Although elegant mercury glass can be expensive to purchase, it is quite easy to create your own faux mercury glass vases and candleholders with just a few simple craft supplies. They take very little time and effort, yet the results are spectacular.
Things You'll Need
- Glass vase
- Plastic cup
- Decoupage medium
- Metallic acrylic paint
- Wooden stir stick
- Foam brush
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Step 1: Select Your Glassware
Inexpensive glass containers from dollar stores or thrift shops are ideal for making faux mercury glass. It helps if the mouth opening is wide enough to get your hands or fingers down inside the container, as you will be applying materials to the interior of the glass.
Step 2: Mix Paint With Decoupage Medium
In a plastic cup, mix about 4 parts decoupage medium with 1 part metallic acrylic paint. You won't need a lot. About 4 tablespoons of decoupage medium and 1 tablespoon of metallic paint will be enough to transform at least five small to medium glass vases. I chose a gold metallic paint, available at the crafts store, for these containers.
Step 3: Add Glitter
Add about 1 teaspoon of glitter to the paint/decoupage medium mixture, and stir the ingredients with a wooden stick.
Step 4: Apply the Mixture
Using a foam paintbrush, apply a coating of the paint mixture to the interior of the glass container. The paint mixture is milky from the decoupage medium, but it will dry translucent with a tint of the metallic color. There will be uneven paint streaks at this point, but don't worry. You'll smooth out the finish in the next step.
Step 5: Add More Texture
The key to creating the faux mercury glass look is to add an additional layer of gold paint to the base coat, using the side of the foam brush as a dauber. Start by adding more metallic paint to the foam brush.
Press the flat side of the foam brush onto the glass as if you were sponge painting. The texture of the brush creates a mottled finish on the surface similar to that of mercury glass. The brush marks also disappear at this point. Reload the brush with gold paint as needed as you go around the interior. Some areas can have a thicker layer of paint than others. Keep going until the entire surface has a dappled look.
Step 6: Sprinkle More Glitter
Sprinkle glitter generously around the inside of the container. The decoupage medium on the glass will instantly hold the glitter. You need only a light coat. Don't feel like the glass needs to be completely covered. The glitter adds a beautiful sparkle to the glass as you look at it from the outside in. People might not even know there's glitter — they will notice only the shine.
If the glitter bottle comes with shaker holes, just sprinkle it above the container, turning the container as you shake. If it doesn't come with a shaker, hold a small amount between your thumb and forefinger and sprinkle the glitter by moving your finger across your thumb. Work with newspapers underneath for easy cleanup.
Step 7: Distress the Finish
Before the paint has dried, take a damp sponge and distress the finish at random points, rubbing off small sections of paint. This step approximates the cracked patina of antique mercury glass. Then allow the container to dry overnight. When it's dry, the glass is translucent but beautifully mottled, with a metallic finish.
Protect the Interior to Use
To prevent damage to the finish, line the container with a smaller glass if you want to use it as a vase for fresh flowers or foliage. In maintaining the mercury glass finish, wash only the exterior of the glass, never the interior.
If you would like to use the mercury glass container as a candleholder, place a battery-operated LED candle inside instead of a real wax candle. Wax candles work fine, but cleaning melted wax from the inside of the container would be difficult — and messy — because of the paint and glitter.
Make several faux mercury glass containers and display them in a group on a mantel or side table. They also make lovely gifts that belie their cost. No one has to know how easy it was for you to create them.