Abandoned DIY Project I: DIY Mercury Glass Revisited

Thanks to Amanda over at the almighty VintageGlam citing my mercury glass project, I seem to have a number of new visitors here at my humble wedding-blog-abode. Thanks, Amanda! Naturally, I've received a number of Krylon Looking Glass inquiries as well. So, instead of continuing to reply one by one, I've decided to revisit my (ill-fated) DIY project in hopes to save the next DIY bride (or beginning-level crafter) from failure. Yes, I'll admit it: I failed. And yes, it's completely depressing. But, really, I'd rather see you succeed in DIYing your mercury glass, than to have failed in vain (a "craft and pass it on" of sorts)...

My first mistake: not enough time. I had a self-imposed deadline for all of my DIY projects so I wouldn't find myself awake at 3am - the morning of my wedding day, (you shake your head in disbelief, but I KNOW it's happened...). As a result, about a quarter of my projects were thrown overboard on various dates before our wedding, including my beloved mercury glass votives and cylinder vases (imagine all of these votives and pillar candles flickering in worn, seemingly-vintage, mercury glass, oh if only).

My second mistake: not enough stock. I ruined well over half of my cylinder vases and votives before I finally got the hang of it. Some of them came out badly streaked, while others looked like cloudy spray painted tin cans. It was bad... To safeguard against this, perhaps you could purchase some super cheap (like .39 votives) to practice on…

Here's the secret: short bursts. Spray one coat of Looking Glass very lightly and in short bursts on the inside of the cylinder vases or votives, while making sure to continuously turn the object while spraying, allow to dry, then repeat until you achieve the desired look. (Believe me when I say, you need a lot of time to complete this project - think of the drying time alone.) You might also want to speckle your cylinder vases with metallic leaf, or even shoot a few bursts of randomly sprayed gold-ish spray paint, before applying Looking Glass to create an even more worn effect. Below are a couple of crafty examples via Krylon.

Alternatively, this look (below) might be achieved via Chef Fifi's approach: using silver, gold or copper leaf (see last photo for her DIY apothecary lid). You might be able to section off a lace pattern with this Etsy seller's lace tape, wrapping the tape on the inside of the cylinder vase and using the tape as a stencil. You would then use Looking Glass as instructed previously, but making sure to remove the tape before the paint dries completely. Then apply metallic leaf on the inside of the cylinder vase, making sure to leave some surface area uncovered, so to highlight the lace pattern. Worth a try, at least.

Hope all of this information helps. Happy crafting!

Photo credits: Krylon, Krylon, Apartment Therapy, Brooker Pie, Chez Fifi

18 comments:

Jessica said...

this is so awesome. you are so awesome! can't wait to try it out. thank you!!!!!

Kathy said...

Wow, what a cool project. I say it's equally as good to learn what to avoid as it is to learn how to do the steps. Thanks for sharing with us!

Colleen @ The Everyday Bride said...

thanks, jessica! if you're successful, shoot me an email so i can hear all about it! and, thanks, kathy! even if it's not me, maybe, just maybe another diy bride will get enjoy some vintage-y mercury glass at their reception...

Mandy said...

Hi Colleen!
I want to try this for the candle holders I bought to lead guests up the steps to our reception ballroom. However, we are not allowed to use real candles on the steps due to past events going...awry. Do you think the LED candles will show through the mercury glass spraypaint enough to give the effect of candlelight? I'd be interested to hear your advice! Thanks in advance! -Mandy, a September Detroit bride :)

Colleen @ The Everyday Bride said...

Hi Mandy!

First, kudos to you; that sounds gorgeous. And kudos for not letting your venue's policy deter you!

However, with that said, this is a tough one! Flameless candles are notorious for being far dimmer than candlelight, so I don't know if that light would actually break through the dense, opaque spray paint. (Plus, flameless candles don't typically photograph well...)

