DIY Mercury Glass Tutorial

Thermometers, The Solar System, Queen, my living room.  All things that have an element of mercury in them.

(If you don’t have an ounce of love in your heart for Freddie Mercury, his tight white pants, and his love of holding a microphone stand at a perfect 45 degree angle, I might need to question my friendship with you.)

I saw these vases from West Elm, and wanted them.  They are shiny and bright and covet-able.  They are also $20-$40 per vase.   Um, no.

DIY Mercury Glass Tutorial with picturesSource

I stumbled on this tutorial from 17 Apart, and I knew I could easily make my own mercury-glassed things.

DIY Mercury Glass Tutorial with pictures

It started with a trip to the DI, our local thrift store.  I love that our thrift store is called the DI.  Because then you can say “I put the DI in DIY.”

Their vases and glassware range from $0.50-$1.50.  So I bought several shapes and sizes for under $10.

DIY Mercury Glass Tutorial

The supplies needed are:

Krylon “Looking Glass” spray paint*
-White Vinegar
-Spray bottle
You will mix 1 part water with 1 part vinegar in your spray bottle.  I used 1/4 c each, and that was more than plenty.

*A note about finding Krylon Looking Glass… it took several trips to several stores before I found it at Hobby Lobby.  Also, be prepared to spend about $10 per can.  BUT- I only used one can for all 7 vases.

DIY Mercury Glass Tutorial with pictures

I know you’re not supposed to spray paint when it’s cold.  But I worked in 8 degree weather on Saturday, and they turned out just fine.  Winter ain’t got crap on nobody.  Also… ain’t nobody got time to wait til spring for spray painting.

DIY Mercury Glass Tutorial with pictures

The technique:
Lightly spritz water/vinegar mixture on the glass.  Make sure it’s barely beading.  If it starts running, you’ll have a problem.  After you spritz water, lightly spray a coat of paint.

This spray paint is a different consistency than other spray paints I’ve used.  It’s runnier, so if you spray too much, it WILL run.  Especially with misting your water/vinegar mixture first.  

Many light coats are better.

Let it dry for about 1 minute, and softly blot the glass.  Don’t rub it.  The paint is still wet, so if you rub or blot too hard, it will take the paint off.  

Repeat this process 3 or 4 times, depending on how much coverage you are looking for.  I did these vases 4 times.  They are still slightly see-through.  But I like that look.  You could keep going if you are wanting a more solid look.  Let your artistic desires control you and drive your spray painting hand.

DIY Mercury Glass Tutorial with pictures

I thought this process would take as long as watching Roots twice, but it took maybe an hour at most to get them looking how I wanted.  Kenzie be good.

This should provide you a good enough picture of how it turned out for me.

DIY Mercury Glass Tutorial with pictures

DIY Mercury Glass Tutorial with pictures

DIY Mercury Glass Tutorial with pictures

DIY Mercury Glass Tutorial with pictures

I threw in some pretty pink flowers and slapped these vases on the mantle.

DIY Mercury Glass Tutorial

DIY Mercury Glass Tutorial with pictures

That’s it.  It was simple.  It was cheap.  It was something anyone with any level of talent could do.  The only draw back is, your garage will smell like you’ve been dying Easter eggs.  Or it will smell like salt & vinegar chips.  Whatever.

I am crushing on my finished vases pretty hard.  I love the element it brings to the living room.  I feel like adding metalics is a perfect touch.  I didn’t need more white, or more grey, or more colors… just some shimmer.

That was my weekend.  What sorts of crafty voyages did you take?

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  • Emma (Broke Ass Home)

    Oh dear! There’s something new in your living room! HMMMMM…. PS: LOVE the pink flowers and vases, so much better and brighter than the fleur-dis-lis you had up there before. It looks so happy and springy in there! I wonder if you could do this to the pendulum in the grandfather clock?

