DIY Decor

THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS

diy mercury glass after

I’ve been seeing Krylon’s Looking Glass spray paint on the blog-circuit (particularly the “DIY Mercury Glass”) for a while now and I’ve been dying to try it out! So off I went to three local craft stores, Sherwin William’s, Lowe’s, and Home Depot and everywhere I went, they were out or hadn’t heard of it. Therefore, I eneded up ordering it online from Hobby Lobby. It wasn’t the most economical option, but I was being rather impatient at the moment. A few days later, the spray paint came in the mail and I was off to work. About 24 hours later, this is what I ended up with…

Pretty cool, huh? I didn’t go by any particular DIY Mercury Glass tutorial (there are a lot of them out there!) but I ended up forming a concoction of methods to get the result I was looking for. Plus, I wasn’t necessarily looking for a “Mercury Glass look”, just something cool that would give me an excuse to try this paint out. To do this project yourself, here’s what you need: Krylon’s Looking Glass Spray Paint, spray bottle (filled with water), glossy black enamel paint, metallic glossy gold enamel paint, scrub sponge, paint brush, and a glass piece you want to paint (I picked up this particular piece at Ben Franklin Crafts for $3 bucks).

Start out by covering the outside of the glass with a few magazine pages and painters tape to prevent getting spray paint on the outside. This step is optional, but I did it just in case. If you end up getting a little on the glass, don’t worry. It scratches right off. Make sure your glass is super clean (especially on the inside). If you leave smudges, it will cause the “mirror” effect to be a little cloudy and not as reflective. Once the glass is sparkling clean, lightly spray the inside of the glass with water – just enough to form some good-sized water beads.

Note: Rather than doing it outside in the rain, I decided to do this project in the laundry room. I don’t recommend it, though! Even with an open window, it got realllly smelly in there. And there may or may not be some reflective paint on the wall to the right of the washer. Whoops!

Right after you spray the water, lightly coat the inside of the glass with the Looking Glass spray paint. Since you’re probably going to be spraying inside a relatively small surface, it’s hard to do even sprays. Just try to keep things as even as possible. Like any spray paint project, it’s best to do a lot of very fine coats than a few thick coats. After each coat, quickly turn the glass upside down to dry. When you turn it upside down, the paint will run but that’s okay! That’s a part of what gives the finished project an aged glass look.

Make sure you put the glass (upside down) on a drying rack so air can get in there to dry both the paint and the water. If you don’t have a drying rack on hand, balance it on two upside down paper bowls. That’s what I did and it worked out really well and I didn’t have to worry about getting paint on anything (else).

About 4 coats later, here’s what the glass looked like…

It almost looks cool enough just like that, doesn’t it? I thought so, but I wanted to go for a more aged look. After the glass is completely dry, it’s time for a little bit of enamel paint. This step was a tad intimidating before I got started, but it ended up being really easy and fun. Start out by using the scrubbing sponge to scratch away some of the Looking Glass spray paint here and there. There’s no science to this, so just do what you think looks good. Here’s what it looked like in the beginning stages…

After you rough up the inside, apply thin layers of the black and gold enamel paint using your paint brush. I ended up mixing the gold and black paint here and there to make it look a little more blended and less choppy.

Rather than thinking about how it was looking compared to “real” mercury glass, I just focused on making it look cool. As a side note, if you’re planning on using your piece as a candle holder, remember not to go to heavy on the enamel paint. You still want the candle light to shine though. Like I said before, this isn’t a science, so just do what you think looks good. It’s kind of like applying makeup: you have to know when to stop. Too much scratching/painting will take away the mirrored aspect. So just be sure to not overdo it.

If you get to a point where you aren’t sure if you should keep going or not, go ahead and put it down for a few minutes (or even a few hours) and come back to it later. With this project, it’s totally okay if you let it dry and come back to it later. There’s really no right or wrong way to do it!

A scratch here, a scratch there, a dab of paint here, a dab of paint there, and, once again, here’s what the final product looks like…

The candle gives it a really cool glowing effect at night…

The total price tag for this DIY project was around $20 (the spray paint was a little more expensive because I had to order it). Not bad for a one-of-a-kind accessory! It looks just like something you would buy at a home decor store. However, I secretly love it when I can say, “I made that!”. Well, sort of… I don’t know how to blow glass… yet. ; )

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24 Comments

  • Reply
    Elise
    June 22, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Oh my word- this is SO great! This project is definitely going on the top of my list to try this summer! I love how yours looks with the candle lit up inside – the texture of the glass is just awesome! Nicely done!

  • Reply
    Leigh P
    June 22, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    You’re always so neat! I’m going to try this, but I won’t be taking pictures!  Can’t wait!

