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:
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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
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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Yep, Another Faux Mercury Glass Post...

Procrastination. It probably should be one of my new year resolutions, but I'll get around to doing those later...

I know I've mentioned how my  daughter unwittingly started me on the path to blogging. She also sent me an invitation to join Pinterest. I LOVE Pinterest. It is probably as addictive as coffee. One of the first things I ever pinned was a photo of Pottery Barn mercury glass lamps. I'm sure you've seen it countless times. Really, who wouldn't love these lamps?

At first I pinned them just because I liked the way they looked. Then, I noticed there was a tutorial!
It is from iVillage DIY Hacks. It was titled, "Why Buy What You Can Make?" Well, cheapskate that I am, I clicked on it and found a brief tutorial that mentioned the magic potion for making these lovely lamps: Krylon Looking Glass spray paint. I LOVE spray paint! I was all over this idea.

I looked at Walmart, but couldn't find it. I looked at Lowe's and Hobby Lobby and couldn't find it. Then, someone mentioned it was in a smaller can, and they'd seen it at Hobby Lobby. I need very little incentive to make a trip to Hobby Lobby, so off I went with my 40 percent off coupon in hand! I found it when I looked with the small cans.

Meanwhile, I'd been looking for clear glass lamps to paint. I had seen tons of them, and never really wanted a clear glass lamp. I figured finding them would be simple. I was wrong - there were none. Zero. I was convinced all the early birds had picked them up, sprayed them and blogged about them. 

So, I kept looking for clear glass lamps and reading every mercury glass tutorial I saw in blogland. Most tutorials were lacking some information I needed - such as do you spray the inside or the outside of an object? Would it only work on glass, or could other materials work, too?

The paint was considerably more expensive than other spray paint, and I didn't want to experiment and ruin a cool thrift store find OR waste expensive paint.

I eventually found lamps I liked, and I'll tell you all about them in my next post. But meanwhile, the first thing I experimented on were a couple of glass candlesticks I picked up in November. 

 They were cheap, and it was 50 percent off day, too!

That's right. The pair was .75c - perfect! I liked the shape of them, and visualized them in mercurial silver. 

That same day, I found these:

I thought they made excellent candidates for the faux mercury treatment, too. The vessels are tinted amber, and the stems are clear.

Tonight I have sprayed multiple coats of Looking Glass paint on a variety of items, and so far this is what I have experienced:

  • This paint is very thin and watery - not at all like regular spray paint. You are supposed to spray water on items before you spray the paint - that is what gives you a bubbly texture. I have found it pools, and must be "played with" to get a somewhat consistent coverage. You don't want complete coverage, because you want it to have imperfections like aged mercury glass. It takes some time and tweaking to get a beautifully distressed finish and to keep drips from forming strange patterns. 
  • The candlesticks above were sprayed on the outside, since they were not hollow. They only took two coats.  The stems were sprayed on the inside, and they also looked good after only two coats. 
  • I was able to scrape off the paint with my thumbnail after it had dried a short while. It may cure and be more durable, but it would probably be a good idea to give it a clear coat if sprayed on the outside of an object.
  • The lamps were sprayed on the inside. It was fairly difficult to get an even coverage and a lovely mottled finish - there were more drips to deal with. I have sprayed at least 6 times, and they still appear to be very translucent. I was hoping for a more opaque finish. I'll keep spraying and post about the lamps next time!

One of my lamps had a funny little surprise I discovered! I felt like a kid opening a cereal box with a prize inside! Do they still do that?

Word for the Day:

Proverbs 16:16

How much better to get wisdom than gold, to choose understanding rather than silver!

May this new year have much wisdom, understanding, gold AND silver for you!


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Monday, January 2, 2012

What Now? After the Holidays Thrifty Finds

I usually get a little bummed out after Christmas. If I could arrange things (like the world calendar) to my liking, I'd make Christmas a whole season - 3 months long! I find the whole process of Christmas enjoyable. 