    • SHH! Woman! That’s for another post. Also, I love the pink flowers too. I think it’ll be perfect with the fox pillows. I had the same thought regarding the grandfather clock. I have another secret attempt with mercury glass coming soon, and I”m planning on including grandfa-father

  • Bethany @ The Sepia Puppy

    I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time! I really need to get busy. I LOVE the way these look and the pieces you chose! so awesome!

    • Thank you! You could knock them out in less time than an afternoon. It was seriously the quickest spray paint project I”ve ever done.

  • ooh, shiny! they turned out great!

  • LOVE IT. Seriously, I’m ridiculously excited. I’ve wanted to do this forever, but I can never find the spray paint! It’s the unicorn of the DIY world.

    • It was so hard to find. But you CAN order it on Amazon, which is good. I just didn’t want to wait for shipping. When it comes to catching unicorns, i’m ridiculously impatient.

  • Caitlin J.

    Wow, those are so pretty! I really like your translucent vases much better than the solid mercury ones!

  • it’s looking mighty grown up in that room! 🙂 i love it!

    • Don’t worry, I’m going to counter the grown up vibe with some quirky fox pillows. I hope your Kuerig filming went well 🙂

  • Michelle

    These are great! I know Christmas is over now, but I did this a couple years ago with some of those glass Christmas trees that flood Goodwill every year- I even lucked out with some colored glass trees. Mirror paint looks great with colored glass!!

    • That’s a great tip! I’m trying to think of all the things i can spray with mirror paint. I may or may not still have 3 extra cans tucked away 😉

  • I’ve been wanting to try this. Good to know it works! Your living room is awesome!

    • Kenz

      Thanks Michelle! It’s small, but it’s coming together.

  • Haha you kill me. I totally got your Queen reference and it was amazing. Your DIY talents are awesome, but your writing is hilarious. Serious props to you, my friend, for making me laugh.

    • Kenz

      Thanks Rachel! You are way more kind to me than I deserve. I’m glad you love Queen as much as I do. I feel like this new generation isn’t digging Bohemian Rhapsody as much as they should. I’m glad we’re blog friends. 🙂

      • I know! Bohemian Rhapsody is timeless. My choir in high school did an accapella version of it and it was the-bomb-dizzle (can’t believe I actually used to use that phrase for real back in the day). And have you ever watched America’s Got Talent? This guy named Prince Poppycock sang it for one of his final performances a few years ago. I had to give him major props for it – it was pretty awesome.

        • Kenz

          lol bomb-dizzle. When I was in high school me and my friends worked at Quiznos and we called it “The Quiz-natch-nizzle.” What was wrong with us? And I bet that accapella arrangement was acca-awesome!

  • mk_marie

    Did you get your frame from wood connection? Because I was debating on that shape or the one I got. I have since painted mine in white and gold and if we bought them from the same place that would be the most awesome thing.

    • Kenz

      Oh i want to see a picture of yours! What shape is it? I actually don’t know where the frame came from. It was a gift from our wedding photographer with our canvas print.

      • mk_marie

        I can email you a pic now that it’s done 🙂

        • Kenz

          Yes! Please do! I can’t wait to see it. And I’d love to feature it if you’re okay with that 🙂

  • Brianna Walpole

    You are hilarious! Thanks for this tutorial.

    • Kenz

      Thank you! And thanks for stopping by Brianna!

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  • Hi, Kenz
    I love that mirror spray. It works great. Love your vases and you didn’t have to pay a bunch of money for it. : )

    • Kenz

      Thanks Vanessa! win win!

  • Bev Carter

    Love how these vases turned out. I have been wanting to try this and I already have several vases that will work. thanks for the tutorial. Great looking living room.

    • Kenz

      Thanks Bev! When you do it, send me pictures! I’d love to feature your vases.

  • Lauren Snedigar

    Great tutorial!! Can’t wait to try it!

