How To Turn Cheap Vases Into Mercury Glass

In my Owls in Christmas Shawls tablescape post, I promised to share the tutorial for making Mercury glass on the cheap.

Dollar Tree Stem-Ware

Normal DIY Mercury glass instructions say to use Krylon™ Looking Glass Paint.  Out here in The Land of Making Do, the nearest Hobby Lobby is 35 miles away.  Who has an extra hour and a half during the Christmas rush to chase down one product?

Remember…we’re meandering through this season.   I’m not into rushing here and there, forgetting what’s really important right now.  In the grand scheme of things, who cares if I have perfectly real  looking mercury glass?  I decided using regular multi-surface metallic paint would be a fun test.

Products I Used

Cheap glassware

Silver metallic multi-surface spray paint

Vinegar in spray bottle

E6000 glue for the stemmed votive

I had previously purchased two vases, a votive holder, and a candle holder, each for 59 cents, at a thrift store nearby.  See how I work?  I have these ideas in mind and collect bargains in advance.  But, when it comes to proper supplies, I’m not always prepared.

The process is easy, really.  Remove any price tags and wash each piece with dish soap.  Rinse thoroughly and dry completely.

Thrift Store Vases

Take the clean vases to your designated area for spray painting and place them on a protective surface.   Take along a spray bottle of vinegar and your paint.

Vases Ready for Paint

I chose to not spray inside the rims of my glass, but you totally can.

Spray the glass pieces thoroughly with vinegar, all sides, top to bottom.  Runs are fine.

Vinegar on Glass

Let rest a few minutes so any runs can do their running to the rim before you add paint.

Spray the pieces with your paint in short spurts, moving the can continuously so you don’t have solid areas of paint.  I think I got a little heavy with my paint.  You’ll do better, I’m sure.

See how the vinegar bubbles are under the paint?  That’s good.

Spray Painting Vases

The video to follow shows an entirely different process of more steps, but I kept my process simple.  I let the paint dry.

Paint Drying

Then, I rubbed the vases with my finger to remove any loose paint.

Mercury Glass Complete

I scratched a circle of paint off the bottom of the votive in order to attach the candle holder with E6000.

Gluing Stem to Votive

My mercury glass turned out adequate.  It serves its purpose well enough.

Stemmed Mercury Glass Votive

The looking glass paint is twice the price of regular metallic paint, and my metallic paint was a fun test.

Since I know you’ll want to do your glass perfectly (and probably have good access to proper supplies), here’s the perfect video tutorial for you. 😉

I would love to see your glass when you’ve finished the transformation.  I realize, too, that you’re probably not in the DIY mode so close to Christmas…unless maybe you’re meandering with me through the season.  😉


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  1. Cindy says

    Kim, they look super! I have the mirror paint in my garage waiting to paint a pair of lamps for my living room. It’s such a project that I haven’t made the time! You are an inspiration to me. Thanks.

  2. Linda J says

    This is a great alternative and budget friendly. I need all these tips I can get! I just wanted to mention, I like you! I really do! I have never made that confession to any of the bloggers I follow. I appreciate like all of you. However, you just feel like an old friend! Isn’t that strange? I’m really not a weirdo! I just thought I would tell you that. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  3. Sheryll & Critters. says

    Merry Christmas!

    I doubt that I will watch the video, cause I am so in love with your easy, inexpensive way. I wonder if it will or would be as pretty with the gold? I tried do some (one) angel wings and got too heavy handed.. ehh, okay, but not as I had wished. I want to try this, but may have to wait.

    I and my darling Sunshine Maltese are expecting babies any time now. Pray for her and her babies?

    And have a wonderful, lovely, merry Christmas to all……..

    • says

      It’s worth a try with the gold, but I would definitely do short spurts of spray. Awe, you’ve got a very special package coming, then! I’ll pray for you – and that those babies come during the daytime and not in the middle of the night. 🙂

  4. Sheryll & Critters. says

    Thank you Kim, I am trying to get a lot of rest/sleep time so I can be there for her. I am on pins and needles. I seriously do not mind them coming in the middle of the night (which they usually do)….. I just want them and my darling mommy to be and stay healthy.

    They are my little special deliveries straight from God above. I love them so much already. I talk to them or mommy’s tummy and ooh and ahh over her constantly for awhile now. They will be here soon and as much as I have tried… I know I will not be quite prepared. I even wrapped the birthing box in Christmas paper….. yep, they are my darling, little presents of pure love.