DIY Gold Mercury Glass

Man, you could not turn around this past Christmas season without seeing mercury glass – from those darling owls at West End to ornaments at Target, it was just everywhere.  But it wasn’t a sparkly silver Christmas for me, this year it was all about gold and red.  So how to make gold mercury glass?

I scoured blogland and read up on my Martha to find knocking off mercury glass should be pretty easy.  So I dug into my supply of glass vases and gold paint and I was ready to go.  It’s pretty straightforward really, just pick up a newspaper, tape, a spray water bottle, paint and glass containers and you’re ready to make gold mercury glass too.  You can see I’ve got a few chunky dowels here too – those are for drying the vase upside down.  After a few vases, I just skipped that step – it dries fine right side up or upside down assuming you don’t have too much water in there.

Step one: Mask off the outside of your vase – you’ll be working on the inside only. Grab a spray bottle and load it up with water.  Gently mist into the vase.  I found if the vase is really tall that it helps to start spraying at the bottom and work my way up. You’ll have to experiment with how far away to hold the sprayer – too close and your water will glob up and run in streaks, too far and you’ll end up getting the newspaper really wet.If you spray in too much water, just wipe it out and start again.  You’re going for spots, not runs of water.  Here’s what mine looks like.  Once you’ve gotten your desired level of misting, you’re ready for step two.  Pick your paint and get ready to start layering.  I experimented with quite a few different paint options: shiny gold, satin gold, and mirror paint.  I found the effect that I liked the best was having shiny gold first.  Remember, what you put on first is the color on the outside and will be the most prominent.

Spray very light coats of paint.  Just bursts of color really – you can always add more!  The look I was going for had a bit of that transparent quality and the only way to achieve that is to put less paint on the vase.

Ok, walk away and let it dry.

This is where Martha’s tutorial stops, she says ‘you’re done!’, but I wasn’t feeling it – I wanted more depth and texture.  Other blogs recommend an acid etch at this point.  Having no desire to break out the thick gloves, I looked for alternatives.

A few blogs recommend a faux acid etch with white vinegar.  This turned out to be a total waste of time – I had vinegar all over that sucka and nothing.  But I had a break through when I went to wash the vinegar off.  Yes, my little green scrubby sponge and some hot water etched that paint right off! You can go really crazy here and practically scrub off all the paint – the hotter the water, the easier it is to remove.  If you aren’t careful, the paint will come off in giant sheets (also more likely if you’ve put on a thicker coat of paint).  It’s an interesting look, but eventually, I decided a light scrub was my favorite.  In just a few seconds, I had the etched look I was after.

Now for a second coat of paint.  Again, I masked off and sprayed with water and then tried all three of my paint options.  The shiny gold was my favorite again.  Here’s the breakdown  of my paint combinations.

Go with the one you like the best or play around with tons of other options.  With a candle inside, I think it gives off the perfect gold mercury glass glow.

These vases are perfect for the holidays and of course Oscar Party!  And it’s March now, and they are still on my buffet, so it looks like they will be staying out for a while. 

Enjoy making your own mercury glass!



16 thoughts on “DIY Gold Mercury Glass

  1. Pingback: Glitter Candles | HMH Designs

  2. So I am wanting to do mercury glass vases for my wedding reception. I’m running into problems trying to get the mirror-like spray paint all the way to the bottom of the vase in the inside of the vase. Any suggestions?

    • Shoot that’s tough if you’ve got a really narrow opening at the top. The best suggestion I have for you is to try starting at the bottom of the vase – the problem area and work your way up from there. Good luck!

  3. Does anyone have an idea on how to paint over a silver metalic mercury lamp base I want it that metalicy look which pottery barn has out now in pretty eggplant color so it would be a eggplant mercury look

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  7. Hotel Zona Unirii

    We’re a bunch of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community.

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  8. I have read that spraying the inside of a vase then placing water and flowers causes the paint to chip off . Anyone have this problem…hate to kill all the flowers at the wedding

  9. I’m confused! Why does the mercury painting have to be on the inside? It would be so much easier to do the outside.
    I’m only going to use the vases one time for my daughter’s wedding.

    • My guess is because the glass gives it that extra shiny look of mercury glass whereas if you did it on the outside it would not have that glass shine.

  10. Pingback: DIY Painted Centerpiece Vases | Leigh Florist

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