Wednesday, June 20, 2012

JAXtutorial: DIY mercury glass

with candle 1Making a List, Checking It Twice :  wedding schedule Checkli

Originally posted at

DIY mercury glass is a project that’s been on my to-do list for a while… and now I can check it off, ‘cause the mercury glass is done! Woot! It was a fun and easy project – although my first attempt wasn’t as successful as I’d hoped.

There are a lot of DIY mercury glass tutorials out there that are really similar to each other, so I just picked a random one and ran with it. In a nutshell – spray five light coats of Krylon Looking Glass Paint onto the inside of a glass piece, waiting about a minute between each coat. Let dry for about 5-10 minutes after the last coat, then lightly spray a 50/50 mixture of water and vinegar onto the paint. Let sit for about 20 seconds, then rub with a damp paper towel to remove flakes of the paint, and voila, mercury glass. But my results weren’t exactly what I was hoping for… plus it took a LOT of elbow grease to rub the paint off.

star distressed  star distressed 2

So I decided to do my own thing to create the mercury glass look I was going for. I combined ideas from different tutorials, and came up with a technique that I think created a look that’s pretty close to real mercury glass…

mercury glass votive

Sorry about the lack of in-progress pictures – I was wearing gloves and getting paint all over myself and trying to go fast so I wouldn’t inhale too many fumes, so the camera just sat there watching and not actually taking pictures. But the process is easy…

What you need

  • Krylon Looking Glass Paint
  • 50/50 mixture of water and vinegar in a spray bottle
  • Glass piece with an opening large enough to fit your hand into {check out the Dollar Store}
  • Paper towels
  • Latex gloves

paint]  spray bottleglasses

How to do it

1. Lightly spray the water/vinegar mixture on the inside and outside of the glass piece, and then spray a thin coat of paint on the inside and outside of the glass piece. The instructions on the paint can say to spray it on the inside of the glass ONLY, but what can I say, I’m a rebel ;-) Painting both sides gives the piece a lot more depth. The paint is really thin and runny, so you really do have to go lightly with it. Let dry for about a minute. This is how it looks while it’s drying – not pretty, but don’t worry, it gets better!

vase in process

2. After letting dry for about a minute, put on your latex gloves and gently blot the paint & water with a paper towel. Blot, don’t rub – blotting will give you a mottled texture, rubbing will give you streaks. You won’t have much coverage at this point, but that’s OK – you want to build up layers of paint gradually.

vase close

3. Now it’s up to you to decide how much coverage you want. Keep spraying on light coats of the water/vinegar mixture and the paint, letting dry for about a minute after each application and then blotting with a paper towel until you achieve the look that you’re going for. Hold the glass piece up to a light to see how much coverage you have. I did the spraying/blotting process about six times to get the coverage that I wanted.

with candle 4

4. Once the coverage looks good to you, let the piece dry. You can still mottle the paint if you find there are spots where the paint is too solid. Wet a paper towel with vinegar and gently rub the spot in a circular motion. The paint will flake off – go slowly and don’t rub too hard, you don't want to rub all the paint off!

vae close d60

And just because I like to be different, I thought I’d try making a coloured mercury glass votive holder. I have lots of dye re-inker left over from the glitter balls I made for Christmas, so I used that. I squeezed in enough dye to cover the inside of the votive holder. It was pretty thick and didn’t swoosh around too well, so I spread it around with a paper towel and let it dry for about half an hour. Maybe I should have waited longer, but I was anxious to see if this was going to work :-) Then I followed the same process I used to create the mercury glass. Some more dye came off when I blotted, but there was enough left on the glass to give it a purple hue.

purple 2

votive d60Those are the coloured glass bottles in the background. Easy to make – pour in some paint, add a bit of water to make it thin enough to swoosh around inside the bottle, swoosh till the inside of bottle is covered with paint, turn upside to drain & dry, done!

three 1

three 2

votive close d60

with candle 7

And that’s how easy it is to create your own mercury glass :-) I’d love to create some more pieces, but my lungs need a break from the fumes! It would be better to do this project outside if you can, or at the least in a room with lots of good ventilation.

So what do you think – are you going to take a shot at making your own mercury glass?

kelly sig


  1. Found you at my dear friend Olga's, lovely guest post btw.
    This is brilliant too, got to be the best faux mercury glass I have seen, thanks for the tutorial.
    And as you were talking about an international connection with all things bloggy, just to let you know - I'm English !

  2. i have to tell you -- these are the most amazing replicas i have seen done! absolutely gorgeous -- in the end you can't tell they are not authentic...applause to you my friend!!! thank you for sharing with us all. Jax -- if you ever want to start and etsy shop and you need a little help -- i am here for you and a phone call away...DO IT!!! : ) hugs...

  3. Kelly, where did you get the Krylon Looking Glass Paint?

  4. Kelly -- I love a good tutorial, one that shows some homework and experimentation to come up with something that delivers beautiful results like this. Making Mercury glass is on my list, and I have set it as a goal for Christmas decorations. Meanwhile, I'll be collecting suitable pieces. Thanks for all the tips. Keep it up!