DIY Mercury Glass Lamps (and that time when Pinterest didn’t tell the whole story)

So I pinned a few tutorials on Pinterest on how to make DIY mercury glass.

If you haven’t seen this yet, the basic idea is to lightly mist a glass vase, votive or lamp with a solution of 50/50 water and white vinegar, then hit it with Krylon Looking Glass spray paint. Blot with a soft rag, repeat if necessary. The effect should be very similar to the cloudy mottled finish of real mercury glass – without the hefty price tag.

I like the look of mercury glass, but I have a lot of oil rubbed bronze metal in my house so I wasn’t sure if the silvery mercury glass would fly. I’m totally okay with mixing metals, I just think you have to be careful when you do it. I’ve been gradually changing the metals in my bedroom to antique pewter, so I thought a little faux mercury glass just might work.

I had a pair of wicker lamps on our nightstands and wanted to change them out to something with a little sparkle, so I picked these up at the thrift store for $5.99 each:

thrift store lamps

I figured that even through they were different colors, I was going to be spray painting them so it wouldn’t matter….right?


I taped up the cords and the sockets and tackled the cream colored lamp first. Super fast and easy and it came out great.

faux mercury glass lamp

Then I did the blue lamp. Unfortunately, you could definitely see the blue peeking through the new finish.


I messed around with it for a while, but it looked way too different from the first one to try and pass them off as a set.

Then I thought I would paint the lamp cream with some paint I had leftover from another project.


When you spray glass with regular spray paint you lose the shininess that gives the faux mercury glass it’s authentic look.

{Again, DUH}

So I ushered the whole ugly blue/silver/cream taped up mess into the trash. I did snap a photo, but mercifully it disappeared off my phone.

I topped my successful solo lamp with a new burlap shade and moved it over to the dresser –

Mercury Glass Lamp with burlap shade - Transform a thrift store lamp with an easy faux mercury glass finish

Which still left me with two empty nightstands, so I decided to try the technique on a small pair of copper colored metal lamps I had stashed in the attic. I wouldn’t say it looks like mercury glass, but the copper peeks through and gives it a nice vintage-y vibe that I like:

Vintage silver lamp

These are a little too small for the nightstands, but they’ll do just fine until I find a set that will work better.

Overall, I had fun with the technique and I’ll probably try it on some other items now that I have a better feel for how it works and what it looks like on different types of finishes.

Mercury Glass Lamp with burlap shade - Transform a thrift store lamp with an easy faux mercury glass finish

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About Julie

Julie is a serial entrepreneur, marketer, former newspaper columnist, black belt bargain hunter, voracious reader, gardener, music lover, foodie, wino, avid party thrower, hopeless romantic, closet Parrot Head and DIY machine.