Mercury Glass Tutorial


  • Krylon® Looking Glass® Spray Paint (Yes, you MUST use this exact paint. Click here to see why.)
  • Spray Bottle of water (set to a very fine mist)
  • Masking tape
  • Damp paper towel
  • Optional: Dark Brown glaze or acrylic paint and sponge for application
  • Glass vase, bowl, or plate (Go to your local thrift store and get a couple of cheap pieces to practice on!)


(The basic steps are spray water, spray a thin coat of paint, blot with a damp towel, and then repeat about 3-5 more times.)

  1. PREP: Mask around the edge of the glass so that the outside will not get any over spray on it.
  2. WATER: Mist water finely on the inside of the vase. Less is more. you don’t want the water beads to become large enough to start dripping down the sides.
  3. PAINT: Shake the Krylon® Looking Glass® Spray Paint really well. Spray very lightly on the inside of the glass. By leaving the outside wall of glass clear and thick you get that multidimensional shimmeriness (not sure if that’s a word:)). Keep your coat very light. If the paint starts to run your layer is too thick. Roll the vase around and let it dry upside down for about a minute. (Obviously I’m  spraying a cake plate and not a vase in this picture.)
  4. DRY UPSIDE DOWN:In between each coat it’s a good idea to turn the vase and then dry upside down on a rack.
  5. BLOT: Take a damp (wrung out) paper towel and wad it up. Carefully put it inside of the glass and press carefully against the paint. You will be lifting the paint away that is setting on top of the water beads. This looks so cool!

TECHNIQUE: This is really the fun part and probably the most stressful part for you perfectionists out there. There are 2 main techniques to remove the paint.

BLOTTING: Blotting just lifts the drops and gives this effect.


PRESS AND TWIST: Pressing on the paper towel and twisting slightly clacks the paint and slide larger chunks of it around. It gives this effect.

You can see the different effect that each technique has. I personally like a combination of both. If you accidentally remove too much of the silver just respray and blot again until you are happy with the results.

5. Continue repeating this process until you achieve the desired transparency. I did about 3-5 coats on the ones in the pictures. Dry on a rack upside down.

*Optional: I LOVE the transparent shimmer of the bright silver, BUT if you want to age your mercury glass a bit, apply a dark brown glaze on the inside of the glass when the silver is all the way dry. Blot it very lightly and gently with a damp sponge or foam brush. Be careful not to disturb the looking glass paint though.

I can’t believe how awesome it turned out. I feel like the little girl on Despicable Me, “It’s so fluffy I could die!” Of course I would replace “fluffy” with “shiny”.

Ok. Time to compare to the real stuff. What do ya think?

{ 86 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelley @ Kelley Maria July 4, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Your mercury glass turned out beautifully! I love the technique you used…I think it’s better than mine :) Now I want to try yours out!

admin July 4, 2011 at 10:39 pm

Thanks Kelley!

Jennifer July 15, 2011 at 6:51 pm

How would you do this with a lamp, where you have to paint on the outside? Thanks!

admin July 18, 2011 at 7:27 am

This exact result isn’t possible by applying the Krylon Looking Glass on the outside. The paint is formulated to build that reflective sheen on the reverse side. Sometimes glass lamps have a hole on the bottom where they’ve been blown, if that’s the case then you could spray inside through there.

Meliss @ Shabby LOCO July 17, 2011 at 2:26 pm

April, I LURVE your idea! Aren’t you a little smartie cake..I linked it at my blog, and just wanted to let you know…YOUR A STINKIN’ GENIUS!! *HUGS*…Meliss

Elena July 29, 2011 at 11:29 pm

does this only work on glass? i need this chrome look for a tie back/hold back for drapery.
i can’t find any chrome ones out there and wanted to paint a pewter one with the chrome paint but like the way this mercury stuff looks better. wondering if it would work on other material besides glass.

admin August 8, 2011 at 1:32 pm

The Krylon Looking Glass does really only work on glass. Kyrlon makes a really good looking chrome spray though that would probably work great.

