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How to Create Mercury Glass

Create the look of faux mercury glass mirror and get that antiqued, aged mercury glass look for a fraction of the cost on an old window or even a picture frame. I love the look of Mercury glass, and old silvered antique mirrors. I had an old window with clear glass that I thought would be the perfect way to try out a new technique with metallic paint and silver leaf, no vinegar solution or spray bottle needed! Old mercury glass is actually really toxic. This method uses paint and silver leaf and is a much better way to make it in this DIY mercury glass tutorial.

Supplies for making a mercury glass silvered mirror

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I used DecoArt paint for this tutorial (this post is not sponsored). I used Pearl Extreme Sheen, Champagne Gold Extreme Sheen ,and Americana Multi-surface Metallic in Silver and Black Tie I also used Silver Leaf, and leafing adhesive. I picked these paints because you can paint on almost any surface including glass and using craft paint is an inexpensive way to create your own mercury glass look for a fraction of the cost of real mercury glass and use it for holiday decorations or almost any glass object.

Applying silver paint onto tempered glass to make faux mercury glass

Start dabbing on paint to work towards your aged mirror effect to create the look of mirrored paint. It should have a mottled look.

After cleaning the window, and using painter’s tape to tape off the edges. I did a base coat of painting the frame with chalk paint, knowing I would need to touch up again when I was done with the mercury glass portion. To begin, I started by carefully, lightly dabbing thin layers of  pearl paint on the back side of the window on the glass panes. This will help give a sheen to your faux painted mercury glass. The easiest way is to use paper towel or rag and blot the paint on in thin coats gently, it will create a more aged pattern. I recommend using a window with a  tempered glass in it for safety reasons for this DIY project.  Even if it is tempered, I am still always careful to use light pressure so I don’t accidentally break the glass. You can also use this technique on plexiglass as well.

Dab on a paint mixture of paint to make a faux mercury glass mirror. #fauxantiquemirror #mercuryglassdiy #diyantiquedmirror

After the first coat of Pearl paint, then dab on different coats of paint of Black Tie, Champagne Gold, and then the Silver paint. Be very light with the gold, and add more of the silver. You are going for a mottled mercury glass effect on the glass. Keep dabbing until you get a coverage over the entire window. Repeat the steps until you get the level of desired patina.

Let paint dry to create a silvered vintage looking mirror

Let your paint dry. You can see I have various shades and textures of paint to create layers of your faux mercury glass to create a pretty sparkle. You can do this with technique with home decor, thrift store glassware, mason jars, recycled bottles or even glass candlesticks from the dollar store.

Add silver leafing to the back of glass to make your faux antiqued mirror have more depth and shimmer.

Once your paint is dry, follow the directions on adding your silver leaf to complete your faux mercury glass mirror look. I randomly applied my adhesive so the leafing would look patchy in the end result like a well-aged mirror going up to the inside of the window frame. I knew I was going to paint my entire back black, but if you want to maintain the back of your frame, use painter’s tape to mask off the edges.

Silver leafing on glass for a DIY faux mercury glass mirror

Once your leafing is done, paint the entire back of the glass  in the black paint to make it dark and dense. This is going to give your DIY mercury glass mirror depth, and make it look like a real antiqued mirror, instead of a fake antiqued mirror. This is a reverse process. If you decide to do this on a jar, you need to either do these steps in reverse or on the inside of the glass.

Paint back of faux silvered mercury glass mirror to give it more depth and the look of an antiqued mirror.

Let the DIY mercury mirror dry completely.  If you want a more finished back, you can decoupage paper, or felt or even fabric onto the back. See how a mercury glass ornament is transformed with Rub N Buff!

A mercury glass window with a vintage silvered effect

Once I was done, I had a beautiful vintage, aged mirror effect! The craft store also carries a few products if you don’t want to use silver leafing such as mirror spray paint like Rustoleum Mirror Effect spray paint, and Krylon Looking Glass-Paint are two other options to get the mirrored look on the outside of the glass. It will also give a softer mirrored look than the silver leaf.

Silver leafed mercury glass window

The effect is so lovely, I really want to do this with a door or much larger window. I love the look of metallic paint using glass paint like this gold mercury glass effect on these mini-vases.

Merciry glass vintage silvered window with paint and silver leaf

I added a pretty boxwood wreath. I love how the green looks against the silver. If you love mercury glass,glitter, and gold and silver leaf, you can see this project,  and this project. I even included a few projects in my Christmas book on Amazon that use mercury glass spray paint.