How To Make Your Own Mercury Glass
These DIY mercury glass votives are so easy to make, you'll want to make hundreds of them! No doubt about it, Pottery Barn's mercury glass everything is stunning. I am always drawn to the antique charm of it, but I hate the price tag. Sometimes, you're lucky enough to find some great pieces at Homegoods for a great price, but unfortunately for me, the only thing I've got access to is a dollar general and antique shops. So sometimes, I've got to get a little crafty.
Our wedding glassware is mostly gold mercury glass, and instead of renting the expensive stuff, I wanted to try a shot at making my own! This would work really well with clear glass ornaments or anything with a round shape. I wouldn't try an elaborate shape until you've mastered the previously mentioned.
- Looking Glass Spray
- Gold Paint
- Clear Glass Objects
- Hair Dryer
- Spray Bottle Filled With Water
- Damp Paper Towel
I originally was going off of this tutorial, but I made tweaks that I thought worked best for me.
Step 1: Mist your glass object with water and swirl it all around; you want different sized water droplets to remain, but you don't want a pool of water at the bottom. (You'll get really good at swirling but the end of this).
Step 2: Spray a GENEROUS amount of looking glass spray into your object, careful to not get any on the exterior of the glass.
Step 3: Swirl vigorously, making sure the paint reaches every nook and cranny of the glass. I tipped my glass to the side and gently rolled the glass to get the upper rim.
Step 4: Dump out any excess spray into a container, use your damp paper towel to wipe off any spray that may have gotten onto the exterior of the glass.
Step 5: Use a hair dryer to dry the spray. I mean really dry. Don't skip this part!
Step 6: Mix gold paint with a some water so that it will easily swirl around the glass (I suggest a 1:1 ratio; you want it pretty watery). Then pour this mixture into your glass. I recommend mixing the paint and water in a separate container beforehand rather than mixing it in your glass object, because the spray seemed to easily detach from the glass.
Step 7: Swirl the gold paint mixture around your glass to evenly coat all areas inside. Then, pour out any excess into your 'dump' container. If you're impatient like me, you can use your hair dryer again to help speed up the dry time, but don't use these until they're really dry!
My Two Cents:
The looking glass spray is like a film that coats the glass, you can easily scratch it off of the exterior of your object if any gets on it. Likewise, it is easily removed from the inside of the glass. This is why I found it best to mist the inside with water before spraying the looking glass spray rather than after. The water droplets repel the spray, so it is important to find the goldilocks zone of water sprayed - spray too much and the film won't stick, but if you don't spray enough, you will just create silver colored glass. Sometimes I found that water got stuck under the film, causing a water bubble - I gently popped the bubble of film to release the trapped water, then blasted it with a hair dryer to make sure it was very dry before adding any gold paint. This took me a few times to master, so I would recommend using a starter piece of glass that won't upset you if it's not perfect.