Kim Simmons August 2, 2011 at 1:58 pm

you are AWESOME! Thanks so much for taking the time to share these steps & all your experience w/ the rest of us lazy gals! See, actually ur NOT LAZY cuz you took the time to SHARE all this great & helpful info while some of us suffer from guilt for NOT taking the time! (well, at least I took the time to THANK YOU! – someday I’ll get around to the sharing part) Keep up the beautiful work!

gail Hvatum August 15, 2011 at 3:23 pm

……………AWESOME………………. :- ) Thanks !!

Kem August 28, 2011 at 2:00 am

I think you are a total rockstar!!!!! I cannot wait to raid my local thriftstore and try this!

Kem August 28, 2011 at 2:02 am

I think you are a total rockstar!!!! I cannot wait to raid my local thrift store and try this for myself!

Karyn October 3, 2011 at 11:16 am

I’m going to try this technique for some vases and I’m wondering what will happen to the paint if I put water in the vase. Would you suggest a clear paint finish AFTER you’ve applied the Looking Glass and brown glaze? I appreciate that you showed the difference between the Looking Glass and chrome paint, because I was considering trying the chrome to save money. Your photos and simple instructions were helpful and convinced me to give this a try. Thanks!

admin October 6, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Yes, a clear coat would be a good idea.

Flo Hollingsworth October 15, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Ohmagoodness… I found your post on Pinterest. I’m gonna have to try this. Thanks for posting such clear directions. :)

Elizabeth February 17, 2012 at 11:18 pm

Hi April ~ thanks for the tutorial. Was very helpful. Will be doing my first merc glass this week on 3 or 4 lamps. Then I’ll be on the search for more clear glass objects

melissa February 19, 2012 at 9:47 pm

I cannot WAIT to try this! I have a metal bedroom lamp that I have been trying to decide: WHAT TO DO WITH THIS?!?!?! Now I know! I think yours looks great! Thanks for sharing!

Marie Clayton March 23, 2012 at 6:56 am

Hi, I think this is so lovely and would love to try this on some glassware I have but don’t know where I could buy looking glass paint as I live in Australia. Do you have any suggestions or could it be a different name? Thanks heaps

admin March 28, 2012 at 4:36 pm

I would probably just order online from a craft or art supply store. Krylon is the only company I know of that makes it for non-commerical use.

Silvia April 30, 2012 at 6:56 pm

How do you obtain the mercury glass effect on candlesticks and other decor such as fruits, birds. My sister is getting married and would like to decorate with faux mercury glass

admin May 1, 2012 at 8:52 pm

It will only work on items that are hollow and that you can actually paint inside of.

kristin June 22, 2012 at 10:41 am

I’ve looked for this, but haven’t seen it in the stores. Where did you wind up finding it?

admin June 22, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Both Michael’s and AC Moore carry it BUT it’s not kept with the paints. It’s with the glass section of the store.

Kristy May 6, 2013 at 4:33 pm

I found this paint at Walmart. It was in the spray paint aisle, but not with the other Krylon spray paint colors/finishes. It was further down the aisle and was in a much smaller can, about 4 inches tall.

alesha September 10, 2012 at 2:01 pm

once the paint is dry, is it water resistant? i am looking to use this technique for vases and votives that will hold floating led lamps.

Allyson Reed October 4, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Thank you for this wonderful tutorial! I am totally pinning so I can come back to it once I get some spray!!

Yvette-Michelle @ Crafted Spaces November 14, 2012 at 5:41 am

I love the method you used. The results look amazing. I have wanted to try this product for some time now and you have convinced me that I should. Thanks for share. Great job!

Ashley November 18, 2012 at 12:53 am

Thanks for the advice. Unfortunately, I sprayed the looking glass first without spraying the vases with water. They still look great, but do you have any suggestions for getting the smudged/spotty look after the paint has dried since I didn’t use water to create the dots?

admin November 19, 2012 at 5:02 pm

I would try a little bit of steel wool. I think that could remove some of the paint. Just do it gently with a bit of water and soap.

