Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Mercury Glass Madness

Who's feeling the madness? I know I am! This post has been a long time comin' for real, for real. I've seen various mercury glass (sometimes known as acid wash glass) how-tos over the past year or so. I have read each and every one in detail, sometimes twice. I've bookmarked some of them, deleted them. Bookmarked new ones, deleted those. Why the wait? I have no clue. 

When I was in Charlottesville, I mentioned going to various a million shops just browsing, shopping, coveting, etc. I've definitely noticed the trend of mercury glass, but it seriously stuck out like a sore thumb to me while I was there. 

A few pieces at Marshalls.

Loved these at Anthropologie. The little pumpkin of sorts in front will run ya $18!! This is why making these things is seriously a much better idea.

A lamp at Hobby Lobby.

When I got back from Charlottesville, I decided to jump on it already. I decided to do a few test pieces of glass first, since I had never worked with the Looking Glass paint that's needed to achieve the "acid wash look" that I was going for.

Mercury Glass/Acid Wash Glass Tutorial

What You'll Need To Make It

  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Spray Bottle
  • Plastic Bag/Cling Wrap and Painter's Tape - you need something to cover the back side, outside, or reverse side of your project.
  • Clear Glass - used cheapie pieces from Michael's since this is just a test.
  • Krylon's Looking Glass Spray Paint
  • Rag/Paper Towel - you'll use this to wipe away the vinegar/water mixture to get the mercury glass effect.

How To Make It

  • To create the looking glass effect, the key is spraying the paint on the opposite side of your surface. For a vase/jar - you would spray the inside of it (keeping the outside clean). For the coasters I have - you would spray the side that rests on your table (keeping the part that holds your glass clean). Don't worry, it's a smooth finish - it won't scratch your tables.
  • With all of that said, cover the areas of your glass that should be exposed. I used a plastic bag and taped around the rim of my vase, and for the coasters I used cling wrap and painters tape. 
  • Shake paint can for about two minutes before using. 
  • Lay pieces on flat surface and spray light coats, allowing one minute between coats (continue to shake can between coats). The can recommends five coats - I think I did three or four total on my coasters. 
    • For the vase, you will have to hold it and rotate it, let it rest rim down on your surface and allow it to "drain." The paint is very thin and was somewhat streaky on my vase (flat pieces of glass worked best for me). I think I only did two coats on my vase because I got annoyed and it was hot as you-know-what outside.
  • The paint dries very quickly. Allow about ten to fifteen minutes after your final coat for drying time. While drying, combine a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle.
  • Once dry, spray your mixture onto your surfaces. Spray a light mist, leaving a few big droplets all over. Let sit for a minute or two. Begin to wipe. 
    • You can use methodical wipes, or twist while you wipe. Just play around with it. That's why these are test pieces. I did a scrubbing motion in some areas and a twisting motion in others. It didn't give me enough "acid wash effect", so I sprayed vinegar/water and repeated. After doing this, you can apply another light spray of your looking glass paint over the exposed areas to give a different look. I think I may do that for future pieces.

Here are my taped off pieces with a coat or two on them. 

After three or four coats you'll have this. The finish is quite nice.

Mist with vinegar/water mixture, let sit for a few, then rub.

After two applications and rubs of vinegar/water mixture.

Here's my cute annoying bud vase with two coats. You can see a few streaks. You can also see my fingers through the other side of the glass indicating how thin the paint is. I'm just not that great with the pieces that I have to spray into. Onto is no problem. Props to those girlies that get it perfect!

So does it actually reflect like a looking glass or mirror? You be the judge!
I'd say it does! Keep in mind that this piece only has two coats.

Sorry about these crummy iPhone photos, but the picture on the left is essentially the final product with the coasters. The one in the front looks a little blue right? I decided to experiment and painted the exposed areas with the metallic blue paint seen on the right. It actually looks pretty cool.

The verdict? This looking glass paint is some pretty neat stuff. I definitely have a larger project in mind to get the full effect of acid wash glass. The best part? The paint is like $11 and my cheapie pieces of glass ran me like $7. That means I got three pieces of glass for the price of one at Anthropologie! (Don't get me wrong, I love me some Anthro.) I still have plenty of paint left to make more pieces - that's the best part.


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