I’ve been in love with Mercury glass since I was a little girl, helping my parents decorate our Christmas tree with the glass ornaments from their childhood. There’s something about that rich, mottled pewter tone that spoke to me even in my pre-teens.
These days, Mercury glass can be found in stores like Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrel. But the real Mercury glass explosion can be found on Pinterest, where a quick search reveals dozens of pins linking to instructions for making Mercury glass vases, lamps, candlesticks, and more.
I confess, I was intrigued. So I decided to embark on my own Mercury Glass DIY adventure, in the hopes of creating attractive, yet affordable, table decor.
First, I did some research. Most of the DIYs I found on Pinterest referenced the Martha Stewart method. Nice, but I wanted a bit more opacity, and a warmer metallic tone in my end product.
Then I found another pin directing me to a blog by Salvage Savvy. The author, Connie, added a few more steps to Martha’s technique, resulting in a richer color and more mottled effect. Bingo!
I started with some clear glass bowls I bought at Michael’s for $1 a piece. While many of the bloggers I researched directed people to the Dollar Store to purchase their glass vases, etc., I was happy to find something that was made in the U.S. Here’s my proof that my bowl was “Made in the U.S.A.”
I didn’t find the Krylon Looking Glass spray paint locally — I had to order it from Amazon.com.
I also had a hard time finding a metallic gold spray paint. There were lots of rubbed bronze and shiny bronze and a couple of stores carried copper and silver, but no gold. I finally scored some at a small hobby supply store in town.
After reading the instructions — twice — it was time to get started.
Here’s the “before” photo of the glass bowls. I really liked the fluted design and thought it would show off the Mercury effect really well.
In her instructions, Connie recommended masking off the rim and exterior of the item to be painted. I decided to try using inexpensive aluminum foil, because I was concerned about a sticky residue from the tape. But after the first light coat of mirror paint, I decided to ditch the foil since it was too difficult to see how much spray paint I was applying.
Where Connie’s technique differs from Martha’s is in the application of gold spray paint near the end of the process. The gold paint adds a richer, warmer tone to the silver looking glass paint and makes the effect look like it has worn over time (like a real antique).
I’m not 100% pleased with my end result; I think I need to add more “mottling” by roughing up the inside a bit and adding another quick hit of gold paint. But I have to admit that it’s not bad for my first time and looks as least as good as something you’d see at Pier One for $20.