Cheri November 28, 2012 at 6:50 pm

Absolutely loved your tutorial. I am wondering have you tried this technique on ceramic and is there a way it might work?

I just love the look of this and can’t wait to do it!


admin November 28, 2012 at 8:18 pm

In my experience it only works on clear glass because it has to be sprayed on the backside of the glass. It’s formulated to be mirrored only on the side that it cruelly adheres too. Have fun with your project.

Maebelle December 11, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Can this same application be used on a mirror to make it look aged?

admin December 12, 2012 at 6:32 pm

I think this product would great for that. That is actually what the product was created for.

Kristi January 10, 2013 at 9:28 am

Will I get the same successful look, if I use this technique on the outside of the glass? Just curious.

And do you know of any Krylon® Looking Glass® Spray Paint, that is in color???

Thanks in advance!

admin January 17, 2013 at 9:07 am

No, the paint is designed to be mirror-like on the back side.

Karen Rector January 14, 2013 at 9:44 am

April~You did a beautiful job! Best tutorial I have read on faux mercury glass technique. Kudos!

admin January 17, 2013 at 9:06 am

Thank you so much!

Debbie January 16, 2013 at 10:24 am

So I’m trying your technique(s) today…not very artsy-craftsy…so do I spray the water before each coat or just initially?

admin January 17, 2013 at 9:06 am

Yes ma’am. I really only did about 1 1/2 coats though. It doesn’t take much.

Debbie January 17, 2013 at 12:15 pm

Thanks for the reply. My efforts turned out rather well. Is it safe to put a tea light candle or any candle for that matter into a painted piece? Also, do you have any suggestions for dealing with vases with smaller necks … too small to get my hand into without touching the sides of opening?

admin January 17, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Yes, candles are safe after the paint has dried.
I have seen a straw that can attach to any spray can of paint. It allows you to get into had to reach ares. I would go to home depot for something like that.
Have fun!

cecilia January 17, 2013 at 3:50 pm

I love your mercury glass, so enjoyed your tutorial, thank you so much I cant wait to try.

Becks April 24, 2013 at 11:53 am

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! i’m making these for my wedding (i’ll be making about 80 candle votives and about 30 vases) i’m just waiting for a period of continuous good fine weather and i’ll get cracking on all the jam jars i’ve saved!

Some of the openings are narrow, so it’s good to see a question and response on that too, i’ll look for a spray paint straw type thing. If anyone needs the link to a company that sells this spray in the UK its : they only courier it though, as royal mail will not post aerosols. If you email them, they are really quick to respond and really helpful too. x

Pip P July 22, 2013 at 8:15 am


I’m in the UK too and was thinking about getting this paint from the supplier you mentioned – it seems the only place you can get it! I was wondering how many cans you got through with the lot you mentioned for your wedding. I’m not sure how many 6oz cans to get!


Nicole January 22, 2013 at 9:32 pm

Hi April! Thanks so much for this tutorial. Your pieces came out awesome! I went to the thrift store the other day and spent $9 on a bunch of glass. Now I’m on the hunt for Krylon Looking Glass Paint. Checked ACmoore and Michaels but not luck there. Going to try Loews, Home Depot & Walmart next. I can’t wait to try out all the techniques! Thanks for sharing!! :)

melissa@joyineveryseason March 17, 2013 at 11:00 pm

i’m so grateful for your tutorial … i painted some items this weekend that came out sadly, drearily, depressingly gray using paint that was *not* looking glass … i’m off tomorrow to get the right stuff … thanks much!

admin April 24, 2013 at 4:02 pm

You are so welcome!

Heather April 9, 2013 at 5:17 pm

I want to do this for my candle votives is it flammable and will it set a fire if I do? I heard that they let off a alot of toxic fumes? Help this is for my wedding!

Thank you

Heather April 9, 2013 at 5:20 pm

disregard I just saw your post above about tea lights :) THank you!!!!

Lori April 17, 2013 at 6:20 pm

Is the mercury glass paint you spray inside the vase, candle holder, etc. flammable? I’d like to spray the inside of some candle holders and then use a real flame to light it.

admin April 24, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Not after it dries. I put candles in my vases all the time!