    • Kenz

      Thanks Lauren! I’m glad you stopped by. Good luck on your project 🙂

  • Chelsea

    This may be silly but after reading the reviews of the spray paint on amazon I had to ask. Did you spray the outside or inside of your vases? The reviews said to spray the inside so it won’t wear off and have the “mirror glass” effect. Those who complained about it said they sprayed the outside and it wore off or scratched or just looked like dull silver paint. They look beautiful! Can’t wait to make some of these for my apartment!

    • Kenz

      I sprayed the outside of the vases. I haven’t had any problems with the paint rubbing or chipping off. I don’t plan on touching them a lot or playing ‘hot potatoe’ with them. I dunno.. maybe the paint wore off for the people who use their vases as a football have that problem. but if you were REALLY worried, i’d spray the inside. I did spray the glass top to my coffee table, and I only sprayed the bottom, so the top would be easy to clean. I hope this answers your question! Send me pictures have you make some for your apartment 🙂

  • JaneEllen

    I think you already know you are a hoot. Love your sense of hilarious humor. We all need more humor in our lives, not take ourselves and life too seriously.
    I also love everything I’ve seen on your blog, your projects. your home is gorgeous. Love that rug in your living room, awesome.
    I’m here for the duration talented lady blogger. I so enjoy reading blogs like yours and yours is definitely a keeper. I’ll be visiting quite often as I’m a new subscriber. Happy 2013 creating..

    • Kenz

      JaneEllen! You just made my day. I agree that we need more humor in our lives. There are a quote by one of my favorite ladies, Marjorie Pay Hinckley, that I live by “The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it. You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache.”
      I’m so happy you found my blog. I consider each person who reads my blog my friend. I love to make new friends. Happy 2013 creating to you too 🙂

  • ck

    You Have A Beautiful Living Room……….I WANT IT!!!!

    • Kenz

      Thank you ck! It used to look like a real monster, so that means a lot. And you can borrow it if you want. You just have to give it back before my visiting teachers come over

  • Lauren

    What a cool idea. I think I might try this. Love your sense of humor too. I am hosting my first link party, I would love it if you linked this.

    • Kenz

      Thank you! I had tons of fun doing this project. Congrats on your first party. I’m quite the party animal, so thanks for the invite. I’ll be right over 🙂

  • Leisa

    What a fantastic project–the finished vases are so beautiful! The slightly opalescent metallic sheen is just gorgeous! Thanks for sharing the tutorial 🙂

    • Kenz

      Thanks Leisa! I think they’re pretty too. My favorite part was how easy it actually was 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  • Lauren

    Hi Kenz. I am featuring this on my blog today. Thanks so much for linking up to my first party. The 2nd party starts today around 3 pm (eastern time). I hope that you will link up again.

    • Kenz

      Thanks Lauren! I’ll be back for the party.

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  • Ashley

    Your living room is GORGEOUS. Also. I like you. Hahaha! (Is that creepy?) I just came across your blog via google for the sharpie pen on dishes thing, wanted to know if it’ll scratch off. Anyway, I think you’re fun. Have a great day!

    • Kenz

      Hi Ashley! I’m so glad you found the blog. I like you too. Well… I don’t really know anything about you, BUT I submit you stick around and tell me all about yourself. I love making friends with readers. And yeah.. the sharpie thing totally scratches off after you wash it. YOU’RE fun!

      • Ashley

        Sorry to comment and be a creep and leave. My blog is here: Nice to meet you! I’ve been reading up on the sharpie thing, and I think you have to use oil-based ones. THAT, or you have to put the glass you’re using it on in the oven to heat it up and cool it down. I dunno, there’s too many options. ANYWAY, when you do projects like this one, do you ever have problems with the spray paint scratching off? For some reason, that’s my worst nightmare. Anyway. HAve a great Wednesday!

        • Kenz

          Thanks for sharing your blog. I’m totally snooping in your life right now. I didn’t have any issue with the paint scratching off. But, the vases stay in just one place. I don’t touch them intimately and handle them roughly. I’m sure if you were using them regularly the paint MAY come off. But if you leave them be, they will be just fine 🙂

          • Ashley

            Sounds good! Snoop away… that’s what blogs are for 🙂

        • Rose

          Searched on Pin, got lots of sharpie ideas, also go to the sharpie web site. Apparently you use the oil-based Sharpies, and you bake that. One idea that I liked was colored Sharpie on tile or glass, then light drizzle of alcohol, play around!

