DIY Mercury Glass

I don't know about all of you, but there's just something about the holidays that make me want to DIY something.  Well, that's not exactly true, I guess.  I like to work on creative projects pretty much all year long--for weddings, birthday parties, home decor ideas, styled shoots...  Whatever the season, when I'm feeling unmotivated, it's usually worth a trip to Michael's or Lowes to find some fun, hands-on projects!

So today I thought I'd do more of a "lifestyle" post, and show you some cool Christmas ornaments I've been working on!  You know those beautiful Pottery Barn mercury glass ornaments (or lamps, votive holders, etc.) that cost more than you probably want to spend?  Well, I decided to tackle these myself.  And this is a pretty big deal for someone who's a recovering Pottery Barn addict (seriously...I {sadly} had to cut up my PB credit card about five years ago!)!

See the ornaments in my screen shot on the left?  This is the effect I'm going to show you how to create yourself...for about 50 cents a piece!  And the image on the right was my first attempt...not bad, eh?

Here's what you'll need to do this project:

  • Clear glass ornaments (these were 50% off the original price, plus I used a 20% off coupon...which is a big part of getting these to about 50 cents!)
  • Looking glass spray paint (available online, or at some Michael's and Hobby Lobby stores)
  • Water in a spray bottle
  • Metallic gold paint
  • Hair dryer
  • Paper towel or tissue to cover the ornament hole

And here's what to do:

  1. Remove lid from ornament
  2. Spray a quick spray (or two) of the looking glass paint
  3. Start rolling the ornament around in your hand, so the paint doesn't pool in one place (be careful not to let it drip out of the opening!  I usually use a piece of a paper towel and cover the hole with my finger).
  4. Use your hair dryer to gently dry the paint after you've rolled it around a bit...but don't let it dry completely.
  5. Spritz the inside of the ornament with your water bottle.  Try to get some bigger drops of water if possible.
  6. Continue to dry gently with the hair dryer...this time you can let it get good and dry.
  7. Once your ornament has started to take on a mirrored appearance, drop a little drop or two of gold paint into the ornament, spritz with water again, and roll around.  (After a few ornaments were under my belt, I decided to water down my gold paint before dripping it in...made it a lot easier to swirl around the inside!).
  8. Keep using your hair dryer until it's mostly dry (about 5 minutes or so), then place the ornament upside-down into a cup (or the ornament package) so any excess paints can drip out.
  9. And VOILA!  You're done!

Here's a look at one of the bigger ornaments I did (minus the hook)-->

So what do you think?  Is this a project you might like to tackle?  Just think of all the possibilities!  Faux mercury glass for Christmas, home decor, your wedding in the Berkshires...the sky's the limit! 

I think I'll try a vase next! :)