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These easy, shatterproof DIY mercury glass ornaments will be ready in less than 5 minutes, have the same look as real mercury glass for a fraction of the price.
I know, I know some of you are probably ready to knock me out. Christmas stuff this early? But, if you’re any kind of crafter, you probably began your Christmas crafts, long before me. These easy DIY mercury glass ornaments take less than 5 minutes to make, they’re super frugal (have you seen the price of an actual mercury glass ornament? Insanity), they’re not breakable (haha, but they’re “glass”), and a total novice can do this Christmas craft.
I love old, vintage decor. I enjoy repurposing things, I like to give my decor that vintage, farmhouse feel. Why? Because it speaks to me, it’s simple (like our lifestyle), and it doesn’t have to break the budget. So, when I found mercury glass ornaments, I wanted them for our tree. But, I didn’t want the price tag. That kind of money on one ornament? No. I cannot justify that for something that will hang out for maybe a month and a half, two months. So, I decided to see if I could DIY my own.
I was happy to discover, there are tons of tutorials online for these. They each had their own differences, but it definitely looked like something I could tackle on my own, and for way less than the cost of a real mercury glass ornament.
Most of these tutorials called for the clear glass ornaments (duh). But, I have kids and a dog, so we try not to put many glass ornaments out. Even though our living room is currently carpeted, it won’t always be (and it hasn’t always been). I wanted an unbreakable option so I wouldn’t have shattered glass all over the floor and my dog running for cover with glass in his paw. So, I opted to try the unbreakable plastic ornaments instead, and I am happy to report, you can’t tell the difference.
These are incredibly easy to make, I don’t really consider myself a crafty person (although I love to DIY), but these were simple enough my two older kids (8 & 7) made one each. The only trick is to make sure the spray paint gets squirted inside the ornament. As long as you have the nozzle pointed in the right direction, you’re good.
All in all, total, I made 6 ornaments for less than $20 and I have plenty of spray paint leftover for whatever I set my mind to. I did use a 40% off coupon because the looking glass spray paint that you use for these costs a lot more than your typical spray paint (mine stickered for $11.99 the day I bought it). But, I’m sure I’ll find a million other uses for it, or I’ll turn everything we own into mercury glass… ya know, because it’s cool.
I have to say, these look so much more amazing in person. It’s really very difficult to get good pictures of mirrored ornaments, just so you know. But these are amazing and I definitely plan to make more to hang on the tree this year because 1) they’re super, super easy and 2) I have all of the stuff and they look ahhhmaazing.
A Note on DIY Mercury Glass Supplies
You have to use Krylon Looking Glass Spray Paint or Rustoleum Mirror Effect spray paint for this project. Silver metallic will not work. It does cost more, but you won’t get the same results without it. I had trouble finding it, I found it at hobby lobby and couldn’t find it at Lowe’s or Home Depot (which is unusual). It is available on Amazon, as well.
If you’re like me, the most difficult part of this entire process will be getting the lid off of spray paint. You have to pry it off with a screwdriver (or you did mine) and I ended up just busting the lid off after cussing at it for several moments. Maybe you’ll have better luck, but my screw driver was too small, I was being impatient, and I really didn’t want to go out to the garage to go through my husbands tools to find the proper sized screw driver.
I chose to use the clear shatterproof ornaments instead of glass. You can use glass if that’s your thing. I would love to, but they’d just wind up shattered on the ground before the season was over more than likely. If you have kids or pets and you try to stay away from the breakable ornaments hanging on your tree, do yourself a favor and buy the clear plastic ones. You’ll thank me later.
I did make one ornament with just the copper paint (listed below) and it’s gorgeous. So, I may do a few like that as well. It’s got a really neat rustic look to it. So, when you make these, get creative! Use extra copper, or none, or put it in first, or absolute last. Use massive amounts of vinegar spray, or don’t. They will all turn out different and unique, which is what makes them so awesome! Also note, the copper must be the foil effect, not the metallic… the results won’t be the same.
- Take the tops off of your ornaments. I wasn't impressed with their look, so we will fix that first.
- Take the tops outside and disassemble them (pull the spring hanger out of the top itself). Place them on a piece of newspaper and give them a good squirt of vinegar. Then, spray them well with the copper spray paint, coating them evenly. I brought mine in and let them dry while I made the ornaments.
- Take an ornament spray 2-3 squirts of the looking glass spray paint inside. Immediately follow with 2 squirts of vinegar. Swish it around and blow the hair dryer inside while swishing to help along the drying effect. You'll know the paint is dry when it begins to look like a mirror.They're going to look not so great, and barely covered, that's okay.
- Continue by spraying 2-3 more squirts of the looking glass spray paint inside the ornament, followed by 2 squirts of vinegar. Place a paper towel on top of the ornament and begin gently shaking it. While you're shaking it, use the hair dryer on the outside of the ornament to help along the drying process. Once you have it nice and shaken up, go ahead and use the blow dryer inside while continuing to swirl the paint (you're just blowing the air into the opening).
- Now, spray 2 squirts of copper and a squirt of the looking glass paint inside. Spray 2 squirts of vinegar. Place the paper towel back on top and shake continuing just like the previous step. Once you have it nice and shaken up, use the blow dryer on the inside while continuing to swirl the paint around.
- If it isn't quite coated enough, repeat the process until it is. It only took the two sprays and the final spray with copper for mine to be complete, but you'll know when yours is finished and when it's coated the way you want it.
- If your tops aren't dry, go ahead and use the blow dryer to finish drying them off. Place them into the top of the ornaments and enjoy!