However, if you used actual LEDs, as you mentioned, you might actually get some break-through light. Save on Crafts is one of my favorite sites, and they have a number of options (I would stay away from the "orange" option, as looks REALLY ORANGE...so amber or white might be the best way to go...):

http://www.save-on-crafts.com/floralyte.html

http://www.save-on-crafts.com/floralytes5.html

http://www.save-on-crafts.com/floralight1.html

However, if your not able to get the desired effect with the Looking Glass spray paint, what about using some great decorative papers adhered to the cylinder vases? The LEDs would definitely work in this case. (There's a great example of an actual event on Save On Crafts' site...see link below.)

http://www.save-on-crafts.com/cylindervases.html

http://paper-source.com/cgi-bin/paper/paper/index.html

One last thought...whenever I find myself needing some inspiration, I shoot over to picasa, flickr, or google images and run a search for whatever I need. If you go over to flickr, there's a tons of inspiring images of "candles on stairs"...

I hope this helps! Happy crafting!

Sylvia said...

I cannot believe I just stumbled upon this blog! I was searching frantically for mercury vases and votives for my wedding which is in September. My story begins here.....After Christmas, Pottery Barn had a huge sale on these mercury vases, so I purchased them for my centerpieces. Unfortunately I am a few short and now there are none left. I looked elsewhere and I cant seem to find anything affordable. I paid less than $10 at the time at pottery barn when they were originally $25! Now the dilemna: I need about 100 votives for all of the tables to matching the pottery barn vases I purchased. Anyways I am running out to Michaels today to get the paint!! And I will post pictures once Ive completed the project. Thanks so much for all your brilliant ideas!!! I am so excited to see how it turns out.....

Sincerely,

Sylvia- NY

Anonymous said...

I am helping a friend out with her wedding centerpieces and she really likes the mercury vases. I was just wondering, if the metallic leaf comes in squares how do you get the vintage look with the light peaking through. If I want to try making the candle holders do I spray on the looking glass first and then the metallic leaf? I am so sorry, this is the first time I have ever seen the mercury vases!

The Sale Rack said...

Thank you for this idea...i plan on trying this!!!

JohnnyLane said...

Hi!!
Thanks soooo much for this blog! I want to try your idea using the lace on the inside but I have one question about the order. Do you 1.put the lace tape on the inside and then 2.spray the looking glass then 3. remove lace tape before paint dries then 4. let paint dry then 5.apply the gold leaf over the "holes" left by the lace tape? or do you just leave the "holes" clear because in your picture above they all look gold.
Thanks!!!

lb

JohnnyLane said...

I tried this today and it completely did not work!! What do you think I did wrong? I did it in short bursts and put 12 coats on. It never covered completely. Completely bummed!!

A Casa da VĂ¡ said...

I love it it, i will give it a try!

^_^

dahlias and discoveries said...

Hi there! I'd love to make some votive holders for my wedding, but I was wondering if you had actually tried these with lit candles. The spray paint, leaf adhesive and leaf sealer are all very flammable, so I'm wondering if it's safe to have an open flame right next to them. Yikes! Looking forward to hearing back from you! Thanks! :)

John C.Reed said...

I have been examinating out a few of your articles and it's pretty nice stuff. I will make sure to bookmark your website.
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Jeny Brooks said...

Hi!

I actually did the short bursts, then misted it with an equal mixture of vinegar and water! This created the bubbly lacey effect. I dried them with my blow dryer and this created more bubbles. :) I only did two coats per votive.

Sara Welsh said...

You metallic glass vases are to die for! Next week, I'm having a Thanksgiving party, and I have been trying to find something like this for weeks! I'm so glad that I found your post so that I can make these candle holders and have them ready for the party! Do you think you could do this with lanterns too, or just the candle holders?

Sara Welsh | http://www.mimistreasurechest.com/default.asp?dept_id=45230

Diymomovsix said...

Sadly, my DIY Mercury glass candle holders are extremely flammable and almost burned my house down when it became a blazing goblet o' fire.

Diymomovsix said...

Sadly, my DIY Mercury glass candle holders are extremely flammable and almost burned my house down when it became a blazing goblet o' fire.

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