Revamp Plain Glass into a Unique Centerpiece

You know those glass vases you get when you receive a delivery of flowers? I’m talking about the really plain looking ones that you aren’t sure whether to keep or just pitch into the trash once the flowers are spent?Creating a Mercury Glass Finish

Most people have a collection of various glass candle holders or vases that are nice, but they don’t have much character. You can, however, transform plain glass into a mercury glass finish.

If you aren’t familiar with what this is, the real deal is also known as mercury or silvered glass and it is obtained from a process of blowing double-walled glass and adding a liquid silver solution in between the two layers.

Why is it called mercury glass when there’s no mercury involved? Here’s a bit of the history:

Mercury Glass | Martha Stewart

Lamp with Mercury Glass FinishFirst discovered in early-19th-century Germany, mercury glass was used as an inexpensive and tarnish-free substitute for silver in such objects as candlesticks and doorknobs. It then gained favor in France and England, where it was made into useful household wares like vases and goblets, and in America, where it was turned into glass vases, goblets, tankards, sugar basins, tumblers, and even spittoons. Some critics condemned it for “looking too much like mirror and too little like silver,” which is precisely what people liked about it. At worst, mirror attracts a few vain glances, while genuine silver attracts thieves. Appreciation for the inexpensive baubles rose, until the advent of the lightbulb: in “modern” light, no burglar would mistake glass for silver.

After briefly falling out of favor, mercury glass reappeared around 1900 in the form of pretty Christmas ornaments and gazing balls, as well as blown fruits and flowers. Today, most serious collectors concentrate on antique forms, like curtain pins, salt cellars, or pedestal-footed silvered vases. Many such vases were decorated by assembly lines of little girls, each of whom would paint her own specialty — such as swans, leaves, or daisies.

Read more here: Mercury Glass | Martha Stewart

What You Need To Create A Mercury Glass Finish

Mercury glass has a classic look that gives a vintage antique effect. It isn’t a difficult process, but it does require a few supplies and a well-ventilated area:

  • Plain Glass – Vase, Candle Holder, Mason Jars, Hurricane Lamp, etc
  • Spray bottle with one part vinegar to two parts water
  • A mirror effect spray paint – Krylon or Rust-Oleum

You’ll see the process in the following video:

 Be sure to clean the glass really well before starting. Another important tip is to hold the can of spray paint around a foot away from the glass. You don’t want to be too close or the paint will run.

Achieving a distressed look is part of the charm of this technique, which is what the vinegar is for. If you want more coverage, apply more layers of paint followed by vinegar.

Another component of authentic looking mercury faux glass is to blot after each layer, as discussed in the next post:

How To Create A Mercury Glass Faux Finish | The Home Depot CommunityImitation Mercury Glass Finish

Once the vinegar solution is sprayed, use the paper towel wand to lightly blot the inside of the jar so that the coating slightly rubs off.  Vary the strength of the blotting around the jar, to give the jar a unique mercury look.

For each coat of paint applied, repeat the vinegar solution and paper towel steps.  Apply a few or more coats until you create your desired mercury glass look.  If a painted and sprayed coat does not turn out as expected, repeat process and apply an additional coat of paint and vinegar solution.

How To Create A Mercury Glass Faux Finish | The Home Depot Community

You can create an exclusive interior ambiance for your Denver home using this technique. The antique-look lends a sparkling glow to places like a table setting, mantel, or coffee table.