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How to Make DIY Mercury Glass Light Shades

This simple DIY project can make any clear glass look like mercury glass. Follow our simple step-by-step instructions to add some glitz to your home.

When we decided to give our hallway bathroom a makeover, we had a limited budget to tackle the task.

We started with a fresh coat of paint on the walls.

Then we painted the builder-grade cabinets after being inspired by AnnMarie’s master bathroom project.

Next we built a frame to go around the builder-installed mirror. You should see what AnnMarie chose to do with her hallway bath mirror!

You can see the completed bathroom project here! Makeover Reveal!

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Budget Bathroom Makeover

Our goal was to keep the updates to just $200.

The paint for the walls was $62.

The primer and paint for the cabinets and mirror was another $25 (we used less than half a gallon of each, so I’m only counting half the price since we can use the rest for another project).

The wood to frame the mirror was $17.

The mercury glass knobs for the cabinets were $12.

That left us $84 to do the rest.

The sink faucets needed to be replaced too. We got these brushed nickel ones from Lowe’s Home Improvements for $46 thanks to a coupon.

The $38 remaining wasn’t going to be enough to get two new light fixtures plus some decor items.

Sticking to Our Budget

To freshen up the light fixtures, I tried my hand at a DIY mercury glass project!

I had a 50% coupon from Michaels so was able to buy the Krylon Looking Glass paint for $7.

All I needed next was some white vinegar, water, a spray bottle, some paper towels, and a little time.

Check, check, check and check!

I had all that stuff at home.

You can make your own DIY mercury glass using any clear glass container.

This would be fun with some votive jars, or mason jars to make little candle holders!

Or you could make a cute vase using one of those Starbucks glass bottles (or any taller glass container). So cute!

DIY Mercury Glass Tutorial

You want to do this project in a well-ventilated area.

The Looking Glass paint has a VERY strong smell! 

You also want to make sure you have everything you need with you before you start because the paint dries so quickly.

six glass lamp shades on a plastic trash bag on a driveway with a can of Krylon looking glass paint, a roll of paper towels, and spritz bottle

I set up a station outside in the shade with a trash bag and a piece of cardboard to protect the driveway.

Keeping it classy over here…

Mix up equal parts of vinegar and water in your spritz bottle. Some tutorials I saw recommended using paper towels, other suggested old t-shirts. I didn’t have any old t-shirts handy so I went with the paper towels.

Before you get started, wash and dry the items you’re going to turn into faux mercury glass.

Especially if the items are from light fixtures that are super dusty and a little grimy because you haven’t washed them in a few years in a while.

Making Faux Mercury Glass

a glass light fixture shade painted with Krylon looking glass paint to resemble mercury glass

Paint the INSIDE of the container using Krylon’s Looking Glass Silver spray paint.

Use quick strokes to lightly apply the paint.

It goes on so evenly with a really fine mist.

a glass light fixture shade painted with Krylon looking glass paint to resemble mercury glass

Let it dry for about a minute.

Since I was doing six globes, I just did each step on all six pieces before moving on to the next step. That was plenty of time for the paint to dry.

Next, lightly spritz the wet paint with a fine mist of the vinegar/water mixture.

Let it sit for a little bit, then gently blot it dry with a wadded up paper towel.

This lifts a tiny bit of the paint off the surface which gives you the mottled look of mercury glass.

six glass light fixture shades on a plastic trashbag on a driveway painted with Krylon looking glass paint

Paint. Spritz. Blot. Repeat.

Repeat the process of misting with the vinegar/water mixture, blotting and lightly spraying another layer of the Looking Glass paint until you’ve achieved the effect you like.

3 glass light fixture shade painted with Krylon looking glass paint to resemble mercury glass

After you’ve done several layers, it really begins to look like mercury glass!

I chose to end the process with another little spritz of the vinegar/water mixture to blot away a little more of the paint.

Apparently, I don’t have a light touch when it comes to using spray paint so every time I added more paint I covered up the speckles too much.

Once you’re satisfied with your results, let them dry for 10-15 minutes.

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The Finished DIY Mercury Glass Fixtures

Side view of a bathroom light fixture with three glass shades painted to look like mercury glass

And there you have it: a DIY mercury glass project to spruce up the old light fixtures for just $8. I love the way the mercury glass adds a little sparkle and glitz to the girls’ bathroom!

Side view of a bathroom light fixture with three glass shades painted to look like mercury glass

If you’re keeping track, I’ve got about $30 left to spend on this project. Be sure to check out the finished bathroom to see how it all came together!

If you have any questions or suggestions, send me and e-mail or leave a comment! Follow us over on Instagram and Facebook to see everything we’re up to.

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