Making Faux Mercury Glass

I’m really enamored with all of the Mercury Glass I’ve been seeing in catalogs lately. I think it’s so pretty and shiny. Perfect for holiday decorating.
mercuryglassvotivesBallard Designs
The other day when I was rummaging under my sink, I came across this old vase that originally held a floral arrangement. I think everyone has these lurking somewhere in their homes. Found: the perfect victim for a DIY experiment.
glass floral vase
I purchased some silver leaf, leaf adhesive and sealer at Michael’s.

faux mercury glass supplies
First, I sprayed the adhesive on the inside of the vase. It looks cloudy at first, but as it sets up, it starts to turn clear.

vase with adhesive applied

Next, came the frustrating fun part. The package suggested cutting out a piece of wax paper the size of each leaf sheet, and then picking up the leaf with the wax paper. In the photo below, there’s a sheet of silver clinging to the wax paper with static cling. It really did help make it easier to manage. Then you pick up the wax paper/leaf combo and place it where you want it. It gives the thin leaf sheet more stability and keeps it from ripping apart.
silver leaf and wax paper
Keep placing the leaf sheets until the whole inside of the vase is covered.
silver leaf application
I used my fingers and a brush to smooth out the inside surface. Then I took the brush and rubbed it a bit to distress it. I was really looking for a distressed, well used look.
burnish leaf
A coat of sealer on the inside, and it’s done. It’s not quite like Mercury Glass, but I think it’s still pretty. I really like how the spaces and cracks between the leaf stand out. Perfect for the holidays.
faux mercury glass

39 thoughts on “Making Faux Mercury Glass

  1. I would never of thought to put it on the inside – very clever! And the best part, I have a couple of those boring vases and left over gilding from the pumpkins and pears I did – yipee!

  2. Very pretty! I am inspired to do something with those old vases (especially ones that are cheaper and don't really look good alone)! Thanks.

  3. Hi Carolyn, This is a wonderful project. I have many glass things that I don't use because they are not pretty, but I am going to rethink them. I have never done any leafing, but you make it look easy. Great directions and pictures! I love the way the vase came out. Beautiful and worthy of a special spot in your home.

  4. Oh wow – that is awesome! I am trying to come up with a good idea for a Thanksgiving centerpiece. I may have to try this, although it looks really hard. How long did it take to make the vase? I think I would want to do multiple candle sticks, I wonder how long that would take?

    Great job!


  5. LOVE IT!!!! I was wanting to do this one but totally had no CLUE! I am doing this for all my vases! it looks AMAZING!
    OH, and the wainscoting makes any room look WAY BIGGER! I was thinking about doing it in our 'tiny' master bathroom, just to give the illusion it is HUGE.

  6. Hi Ahrisha, it does look really pretty with a candle inside. It glows through all the cracks in the leaf.

    Helen! Glad you had such a great birthday!

    Tammy, by placing the silver leaf on the inside, you able to still have the shiny surface of the glass on the outside. I think it would still be pretty on the outside of the vase, it just wouldn't have looked as glossy on the outside, but it would have been much easier to do.

    Jenjen, I think candlesticks would be pretty quick because you'd have the leaf on the outside so it would be a lot easier to get the leaf where you want it. The vase took me about 30 minutes.

  7. I did faux mercury pumpkins and one thing I did was take a little bit if white craft paint. I got my paint brush wet-I wanted the brush more than damp but not dripping in water. I got a little paint and smear it over the pumpkins, keaving the bubbly areas. I just wonder if you did that to the outside of the glass if it would look even more like the mercury. I want to try it. I may even add some dark grey paint on the inside in certain places.

    Thanks for the tutorial–I love it.


  8. Hi Cheri,
    I actually tried it with some white watercolor paint. It just ended up looking dirty and took the shine away from the glass. I do think that if you put some dark grey paint on the inside of the glass before you applied the leaf, it might turn out neat!

  9. Did you say your name was Martha? Lol. I'm actually thinking I should stop writing mine all together and just spend my days making all these crafts. I thought I was a diy master, but I was wrong. You are the Make it at home and have it turn out awesome queen. 🙂

  10. Hi!
    Great project, thanks for sharing. I love this look as a wedding center piece idea, on maybe a pedestal bowl. Any idea how the inside holds up if you use it as a vase? I'm getting married next year and looking for smart DIY ways to save! 🙂 🙂 -JP

  11. this is so pretty; i'm going to have to find the time to try it myself, but i'd love to link your idea on my blog! thanks for sharing:D

  12. love this , but i think if i were going to light it i would get a $1.00 solar yard light at the dollar store, remove the black stake and set in my window during the day and place it in the vase at night. not having to use electricity, or worry about fire. i use them (solar lights)for all kinds of accent lighting…. and night lights.

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