June 9, 2011

DIY Crate & Barrel Mercury Glass Lamp

This lamp on the left was my dream lamp- the lamp on the right is my copy.
The inspiration comes from Crate & Barrel and I heart it big time. Too bad it's 239 buckaroos for ONE!
I searched high and lower for something even close to this gorgeous without success.
Then I was listening to Nate Berkus and heard hm say something about DIY mercury glass finish (this is pre-blog days). Umm, I had no idea this was possible- but there are several tutorials online like here and here .

So obviously I decided to make my own. I figured it would cost be $100 for two lamps. I planned to buy glass kitchen canisters (using two tall ones like these), lamp kits, a fancy pants drill bit and of course the mercury glass faux finish.

 But fate struck and I found these glass lamps at the thrift store.
I do not love the shape the same way I loved the square inspiration piece- but I thought it was worth a try, especially cause it's hecka cheap and will save me 50 big ones.

I really wish I would have looked a little bit closer at the metal portions of the lamp. Soooo rusty! Who would buy these? Picture my two thumbs pointing right at me, "this guy!"

The base of the lamp didn't just unscrew- the lamp had to be completely taken apart. If you run into this, it's pretty easy to figure out-but you want to start with these screws up at the top- the ones holding the wires to the lamp.

Just unscrew those and you should be able to start stripping all the pieces off. This is what I had when both lamps were completely deconstructed.

I sanded the heck out of all the rusty pieces and bought a special rusty metal primer. Honestly it was not my favorite- but at Walmart there weren't  a whole lot of options.

For the mercury glass look- you wanna buy Looking Glass spray paint. I found it at Robert's for $19 and at Michael's for $12. Not bad with the 40% coupon.

I used a tutorial myself- but here's the basics-
(1) Cover the outside of your piece of glass and tape it off
(2) Evenly spray water on the inside
(3) Do several light coats of spray paint
4)Depending on the amount of desired "chipping" either let it dry naturally- or wipe it while it's wet and a lot of finish will come off
(I let mine dry naturally as my inspiration doesn't look very "chippy".)

Now for the goods- THE TIPS. 
✴I used the spray paint outside and could not have been in more ventilated space and I thought I was gonna pass out. It is WAY WORSE that regular spray paint. Wear a mask!
✴I did at least five coats. I didn't wait over night to do them (who's patient enough for that?) but you should wait a few minutes between coats, or you WILL get drip marks. Mercury glass should not have those!

✴My FAVORITE Part: real mercury glass has gold, tan and even black show through when it wears.
I waited a day and then used gold craft paint on a sponge brush to paint over the mirror spray paint. The paint on the brush acted as a paint thinner and I was able to distress the finish exactly how I wanted.
I used it very lightly in some places, not at all in others, and then heavily in a few spots.Then finished up with a few dispersed spots of black.
 I have to say, I LOVE this touch! It made a huge difference!

I  have a pair of these lamps now...but need to work out the matching lamp shade thing! Remember this dirty, thirfted Restoration Hardware shade? I think that cleaning experiment worked pretty well.

Hope you guys liked this one-cause I sure did! Oh yeah, grand total came in at 30 for two lamps, paint and one shade- I figure I'll be done in another 15 or twenty dollars.


  1. Gorgeous...absolutely gorgeous! In fact, I like your lamps better than the original. The shape of the glass is beautiful, and you did an amazing job the the faux mercury glass finish.

    Jenn/Rook No. 17

  2. your lamp project turned out really well...i've heard of this looking glass paint, but have yet to locate it locally...i'll have to try harder b/c it looks awesome! thanks for sharing at fridays unfolded!

    stuff and nonsense

  3. Bec, So cute. Love the "new" lamps!!! -Sue

  4. I like yours even better than the inspiration ;) Great job!

  5. What a cool piece! It's got a true retro vibe to it. Stunning!


  6. What a great job you've done! I'm always looking at lamps and yes, they're expensive, I never thought about creating one myself. Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. This looks fabulous! I have been itching to use this mirror spray paint for so long... Very inspiring!
    Thanks for linking up to Making It With Allie! I can't wait to see what you have for next week!

  8. Absolutely superb! I agree, yours is way cooler than the 'real' one. Looks like a million bucks!

  9. Super job- lots of dedication on searching for that one perfect lamp paid off! Beautifully done tutorial- thank you!

  10. I love to save money! Thanks for sharing your remake project!

  11. My goodness, this is so stinking fabulous! I think that yours looks just as lovely as your "dream lamp." Thanks for sharing!

    Come on over to visit my blog and see how to make healthy ice cream...no ice cream maker required! ;)

    MJ @ MD School Mrs

  12. Great knock-off. You are full of awesome ideas right now! I see a silver/chrome theme going on:)

  13. NICE!!! They look great. The shape reminds me of the Chrysler building in NYC. I'm new to your blog, so forgive me if you've mentioned this before and I missed it...but where'd you get the clock in the photo? LOVE it!!

  14. This is very nice! I keep readin about this paint and I can never seem to find it in stores. I'll have to check Michaels!

