Saturday, January 7, 2012

DIY Mercury Glass - Lamp Reveal!

I've been lusting after mercury glass for a few years now. Yes, lusting. I know it still counts, but I did not allow myself to buy it, except for that pretty ornament from Hobby Lobby that was marked 70 percent off last year. Usually, the numbers on the price tag had the same effect as a cold shower. Not that I've ever had a cold shower for that reason. Do they really do that?

Earlier this year, when I began reading blogs, I saw several lovely vessels painted with looking glass paint. It had the appeal of mercury glass, which I love! There were some basic tutorials about how to do it. Mostly they advised spraying a clear glass item with a spray bottle of water and then spraying it with Looking Glass piaint. They did mention it was very thin and drippy, and the smell was very strong. 

After finding a can at Hobby Lobby, I had my sights on finding some lovely shaped glass lamps. That took a while, but I finally found a couple one small lamp, and another really nicely shaped larger lamp. The larger lamp is what I want to share with you today.

Here's what it looked like when I found it:

The shape of the lamp is so pretty! As you can see, the price was pretty, too. Some clever person had filled it with pretty turquoise sand and seashells. I like the color, and I like seashells, but I had other plans. I knew I could easily take this lamp apart and clean the sand and shells out of it. I also hoped I could make it look very similar to the ones I had seen from Pottery Barn.

A few days ago, I got my pliers and loosened the nut on the bottom of the lamp that holds the components together. The lamp came apart easily, and I emptied out the sand and shells. In my last post, I teased you a bit. I told you I found a surprise in one of the lamps. Well this is what I found...

See all the pretty shells that came out of the lamp? Well guess what? They're not shells. They're fancy soaps!  As I was rinsing the sand off one, I noticed it felt very slick and soapy. It smelled nice, too! I laughed out loud, but I must admit, it was a pretty clever solution to their desire for a seashell-filled glass lamp in the middle of the desert southwest! There are no beaches or seashells within 700 miles.

When I finished washing out the lamp, I began painting it immediately - since it was supposed to be sprayed with water anyway, no need to wait! I like that. 

I decided I'd spray the inside of the lamp. The opening wasn't very big - so I sprayed and sort of let it drip inside and swished it around. I spent an entire evening spraying and swishing on the inside of the two lamps. I must have done half a dozen coats! It did not look like I wanted. It was very dull and transparent and I could see drips everywhere. 

Since I had painted the glass candlesticks I showed you in my last post on the outside and they were great, I decided there must be a front and back to the paint, like a mirror. Duh. 

The next day, I painted the lamps on the outside. I put about 6 more coats on the outside of the lamps. It definitely looked better! I'm not sure about the durability, but since they're also painted on the inside, I don't think any scratches or chips will look bad. (If your project will get much handling, you might want to spray a clear coat on it.)

To me, lover of tarnish and patina, the charm of mercury glass is in the imperfections!

See the little bubbles an drippy things? Pretty mercury glass-like. I'll definitely do this again!

Here are a few more tips from my perspective:

  • Do work outside - it is very stinky. (For some of you, this will have to wait until spring! Sorry.)
  • Do use drop cloths - it is very drippy.
  • Do spray with water - I used an empty leave-in hair conditioner product spray bottle.
  • Do spray the outside of your pieces, or both inside and outside if possible.
  • Do plan on spending a little time - it will probably take several light coats.
  • Do try to spray the top side of an object to keep dripping to a minimum. (I turned my lamp on it's side and sprayed each side lightly, rotating to cover it all.)
  • Do resist the urge to spray enough to "cover" - this is a very thin transparent paint. If you get "coverage" you will also have drips. Light, thin coats work best.
  • Note - This paint may work on non-glass shiny surfaces as well as glass. I painted the metal base to this lamp in oiled bronze, and didn't like it. So, I began spritzing it during the last few coats, and it looks like the glass part of the lamp. I will try it on oiled bronze painted object. I think the background color would work great as a background for the shiny silver. I'll let you know how that works!
  • I sprayed 2 candlesticks, 2 goblets, and 2 lamps with one small can. I still have a little left, but not enough for another lamp. I think it was worth the price - I think it was around $12 for the can.

The shade is not right - it was borrowed from another lamp. I know I want something a little bigger,  textural and drum-shaped. 

I really like how the paint shows the cute shape of the lamp better than the clear glass did!

See my cute little iron bird? It was a birthday present from my favorite aunt June last year. 

See the pretty French box? It was a birthday present a few years back from my friend Stacey.

Hmmm - I guess I need to keep having birthdays! It's nice having loved ones with good taste.

Word for the Day:

Proverbs 31:18

She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. 

May there always be a light in the window to welcome you home!

