards? Ya know like those sharpie on ceramic things? 350 for an hour or two. Ill let you know if it works I’m gonna try myself soon. Plus I wanted to see what it looks like on a glossy ceramic surface. So I took 2 old vases and painted one gloss white and one gloss black. Then sprayed the looking glass. The white looks a bit like pewter. Really beautiful but not he look I wanted. The black is much more mirror like. If you try baking it, please let me know how it turns out. Thanx.

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  17. Sue Stone
    October 21 at 03:24PM

    This was so easy! My vase turned out beautiful. I had tried another method and just was not happy with the results. It was just ‘okay’. I wanted a ‘WOW’. This method gave me that ‘WOW’. Thank you so much for sharing. I cannot get enough mercury glass. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!!!!!

  18. katie
    November 21 at 09:37PM

    I love this – thank you for taking the time to explain it so well. I was wondering if it had to be done on glass. I want to do a frame with the mercury glass look.

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  20. Denise
    January 2 at 03:40PM

    Hello,

    Can you tell if this technique can be used on a light pendant? Once the paint is dry can ( on the outside ) can a 60 watt bulb be too hot and melt the paint?

    Please advise and Thank you!

  21. January 9 at 11:16AM

    H, is there a danger with burning a candle in a finished product because of the spray paint? Also, is this harmful for fresh flowers?

  22. Marti
    January 19 at 03:45PM

    Any idea how I might create fas mercury glass finishes in blues or greens; the Krylon Mirror-like spray is offered in only one finish.

  23. Marti
    January 19 at 03:48PM

    excuse the misspelling — it’s ‘faux’ mercury glass finishes I’m after!
    After thinking a moment, would tints of a colored glass come through a light coating or two of mirror-glass spray?

  24. deborah
    March 29 at 04:24PM

    Wonder if you can do a glass top coffee table. I think that would. Be pretty.

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  28. Jackie
    July 13 at 04:06PM

    Thanks so much for this tutorial! I’ve just done one vase so far because it’s to dang hot here in Texas to do more! It really turned out great, thanks! My daughter and I found some pretty mercury glass votive vases but they were too expensive for how many we needed for her wedding. But now I can do some dollar store finds for a whole lot cheaper! Thanks again!

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  31. December 15 at 10:15AM

    Absolutely love this!

  32. Shabby Sherrie
    January 31 at 10:58AM

    You were first on Google when I went looking for directions on how to the mercury glass (Congratulations!).

    I see antique pieces all the time (usually because I never go into a store that sells new items, lol), and see very old mirrors that have the chippy, mercury look just because of the age. I love this as it really authenticates the age of an item.

    My question is if you have ever tried to add in any black paint or something that would come out looking like an old mirror looks when it has made the rounds for 100+ years. I love this look too. Do you have any suggestions or have you tried to replicate this at all? I thought I would ask before I go to the trial and error — thus using your expertise before I paint everything I own! I do absolutely love this looks. I would love to give my bathroom mirror a worn look (maybe leaving a huge area in the center . . . ) but keeping enough — giving it a look to match the rest of the room I have worked to make look old!

    Thanks you!
    Sherrie – Houston

  33. Kelly
    May 23 at 11:36AM

    I am wanting to try this. If you do the finish on the outside, does it come off easily with use?

  34. May 31 at 12:23PM

    What a great post!! I am trying this in a few minutes on an old lamp I just got at a yard sale!! I am also going to spray the outside, as the glass is not perfectly clear, so the mercury glass look will show up much better on the outside!

  35. patti
    June 1 at 07:52PM

    Well, I followed your directions but had a less than satisfactory result. Then, I read the directions on the Krylon panel and it explained that the reason they instruct you to spray the Inside of the vase is that the mirror effect of the paint only shows on the outside of the surface that you paint. My 3 vases all looked very flat and boring…no shine at all like my other mercury glass. So, I would not follow your instructions again…and I wasted $25 on the spray paint and messed up 3 of my nice glass vases 🙁

  36. Geri Albright
    November 6 at 11:33PM

    There is a program on the GAC channel where two teams do three makeover projects using items from a flea market. one team made a folding screen using three long windows with aged wood frames. They used a faux mercury glass finish on the windows. It was beautiful. However, they did not tell the process. So I’ve looking for this information for a while. Can you wash the glass by hand?

  37. Deborah Connolly
    February 23 at 10:59AM

    I am loving the idea of making my own mercury glass vases. Is it possible to just have the mercury be shiny and not antigued? If so; how? Thank you in advance for any help you can offer, Deborah of Westford, Massachusetts

  38. saundra luteterek
    March 9 at 03:09PM

    i am doing a cabinet with glass doors do i do the end side or outside of the glass

    • Ruth Soukup
      March 9 at 03:12PM

      You might want to try and do the outside of the glass since that is how the tutorial is done. 🙂

  39. March 12 at 11:51PM

    I’d like to do “gold” mercury glass. How would I go about achieving this finish?
    Thank you in advance for any information you provide!
    Cynthia from Ohio

  40. Gail Morey
    April 18 at 08:29AM

    I have tried spraying the inside and outside depending on the piece I’m doing. I have a few I haven’t started yet, but I think I’ll do the outside. It would definitely be easier. I’m using a sealer on the ones I do on the outside.

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