    Thanks and would you consider linking this to my linky party Simply Creative over at 365 days to Simplicity? I'd love it if you did!


  15. Looks fantastic! I love finding mercury glass tutorial ideas. (I'm still trying to find the best way to replicate the look) Thanks for your tutorial.

  16. Looks great!
    Thank you so much for linking this up to {nifty thrifty sunday} last week!

  17. Oh my gosh--this is totally spectacular!!! WOW!

  18. Looks beautiful, thanks for the great tutorial! Thanks for linking up.

  19. Wow! Great makeover! It's such a gorgeous lamp!

  20. This shape is way cooler than the square ones. Great job!


  21. What a great idea! I see myself following your tutorial some time in the NEAR future.

  22. That's really pretty, and I love that you found the lamps at a thrift shop! I go all the time because I might miss something if I skip a week...LOL! Great idea to make these!

  23. I love it! You made it look so much like the real thing.

  24. LOVE this! I've seen the mercury glass in stores so much lately -- thanks for sharing this great tutorial! YOURS is perfect!

  25. Nice Blog.Waiting for more..
    Keep up-to-date it!!
    Mercury Lamp

  26. I love that mercury glass look!

    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a great weekend!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  27. Sweet! I'd love to try some faux mercury finishing. Thanks for the links.

  28. I saw this spray used on the Nate Berkus show and I've wanted to play with it ever since. Thanks for the tips. I love the way your lamp turned out.

  29. What a great knockoff! It looks beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing at The Creative Spark - I'll be featuring this on my facebook page. Have a great weeekend!
    Jenn :)

  30. Lovely lamps! Thanks for linking!!!
    xo, Shannon

  31. Beautiful! I really want to try something like this - I love mercury glass!
    Kristen@My Covered Bridge

  32. This is a great idea and you completely turned those lamps around!! Join our link up party @ InspiredHoneyBee.blogspot ... xoxox Debbie

  33. What a great lamp! I'm always scared about the electrical part! This looks great!

  34. You were featured tonight!!!!


  35. I LOVE it!! seriously!
    You should join me for handmade 52! www.raisingoranges.blogspot.com

  36. Great job! I love your added touch with the craft paint!

  37. Super looking job! Ive yet to be able to find the looking glass spray paint anywhere up here:( Im Dying to try it out AND I just saw two identical lamps today at my thrift store matching yours!beautiful job:) Deidre~ http://simplysimplisticated4.blogspot.com

  38. Great tutorial... I adore mercury glass. I'm putting your lamp in the Power of Paint Party Spotlight @ Domestically Speaking. Thanks for linking up.

  39. Fabulous post,
    Thank you for linking your post up! , hope you will stop by today and link up another great post!!
    See you there
    Claire x

  40. Looks amazing!

    Hope you'll link up to my newest link party.

    Mauvin' Monday Link Party


  41. Love this. I am a big believer in turning something thrifted into something amazing. This definitely fits the bill. Visiting via Northern Cottage.

  42. What an ingenious way to replicate your favorite lamp. I have not seen mercury glass before, but I like it. I am a new follower visiting from Northern Cottage. Vicky from Mess For Less

  43. I must say that I like your lamps better than the original inspiration. I think the shape is 'way more reminiscent of the shapes of original mercury glass works. Very Deco.

    You've had the best results I've seen so far at duplicating the aged patina of real mercury glass. Thanks for the tip on apply craft paint. It looks wonderful

  44. Holy crap - this turned out aMAZing!! I like it even better than the original! Great job. Love your style : )
    Jaimee @ Craft, Interrupted

  45. These lamps are awesome! Thanks for linking up @ the Delectable Home.

  46. Love this!! I wanted to let you know that I am featuring it today! Stop by to grab an "I Was Stuffed" button!



  47. So great. Thanks for sharing!!

    Amy {aprons & ambition}

  48. my style of decorating is the older vintage look and I have to say I love these so pretty

    come see what I shared at http://shopannies.blogspot.com

  49. Wow, these are gorgeous! And while you didn't like the shape of the glass, I totally think they give the lamps more age... they are perfect!

    Shared on FJI Facebook and pinned for SNS 126. :)



  50. That turned out amazing!!! I have always wanted to try that spray paint, thanks for the tips!

  51. It really turned out beautifully! I've had the supplies to do a mercury glass project and now I'm ready to proceed since seeing how well yours turned out!

  52. This is something I've been wanting to try but haven't been able to locate the Looking Glass spray paint. Will have to try Michael's. So I have a stupid question. Did you spray the INSIDE of the lamp with water and the paint? Not sure I get it.

  53. Becca,

    This is such an amazing idea that I need to pin and perhaps consider for my master bedroom makeover ...

    And your home is just beautiful and you are the queen of knock-off decor done right! As in professional and perfect and your photography is amazing and you're vignettes enviable ...



  54. Wow this is amazing!! I love the look of Mercury glass and I have found it to be expensive too. I must try this out! Come link up to Centerpiece Wednesday and show off your idea! I am thinking of all kinds of stuff to try this on!


  55. Absolutely gorgeous. I actually like yours better; the shape is very Art Deco.


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