DIY: Designer Mercury Glass baubles on a budget!
Updated: Mar 2
I'm a bit in love with mercury glass at the moment. That dull, aged mirror effect is just the right amount of sparkly-pretty-thing without going into full blown modern-chrome.
I had been looking into using mercury glass for some of our wedding decorations (yes I know it's still 18 months away, I like to plan ahead!!) and found these hanging baubles, which seemed exactly perfect for what I had in mind.
Don't they look great? A little less aged than I would probably go for, but beautiful!
The issue is, I need LOTS - at least 120 - and at £14.99 for 4, that's £450!!!
So, me being me, I began looking into a way to do it myself.
We'd used the clear glass baubles before as part of a Christmas window decoration one year, so I knew I could get hold of those, and at 99p or less per bauble on EBAY, they were a steal.
After a little bit of searching, I settled on Rustoleum's mirror-effect spray paint, as it seemed to have the best reviews, and I'd worked with Rustoleum before. It comes in gold and silver, and is £8.49 for 150ml.
I got one of each, since Andy finds the gold mercury glass too gold, and the silver mercury glass to silver (Yes, he's always that difficult!) so I figured I could try layering the colours and see if I could find a shade in between.
Now, I've not done much with spray paint. I had one attempt a few years back where I discovered its not easy to get an even finish - but mercury glass is designed to look flawed, so even my basic hope-for-the-best spray job should be enough for this!
First off, I set up a cardboard box and hung the baubles inside, and then I went to town with the spray paint!
You can see from the photo that its a little patchy in places, and a little heavy-handed in others, but I loved the shine - It genuinely did look like a mirror!
After they'd dried off a little, I took some kitchen towel I'd dabbed in a little vinegar to act as an abrasive, and started to rub off the spray paint. It didn't take much (I actually had to re-spray the first attempt!) and ended up still looking a little too patchy for my taste. So I messed around with it a bit, trying to find the best method, and decided that spraying the paint on and immediately dabbing at it with a dry paper towel seemed to work best.
Then I left them to dry, and went on the hunt for some tea lights to test them!
It was only once I tried to fit the tea light that I realised I had a problem. When I ordered the baubles, I didn't pay attention to the size, and mistakenly ordered the 6cm size rather than the 8cm size. Both Andy and I really liked the smaller version, so we put it down to a happy accident - until I realised the 6cm weren't big enough for a standard tea light. (We were planning on using the flame-less tea lights for the wedding, but I only had a real one to hand to test)
After a brief hunt online to see if there was such a thing as mini flame-less tea lights (there aren't) I had to think of another option, and decided to see what those copper-wire fairy lights would look like, instead, since we had some on hand. (1m battery operated string lights. only 10 LED's and one button battery required)
This was the result:
Doesn't that look pretty?
So, there you have it. You can achieve mercury glass results on a budget, and I can happily get on with collecting the baubles over the next 18 months, safe in the knowledge that I've saved myself over £300! :)
What do you think? Is Mercury glass your thing or do you hate it? Maybe you have a better method of getting the same effect? I'd love to hear from you!