Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Have Mercy, it's Mercury Glass!

It seems like every blog I look at lately has a tutorial on making faux mercury glass. I was feeling a little out of the loop so I decided I had better give it a try. After prowling around a ton of blogs, I found one girl who posted the best instructions, then I tweaked a few things and ended up with 3 faux mercury pieces that I think I actually fell in love with a little bit. The look of mercury glass is so gorgeous it makes my heart flutter. Ok, maybe it's the Valentine season, but I can't get enough of it. You all probably know the history of it, but in case you don't here it is. Mercury glass was known as "poor man's silver" (just my kind!) From the early 1800's until the 1930's it was made for people who couldn't afford silver. They would pour silver nitrate (not really mercury) into a double paned glass object, like a vase, then seal it up. Over time, it would tarnish and get mottled looking, even sometimes almost see-through. I have always wanted a collection of mercury glass, but since there is no way to afford it, you know I gotta make it!
 So I went to the usual, Deseret Industries, looking for a few vases to use. I found 3 for about 50 cents each. And while I was there I saw some amazing crystal pieces (who gives that away??) for about a buck each. Didn't buy them...had to focus on the task at hand! I really had my heart set on putting flowers in them for V-Day, so I bought some that would make a good grouping. I ended up not using the big one, but added a little small votive style piece with a lid. Every blog I read said to use Krylon's "Looking Glass" spray paint. It will make anything made of glass into a mirror finish. Probably the coolest invention in spray paint. Ever. You do have to spray it on the reverse side though, which means you have to spray the inside of the vase. I also ended up spraying the outside of the vase because it seemed like it needed more dimension. 
     It took almost 8 or so very thin coats to cover the vases, so pretty much the whole little can. And as an aside, since I can never remember to wear gloves, it actually looked kind of cool on my fingernails, but I opted to clean them up after. And talk about your noxious fumes. It is potent as can be and I probably killed more brain cells than I usually do spraying things. But oh, is it worth the end result. They all looked like solid silver vases! I was beyond happy. I almost didn't distress them, but in the end, I knew in order to make them look genuine, I had to. And I am so very happy I did. The cute blogger girl told me to use a half vinegar and water solution and spray it into the vase and let it sit for a bit, then gently start wiping it. The vinegar starts to eat away at the paint and this is what gives it the old, tarnished, see-through look that is so unbelievably beautiful.
     So after I started to wipe it off and held it up to the light, my true relationship with mercury glass went into full swing. So much love. I went berserk with taking pictures. I couldn't stop myself from taking them at every angle: with candles, with flowers, with nothing in them at all! So sorry to be indulgent but I am going to post my little photo frenzy, first of the process of antiquing them...

Holding it up to the light for the first time made me a little giddy I must admit.
And with candles...
And my favorite, as a vase...
I saw tons of wedding blogs showing people using these as wedding decor. I can see why people scavenge around trying to find real mercury glass.
It's hard to believe that $1.50 worth of glass and a can of spray paint could bring me so much happiness. I'm starting to think maybe I need to get out more.


  1. Wow, this is beautiful!!

  2. Shut up! You kill me! Why are you not famous or on Oprah or the Nate Berkus show or something? For reals!

  3. Thanks ladies! There are so many fun tutorials out there and I just had to try this. My next project is to do depression glass. I love ruby glass and milk glass, so I will give it a try! Ren, feel free to send my blog to Oprah or Nate! Would that be too fun??

  4. You are so cool. I love your talent for making things beautiful. It's just a reflection of who you are.

    so much love.