Faux Mercury Glass, Another Ballard Knock-Off

It seems I’m always on the coattails of the CSI project, but I’m just happy I’m getting anything done at all. 
I’ve been pining for some Ballard mercury glass for a while now…
These are probably my favorites–the antiqued mercury glass candlesticks.

Or these….the mercury glass huricanes

Or the mercury glass finials.  I don’t know…how is a girl to choose?
So when I ran across this glass hurricane at the Dollar Tree today, I picked it up to see if I could make some magic happen.  I know there is mercury glass all over the blogosphere, and I could find a million tutorials I could probably research. 
But….for an addicted DIYer now, no way I was going to follow instructions.  I thought I’d just experiment and see what I came up with.

I started with these initial supplies.  I pulled the other two containers from my closet so I would have a grouping.  This is my favorite brilliant silver by Valspar.  I keep 3 on hand and this is, by far, the brightest.  The first time I tried to make a mercury glass lamp, that’s where I made a mistake.    Even if it’s antiqued, mercury glass is one thing for sure…brilliant.

I began by spraying the insides down with water so all the paint would not stick.  Plus, with the drips and runs, it appears more mottled like mercury glass.

I decided very quickly I would not like the finish if I only sprayed the inside of the glass.  So I sprayed the outside with water as well.  Work kind of quickly so you can grab those drips and spots with the paint.
Before it was all the way dry, I took the lid of the spray paint can and used it to mottle it more.

This is what it looked like as it was drying.
I added two more steps, and I think I’ll add another before it’s over.

And there they are, in a little corner of the foyer, glinting in the afternoon sun.  LOVE seeing that sparkle over there!

By spraying both sides, it gave depth of color in those spots that wore off.  Right after I sprayed the outside with water and then the paint, I re-sprayed the inside with water, on top of the almost dry paint. 
That created this effect….

I only left the bowl of the large goblet sprayed “inside-only.”  It really looks more like the lamp I re-did, or like brushed aluminum.

Up close, you can see the other layer of paint underneath my scratches, but from far away, it’s light and shadows, my friend.

The last thing I did was spray black spray paint in the air above the containers so the overspray would mist only in spots.  If you’ll notice, most mercury only tarnishes in spots, rather than an overall glazing.  If I had applied glaze, it would have just taken down that gorgeous sheen.

What do you think??  I am pleased, although I want to seal them with a high-gloss acrylic sealer, to ensure protection plus amping up the shine.
I think I’m going to keep playing with this one until I get it exactly perfect.  I think I’m getting close!
What have you mercury’d lately??
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21 Responses to Faux Mercury Glass, Another Ballard Knock-Off

  1. Traveling Thrifter October 9, 2010 at 12:21 am #

    I have! I used a similar effect….you can see it over at http://www.shabbychicthriftyunique.blogspot.com

  2. Kathy October 9, 2010 at 2:02 am #

    I think these look beautiful -You did a rgeat job and they look lovely sitting in the corner with the sun hitting them -the stand/tray there are is darling ? Is there a story behind it?

  3. Heaven's Walk - October 9, 2010 at 2:20 am #

    Holy cow, Shaunna! Those are just BEAUTIFUL!!! What ever made you think of using water? I think you did a perfect job on them! :) Thanks for giving us the scoop. Btw – what an awesome stained glass door!

  4. freckled laundry October 9, 2010 at 2:51 am #

    I'm pining over mercury glass, too! I used to see it everywhere until I decided that I must have some. LOVE these. Was going to attempt a faux MG technique myself but now I can just use yours!

  5. Chrissie October 9, 2010 at 3:06 am #

    I think they look greta. thanks for sharing your techniques!

  6. Allison October 9, 2010 at 3:37 am #

    They're beautiful! I just picked up a beautiful pair of mercury glass candlesticks at a barn sale and now I'm in love with mercury glass. You did an amazing job! Thanks for sharing your technique. I may give it a try.

    • Susan March 1, 2013 at 5:01 pm #

      Show us a pic of your purchased vintage mercury glass candlesticks. Good find. Will try your technique to improve on the current method I am using including spraying a diluted vinegar;/water mixture after painting and pure pater prior to painting. The vinegar acts like an acid although basic that you can pat off to remove the softened paint. I have been debating the use of black and will try.

  7. Chic Creations October 9, 2010 at 6:04 am #

    Wow! They are beautiful. I have wanted to do some faux mercury glass. I just may try it the way you did it. If you improve the technique please post it. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Modern Country Style October 9, 2010 at 9:34 am #

    I'd never even thought of doing it myself!! I just went out and bought some. Sucker that I am for anything shiny!!

  9. Natasha October 9, 2010 at 12:26 pm #

    I have never used that stuff before but I would love to give it a try for Christmas. I am going to see what I can find!

  10. Kelley October 9, 2010 at 3:20 pm #

    I love it…. I am going to have to find some of that velspar and give this a try…. TFS

  11. Alyssa October 9, 2010 at 9:52 pm #

    I've been drooling over some bits of mercury glass, too, and now I can have my own (faux though it may be). Thank you! I'm dying to give this a try. Now for the time to run out and get the paint.

  12. scotty October 10, 2010 at 1:24 am #

    Just got my Ballards catalog today !! Sorry to say, those prices are outrageous !! Your my kind of gal! I hope to be able to show you what I'm doing !! Thanks for your great tips.

  13. Jenni October 10, 2010 at 5:00 am #

    Hi Shaunna~

  14. Tricia October 10, 2010 at 12:24 pm #

    I'm inspired to give this a try. Thanks for sharing your techniques. Yours look great!

  15. Lori Katies Rose Cottage October 10, 2010 at 12:40 pm #

    Wowwww I am so

  16. susi October 11, 2010 at 2:17 am #

    I went to the store yesterday and got the spray paint and today – oh boy! sprayed everything i could get my hands on… plastic boxes, glass jars. I actually sprayed windex on first, sprayed paint and then sprayed water. turned out really well-lots of "pot holes"! thanks for the inspiration!

    • Jane gaeng January 10, 2014 at 8:57 pm #

      Need to know how the technique worked on PLASTIC!? Can you show a pic, or details on how it turned out on plastic? Want to try it on some long tubes am making for a DYI wedding!

  17. Canny November 14, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

    I am starting a weekly craft project and was wondering if you have ever tried the mercury glass effect on something other than glass? I know it sounds weird, but my first/next attempt will be with a brass lamp: http://thecannycouture.blogspot.com/2011/11/canny-crafting.html

  18. Violette Noble January 17, 2013 at 10:28 pm #

    Those are beautiful!! Did I miss something though? What did u use the windex for?

  19. Jodi O November 20, 2014 at 5:45 pm #

    I have been looking everywhere for this… Thank-you!

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