In my quest for affordable and chic home decor, I ran across a lamp on the Pottery Barn website. A beautiful lamp. A "mercury glass" lamp. For those of you who don't know what "mercury glass" is (which was me approximately 3 days ago), it is "glass that was blown double-walled, then silvered between the layers with a liquid silvering solution, and sealed." (Thank you, Wikipedia.) There is absolutely no way I could ever afford a real mercury glass lamp. So, I got to thinking...could I MAKE a mercury glass lamp? Not a real one, of course. My glass-blowing skills fell by the wayside when I started law school. (Sarcasm. I've never been THAT crafty.)
I did some searching around on the internet and found a simple method for faking mercury glass explained by none other than Martha Stewart. Martha, I salute you. You may just be a genius.
- Glass lamp from Target ($40)
- Burlap-style lamp shade from Target ($14) (remember that the lamp I'm trying to replicate was paired with a burlap shade)
- Spray bottle filled with water (i.e., what I use to discipline my dog...)
- Krylon Looking Glass Mirror-Like Spray Paint (can be found at Hobby Lobby)
- Painter's tape for delicate surfaces
- 2 trash bags
- Newspaper for outdoor work surface
The original method (that can be used on any kind of glass surface) can be found at Martha Stewart's website.
- Unscrew metal lamp base from glass part of lamp. The base won't totally unscrew, but there will be enough of an opening for you to spray paint the lamp's interior.
- Cover all exposed areas of electrical cord inside lamp THOROUGHLY with painter's tape.
- Wrap 1 trash bag around exterior of lamp, and use painter's tape to secure it. Use painter's tape to cover ANY exterior surfaces of the lamp that remain exposed
- Wrap second trash bag around lamp's electrical cord. Secure with painter's tape so that no area of cord remains exposed.
- Cover outdoor workspace with newspaper to protect it.
- Use water spray bottle to lightly spray the INTERIOR of the glass lamp (see why we're covering all exposed wires??). The water will make the paint mottled and give it the antique-y mercury glass look.
- Use "mirror" spray paint to lightly spray the INTERIOR of the glass lamp.
- Leave the metal lamp base detached from the glass body of the lamp and allow the interior of the lamp to dry overnight.
- Repeat steps 6-8 if the result is too sheer.
- Once the mirror finish paint has dried, and if you're feeling especially daring, you can spray a LITTLE more water and VERY VERY LIGHTLY spray gold metallic spray paint in the interior of the lamp. Older mercury glass sometimes has a little gold in it.
After step 3 and before step 4, your lamp will look a lot like a mummy:
Photo of lamp after Step 8:
If paint does get on the outside of the glass or on the metal parts of the lamp (or if you're using this method to make mercury glass out of a candle holder or vase, don't like the way it looks, and want to start over), a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser will get the spray paint off of the glass in no time at all. It really is a "magic" eraser.