Wendy May 4, 2013 at 7:35 pm

Hello April, I want to spray paint a chandelier that is gold and I want it too look like Mercury glass, Isnt there any spray paint that will give that look without using water? do you think it will cover the gold bronze look? thank you Wendy

admin May 6, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Mercury glass has to be applied from the inside otherwise it just look flat silver. If the chandelier is hollow it might work.

Amber May 23, 2013 at 7:00 pm

I have been experimenting with the looking glass spray, and painting it on te outside of objects that I can’t get to the inside of, it looks great! No, it’s not quite as reflective as it might be if it was sprayed inside, but it still works great!! Also, you have more control of the look this way. I don’t know why everyone insists on spraying it to the inside of objects, you can do it on the outside! Try it out on an inexpensive votive from the dollar tree!!!

admin June 8, 2013 at 6:45 pm

Thanks! I will.

Cathy September 19, 2013 at 9:50 pm

That’s great to know as I have 3 lamps that have an antique mercury finish and I really want them to be silver. I am afraid to take them apart to paint inside and everything I read says only paint the inside. Is the surface wipe able if you paint on outside?

Enamul Hoque May 16, 2013 at 7:53 am

Can i use it in polythene to reflect solar ray

Nathalia June 10, 2013 at 12:16 am

Hey! I’m so lucky for finding your tutorial! I was really in doubt about this spray. Do you think that it can be used to make a mirror that looks like a new one, with an uniform reflex? Thank you really…

admin June 12, 2013 at 9:00 am

Yes, I think that is it’s true purpose.

Rebecca June 14, 2013 at 11:23 am

These vases are so beautiful! I was so excited to try it and then I found out that Looking glass has been discontinued and is not available in Canada at all :(any suggestions?

admin June 22, 2013 at 8:52 am

Have you tried ordering it online from Michael’s or AC Moore?

Candi June 27, 2013 at 4:58 pm

I went to our local Michael’s the other day and they said they are no longer carrying the Krylon Looking Glass. I checked their website and they don’t have it there either. I ordered a couple of cans from Amazon. I guess Walmart carries it too.

Tamara July 27, 2013 at 11:18 pm

What brown glaze do you use? Also, on your plate, did you spray the back?

Elizabeth weber September 14, 2013 at 11:15 am

Can I use this method to make an old looking mirror- one that looks as if done with old process mercurial silvering?

Cathy September 19, 2013 at 9:45 pm

I have some lamps that have an antiqued mercury base. I really want them to be silver, so I picked up a few cans of the Krylon Looking Glass paint. I don’t know if its possible to take lamp bottom off to paint inside though. Also, with it already having the mercury (crackle) look, if I spray the paint over it will it still show the crackle look? I hope so. I have attached a picture…would appreciate any advise you could give me.

Thank you

Dianne Stallworth September 30, 2013 at 9:57 am

Great Job!!!! How many cans so spray paint did you use for these pieces on mantel?? I live some distance from paint store and would like to buy enough to finish all once I get started. Thanks

Cyndee October 9, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Does this painting technique work on the outside of glass as well? Looks like you have sprayed the items on the inside only. I would like to try and paint a glass lamp on the exterior, but I am not sure if it is possible. Also, does it have to be clear glass to work.

Thank you,

k October 9, 2013 at 8:26 pm

mercury glass how to

Tim November 3, 2013 at 8:28 am

Has anyone tried a coat of paint beneath the mirror paint? I’m think some of Krylon’s flourescent paints underneath might make a good effect beneath the distressed mirror finish …

Luanne Taylor November 14, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Mirror glass

Luanne Taylor November 14, 2013 at 3:50 pm

Mirror glass tutorial

Sandy Mitchell November 23, 2013 at 9:01 am

Thank you so much for this information. It is exactly what I was looking for. Can’t wait to get started.

Pam Zirbel November 29, 2013 at 7:01 am

Awesome!! I have been wanting to try this for quite a while! some people use vinegar…why is that?!! These turned out fabulous!!!!! Thanks for sharing this!!!