Linking with:
Sunday Creative Bloggers Party Hop
Monday Metamorphosis Monday Making The World Cuter Monday Motivate Me Monday Show Off Your Cottage Monday
Wednesday - What’s It Wednesday
Thursday Under $100 Link Party Suzy's House Party Transformation Thursday Share Awesomeness Thursday Thrifty Thursday - Thursday Favorite Things
Friday Fridays on Remodelaholic Friday Redoux Link Party Frugal Friday Frugalicious Friday
Saturday Saturday Nite Special Show and Tell Saturday 


Sissie's Shabby Cottage said...

What a great project. Your lamp turned out beautifully. Thanks for the tutorial.


LizlovesVintage said...

It looks great. Like you purchased it at Home Goods! I was wondering about that project myself. What a great look! Thanks for leaving me a comment.
Have a relaxing Sunday :)
xxx Liz

Janet said...

Your lamp is gorgeous! What a great idea to use looking glass paint! I painted an old window frame with looking glass paint and it gave it the look of an antique mirror. Thanks for the tutorial, I'll have to try this!

Unknown said...

Such a pretty lamp and your friend has good taste! Thanks for visiting and for your comment.

Rosemary@villabarnes said...

The lamp looks awesome Tamala. You gave some great tips. Love your gifts too.

Jennifer @ Dimples and Tangles said...

That turned out so nicely! The lamp was just kind-of there before but now it's a showstopper! I just bought some glass Christmas trees at the thrift store with your post in mind when I saw them. Can't wait to try it out!

Ricki Treleaven said...

I adore mercury glass! Your lamp looks so nice. I love the shade, too. Great job, Revi!

Shenita @ Embellishments by SLR said...

What a great project! The lamp turned out great! It looks like a high-end piece! Thanks so much for your sweet comments on my blog! I really appreciate it! Have a great week!

Marsha said...

Love the lamp.

I really love Proverbs--especially 31.

farmhouse-story said...

the lamp is so lovely, revi! thanks for the tips:) your little bird and box are darling, too:) have a great week!

Sarah @ Modern Country Style said...

Wow! You've done a really great job with your lamp. I love it!!

Isn't it fun trying out new ideas?!


Barb said...

Hi Revi, your lamp is fabulous. How clever and inspiring.


Kj said...

Wow that looks makes me want to go out and get some paint!

Anonymous said...

Your lamp looks absolutely adorable! You were right about the lines of being so new. It looks like a different lamp. BTW....I wanted to invite you to stop by my blog. We are having an "impossibility" challenge for 2012!

Heaven's Walk said...

Revi - what an incredible transformation, girl! That lamp look so elegant and chic now! I love it! And I'm going to have to get my hands on some of that magical paint. :)

xoxo laurie

Lynn at Cottage and Creek said...

Great post! The lamp looks great. It sounds tedious to do but the results are fabulous. I love lamps and I've been trying to learn how to rewire them. You did a great job and now you have a great conversation piece too. The "before" and "after" pics are so inspiring. Have a great week.

Pitter and Glink said...

This turned out great! Very pretty. :)

Town and Country Gals said...

the lamp turned out fabulous! Started out with a cute shape and now the color makes it amazing!
Have not tried it yet but hav been reading about it. You did a great job!

Fishtail Cottage said...

how cool is that? i love that you did that on your own - fabulous redo! xoox, trace

Elisa at home sweet nest said...

K - I need to try this again because yours looks great! I tried this one time on a window and used the whole can and it didn't seem to do anything. Yours turned out lovely!

Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson said...

Wow Revi, this is amazing! I have a bit of mercury glass and it looks like the real thing. I love how it turned out. Yes, your bird and box are treasures to be adored.

Gwen @ The Bold Abode said...

Now, that's a lot of paintin! Turned out gorgeous!!!

Unknown said...

Great job! Beautiful!

Life In The Thrifty Lane said...

Awesome project, looks great!

Honey at 2805 said...

The lamps looks great! You did a terrific job!

cathy@My1929Charmer said...

the shape of the lamp is very nice, and looks great now that it a mercury glass lamp. Thanks so much for the detail you provided us on this project. I love mercury glass also, but dont want to pay the price, and been thinking of doing myself. Now I'll have the confidence at least to try. Great idea. Thanks for sharing at Sunday's Best and all your inspiration!

Erin {Lavender and Lemon Drops} said...

It looks great! I tried this and I guess I was a little to impatient... I had drips and no bubbles :/ My lamp looked horrible. I'll have to give it another go ;)

michele said...

i love your project! visiting via french country cottage.

would love to have you stop over to my kate spade giveaway!



Katalina Jewelry said...

Love your faux mercury lamp!