Then, when you've decked and trimmed, baked and cooked everything in your path, for about a two day period, you celebrate with loved ones and eat too much. After that, it is pretty much over. Even though it is not officially over until January 6, everyone gets back to regular life. The tree gets dry.  I usually take it down on New Year's day or soon after as I did today.

Have you ever noticed that everyone is so excited to help get the tree up and decorate as soon as possible? Mysteriously, when it is time to take it all down and put it away, no one is around. How does that happen?

One of the things that bums me out is that things go from looking great in the fall, right into Christmas, then my poor house practically looks naked. I know this is a good time to redo, so I'm doing that. BUT, while we're on the subject, I was wondering what all you creative types in blogland do after Christmas? Do your homes look naked too? From January to April when plants begin to green up and bloom around here, it is so BORING outside. I would LOVE some good ideas for how to decorate your porches, window boxes, etc. 

After Christmas, if there is one thing to look forward to, it is CHRISTMAS CLEARANCE! I usually buy wrapping paper and gift bags then. I only bought one roll this year - neutrals and metallics. I am preparing for a white/neutral/natural Christmas next year! I like to coordinate my wrapping paper with my room. How compulsive is that?

Here are some other items I found:

I may keep it natural, or I may spray it white. It cost $1.00. It was on 50 percent off at Goodwill. It is a candle holder, but I took the candle holding apparatus off.

I think I mentioned I have a thing for trees. I just find them to be so charming! Here's the find I am so excited about incorporating next year:

It's a little crooked now, and needs to be fluffed up a bit and tweaked in the right places, but I can just imagine it in a lovely urn with small ornaments  on it! It was originally $19.99, and was 66 percent off at Hobby Lobby. If my math is correct, it was about $6.80. It's about 4 feet tall!  My new friend Lynn's blog - Shabby Story, had some lovely Christmas ideas this year! I particularly liked her small tree in a watering can.

Isn't that tree adorable? Her whole home is lovely - you should definitely go check her out!

I also like these, though they appear to be painted silver or white. I'll probably leave my tree green. 

Source: Pinterest from 
(original photo source unknown)

I also took advantage of 50 percent off at Walmart, and got some cute white glittered pine cones. They were about .50c each. They clip on instead of hanging from a hook. 

When I found these, I was at Walmart to purchase paint for my living room. I REALLY want to paint it. But, with all the other things I needed to do today, like take down the tree, mop the kitchen and main bathroom, finish cooking some of the things I hadn't gotten around to, and doing a little laundry, it just didn't get done. 

BUT, I have paint. I'm going to try a test swatch today at least to see how I like the color. It's a stock off white - and I bought flat instead of eggshell. Apparently EVERYONE in town wanted to paint this weekend. The shelves were very picked over, and they didn't have eggshell in the color I wanted. We had painted my daughter's bedroom in flat, and it is really a lovely finish, if you don't expect a lot of wear and tear. I think the living room can handle it. I have painted pretty much my whole house with Walmart paint, and I like it. It's WAAAY cheaper than other paints, and I have heard from more than one person it is made by Sherwin-Williams. Anyway, I'll do a test patch and tell you how it turns out later!

Word for the Day:

Deuteronomy 11:8-15
 8 Observe therefore all the commands I am giving you today, so that you may have the strength to go in and take over the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 9and so that you may live long in the land that the LORD swore to your forefathers to give to them and their descendants, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10 The land you are entering to take over is not like the land of Egypt, from which you have come, where you planted your seed and irrigated it by foot as in a vegetable garden. 11 But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. 12 It is a land the LORD your God cares for; the eyes of the LORD your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.
13 So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the LORD your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul— 14 then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil. 15 I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.

May you receive all the blessings this new year has for you!


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Thursday Under $100 Link Party Suzy's House Party Transformation Thursday Share Awesomeness Thursday Thrifty Thursday Hookin' Up With HOH Thursday - Thursday Favorite Things
Friday Furniture Feature Friday Fridays on Remodelaholic Friday Redoux Link Party Frugal Friday Frugalicious Friday
Saturday Saturday Nite Special Show and Tell Saturday