Suzanne Snowdon April 9, 2014 at 9:18 pm

How do I get the mercury glass look in a gold color?

Lynn Dudley June 9, 2014 at 11:44 am


Is there a way to use small mouthed bottles? I have some great ones, but I don’t think there is a way to get the water and paint inside. I am going to try to spray inside the small opening and maybe swirl the water around, then spray in the paint. Have you tried that?

Also, I haven’t read all the comments and maybe you have addressed this, can I serve food on the unpainted side of a plate or bowl? Or…is this just decorative?


admin January 20, 2015 at 2:36 pm

I would serve food on the UNPAINTED side for sure, but make sure you wash it by hand.

As far as small mouthed glass, I would try the straw adapter for spray cans.

Kim August 21, 2014 at 12:01 am

Just tried this today with a whole bunch of jars and vases – it worked great! I love the results. Thank you for the awesome tutorial, it helped kick my butt into gear :).

Jeri October 26, 2014 at 10:52 am

Can you paint girds with this?1@

Kim October 29, 2014 at 12:43 am

I have a slight problem. My new house cleaner accidentally “cleaned” my Mercury glass and wiped a lot of the finish off. How do I fix this? five Pottery Barn pieces damaged any thoughts? thanks

Gypsysun November 2, 2014 at 7:23 pm

This technique is sooooooooooooo AWESOME !! Must ry this very week !! Thanks for sharing !!!

Kaycee November 22, 2014 at 1:41 am

Trying to do a sweetheart table for my daughter’s wedding. I bought actual mercury glass that is silver, but want to add more of a gold effect, “gilver” if you will. Would it be safe to paint the inside of these candle holder goblets w. Gold . If do, what product to use? Looking for this effect from Google images, but my glass is definitely silver not gold. I fid manage to purchase some mercury glass votives lined in gold.…6854.44146.0.48173.…0…1.1.58.img..40.33.3830.ci5rSAs7RDI#facrc=_&

Kaycee November 22, 2014 at 1:52 am

The pix I am going for is top center w. The three candleholders on a mirror.

Kaycee November 22, 2014 at 1:43 am

Trying to do a sweetheart table for my daughter’s wedding. I bought actual mercury glass that is silver, but want to add more of a gold effect, “gilver” if you will. Would it be safe to paint the inside of these candle holder goblets w. Gold? If so, what product to use? Looking for this effect from Google images, but my glass is definitely silver not gold. I did manage to purchase some mercury glass votives lined in gold, to coordinate.…6854.44146.0.48173.…0…1.1.58.img..40.33.3830.ci5rSAs7RDI#facrc=_&

Barbie November 23, 2014 at 7:50 am

Mercury Glass Tutorial

Janice Scott December 2, 2014 at 6:54 pm

I’ll be looking for’LOOKING Glass paint tomorrow. I am anxious to try this.! THIS. Thanks!!

Dana Sue Smith January 5, 2015 at 1:11 am

You just may have achieved “hero status”! I am hoping to replicate something like this for a dear friend’s, daughter’s wedding. I do have one question…okay, I know, according to my family, there are clearly a half a dozen questions rattling around in my brain, but today…at this moment…this is the most intriguing! Noting that I am sitting in my house and have yet to run to McDaniel’s Do-It Center, here in Snohomish, WA (they are closed, otherwise…) but the bride was hoping for a bit of a “gold-ish” tone. Does this paint come in any other hue? Or, do you have any brilliant ideas as to how add “said hue” to “said glass”? Yes, I have been watching way, way too many episodes of “Blue Bloods” on Netflix! Ha, ha, ha! Your thoughts? (I mean on the gold-ish thing…)
Thank you!
-dana sue

admin January 20, 2015 at 2:33 pm

This paint doesn’t come in any other hue that I know of, however, I think it’d be worth trying a gold metallic paint as the base. I would spray the glass with the gold first and then do the water and paper cloth technique. Let it dry and then do the looking glass over lightly. I bet that would be BEAUTIFUL!

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