  • Roxana White

    Thanks for the tutorial, these are great! Dropping by from the Thrift it Link Party and pinning these!

    • Kenz

      Hi Roxana! Thank you 🙂 Have a great day!

  • Shelbyxo

    I found Krylon looking Glass Spray paint at Walmart for 8.99! I’m excited to do this project tomorrow if the weather permits.

    • Kenz

      That is such a great price!!! I hope it turns out well for you 🙂

  • Brenda

    Beautiful! I also love your living room! AHA moment! Love the “Roots” comment! You told you’re age! You’re me! lol

    • Kenz

      Hi Brenda 🙂 Hahaha! I’m so glad you caught the roots comment. I was afraid that most people didn’t get it. Thanks for stopping by!

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  • Nancy Kay Bowden

    Thanks for your great instructions! Very helpful! Just bought my first can of Krylon’s Looking Glass paint (Hobby Lobby normal price $11.99 but on sale!) and had a blast in the backyard experimenting… You’re absolutely right about making sure there’s just a fine mist of water. The instructions on the can suggested use on the back of the glass which meant painting the inside of the vases. I tried painting one on the inside and another on the outside–definitely easier to work on the outside but the result is shinier on the outside if you paint the inside. Of course, that was the drippy-er one due to too much water sprayed… Anyhow, thanks for the inspiration and great instructions! What fun!

    • Kenz

      Hi Nancy! That’s awesome you got it on sale. I thought about trying to paint the inside, but decided not to because i didn’t think I’d be able to get it not to drip. I’m glad you had fun and were able to try it out. 🙂 I hope you decide to stick around!

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  • Sanda

    I also did two glasses, one on the inside the other on the outside. i like the one sprayed from the interior. Not easy to work this wine glass but i put the paper as an icecream cone to break the vinegar drops. Thanks for the tuto

    • Kenz

      I’m glad you were able to do it! Thanks Sanda!

  • Carol

    Hello Kenz, just found your tutorial on mercury glass vases, can’t wait to try it!! Your a hoot 🙂 I love to laugh! I will post pics when I do it.Thanks

  • Candi B

    Love working with this stuff! I found that if you lightly spray the paint on the inside of the vase while it’s dry and spritz a bit of vinegar/water lightly over the first coat of paint, it’s much easier to control. I pat the vinegar water lightly with a damp paper towel. Let it dry. Lightly spray again with paint and repeat with vinegar water again. I did this maybe 5 times, then ended with with a light spray of paint. They look exactly like the West Elm items in your pic. Doing some old glass candlesticks I got from Pottery Barn a while back. Won’t be able to paint from inside, but I’ll try it!

    • Kenz

      Great technique! Send me a picture of the candle sticks! I’d love to see how it turned out 🙂

  • Mariam

    How did you spray inside the bottles evenly? Or did you spray them on the outside?

    • Kenz

      Hi Mariam! I sprayed the outside actually. I’ve no problems at all with any of it rubbing off. They have held up great!

  • Summer

    How do I subscribe to your blog? New at this. Also, why do you use vinegar and water spritz on the vases? Does it help the Mercury to stick better? I saw this tutorial on pinterest. Great looking vases. I went to Hobby Lobby and already found the vase I want. It is only $4. Hope mine turn out as good as yours. Thank you for this tutorial.

    • kenz

      Hi Summer! There should be a spot on the right hand side of my home page where you can type in your email address to subscribe. I’m glad you like the tutorial. I hope it works great for you. The vinegar spray is to give it more of an antiqued spotted look.

  • Gorgeous! Going to try for sure. Thanks.

  • carole

    So pretty I love them (and all things that look like RH!) Thanks for the tips.

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