  • Reply
    Ginger Mier
    June 22, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    I LOVE Hobby Lobby! I went to one in Tennessee and fell in love…great prices! We don’t have one where we live though:(

  • Reply
    Juanita Gee
    June 22, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Ashley, I love this project! I will be doing this!

  • Reply
    MANDIE V
    June 22, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    One suggestion might be if you have to work indoors to use an opened-sided box for the spray painting. I learned this the hard way when i was spray painting a ceramic bird andI got a fine mist of white paint all over my kitchen! Not good! Great post guys!

  • Reply
    Bee Kaye
    June 22, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    I so enjoy reading your blog. Where did you get your bird dish?

    • Reply
      Ashley
      June 22, 2011 at 1:00 pm

      Thank you! Greg got it for me from Pottery Barn last year. However, I’ve seen very similar dishes at flea markets/antique stores for just around $6-$12.

  • Reply
    Leah S
    June 22, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    Thank you! I’m doing a bridal shower in September. I’m going to make mercury glass to use with the centerpieces. It will be perfect! I wanted something to add that extra little pop and this is it! I’ll try to remember to send pictures of the shower. I’m so excited! Thanks again:)

  • Reply
    Millie
    June 22, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    Great job!

  • Reply
    Tina
    June 22, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Just saw your post on Facebook’s BYW page. Love the blog and really enjoyed this DIY post πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Sarah G.
    June 22, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Do you think the spray paint on the inside will be affected by the candle at all?? Just curious. I love it though!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      June 23, 2011 at 11:20 am

      I don’t believe so. However, to be safe, it would be a good idea to seal it with a non-flamable acrylic sealer.

  • Reply
    Krista of Hopeless Chest
    June 22, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    BEAUTIFUL!!!! Great job. It looks fantastic all lit up.

  • Reply
    Kelly @ View Along the Way
    June 23, 2011 at 10:45 am

    That is so pretty! Now you’re making me think I better go snatch some of that stuff up myself! But then everything – and the dog – would end up mercury glass. πŸ˜‰

  • Reply
    Lindsey
    July 20, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    my best friend and i are going to do this for her wedding centerpieces. i have some vintage textures jars and vases to which I’m going to take this looking glass spray. What a neat way to liven up an ordinary vase… I will definately be sending you the results. Can’t wait!

  • Reply
    Favorite Links – Week of July 25, 2011 ~ the homepodge blog
    August 1, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    […] From 7th House on the Left — View the Tutorial » […]

  • Reply
    Jae
    August 4, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    I’m reading your post after I tried this myself and you have good tips! I was so enamored with the paint that I plan to do several more glass pieces. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Debbie Perkins
    February 25, 2012 at 9:11 am

    Hi!…I looked all over Mobile, Alabama at ALL the craft stores and hardware stores looking for this paint. I spent sooo much money on the “other” stuff trying to get this look. Nothing looked like what I wanted, not by ANY stretch of the imagination. Yours is awesome. I have MG all over my house. I use it for Christmas and just never put it up. I guess that I will have to order on line so I can add to my stash. Thanks for the info and wish us all luck. I really feel a thrift store run coming on. I want a LAMP!! Think big ya’ll.

  • Reply
    Emily
    March 29, 2012 at 8:50 am

    Great tutorial! Do you think this will turn out the same or as well if I paint the exterior surface with the Looking Glass spray paint? I have a lamp from Goodwill I want to transform but it’s brass & ceramic. Any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      March 29, 2012 at 12:49 pm

      Thanks! Unfortunately, if you paint the exterior surface, the results won’t be the same because the paint is formulated to build the reflective sheen on the reverse side. So the finish might not be as reflective, but it might still look really cool, you never know! Since you’re reversing the process, I’d paint them black first then add the layers of Looking Glass. That way, when you distress it, the black will show through. Hope that helps!! : )

  • Reply
    linda
    November 4, 2012 at 8:44 am

    this is just the look I’ve been wanting

  • Reply
    Rainey
    June 14, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    I was thinking about using this on the under side of a glass dining table but im worried it will scratch off. I see that you used black and gold emamel paint…does that seal it enough to keep it from scratching off the inside of your candle holder?

    • Reply
      Ashley
      June 15, 2014 at 5:11 pm

      It sealed it pretty well, but you could always use a clear polyurethane to seal the deal.

  • Reply
    Barbara
    May 8, 2016 at 11:10 am

    I’m looking through DIY ideas for classy items for my daughter’s small wedding in about a year and this is a very classy way to do for/with votive candles, that I will definitely fun by her to see if she likes the idea. It looks wonderful!!
    I just wish I could pin it to the site for her wedding stuff as it’s easier to keep my ideas for her organized that way than on my usual pieces of paper/p[ads that I cannot find later, but that’s a different conversation! LOL

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