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Making Mercury Glass

Make your own version of mercury glass at home.

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Blown with a double wall, and then coated between the walls with liquid silver nitrate before sealing, mercury glass – also called silvered glass – has been prized for its beautiful, mirror-like surface since the 1800s. Oxidation often causes the reflective surface to flake or fade over time, but antique mercury glass goblets, vases, candlesticks and ornaments can be quite valuable.

You can’t make genuine mercury glass at home, but you can easily re-create the distressed, mirrored appearance that elevates a common glass vessel to a beautiful collectible.

Also check out: DIY Custom-scented Candles 

What you’ll need:

  • Any clear glass piece: try a vase, glass or bowl
  • Krylon® Looking Glass® Mirror-Like Paint
  • Spray bottle filled with a 50/50 mixture of water and white vinegar
  • Masking tape
  • Paper towels

1. Ring the outer, upper edge of your glass piece with masking tape to protect it from overspray.

2. Shake the spray paint for 3 to 5 minutes.

3. Hold the can a few inches away from your glass piece, and spray the paint onto the inside surface of the glass. Spray in short bursts, rotating the glass as you go.

4. Let the paint dry for a few minutes, then repeat.

5. Apply a total of 3 to 5 coats of paint, allowing a few minutes drying time between each coat. Shake the spray can before every coat.

6. After your final coat of paint, let the piece dry for 10 minutes.

7. Spray a fine mist of the water/vinegar solution onto the painted surface of the glass. Let sit for 1 minute.

8. Mist a folded paper towel with the vinegar solution, then very gently blot the moisture off the paint. This will lift small spots of paint, giving the aged appearance of genuine mercury glass. Rub a little harder for a more distressed appearance.

9. If your glass piece is too narrow to fit your hand inside, wrap the paper towel around a pencil or wooden rod.

10. Spray a final, very light coat of mirror paint inside the glass, and let dry.

Use your mercury glass piece for decorative purposes only. If you want to display fresh flowers in your silvered glass, set a smaller container inside to hold water for the flowers.