Wednesday, August 27, 2014

DIY Mercury Glass Lamp

Another Pinterest-inspired project.  Have you seen all those DIY mercury glass posts?  I've had this on my to-do list for ages and finally got around to it.   Like many DIY projects, this isn't quite as simple as some posts would indicate, or maybe I'm not as clever as some posters - always a possibility.  You are painting on the INSIDE of the lamp - a bit of a challenge all by itself.

I started with this thrifted lamp:

I like the crackly look and figured it would help hide any serious goofs - always a plus.  Word of warning:  always make sure your thrifted lamp actually works before doing anything else.  Guess how I learned that?  You could, of course, just buy a new lamp guaranteed to work.

First step is to get the base and top out of the way.  I wanted to actually remove the whole shebang, but couldn't get the top off, so I loosened everything (there is a nut on the bottom that holds the lamp together) and covered the cord with tape .  This is a messy job, and I tried to keep as much paint off the cord as I could.

This is the magic paint - Krylon Looking Glass spray paint.  I couldn't find it locally so ordered it from Amazon.   This paint is very thin - watery actually and nothing at all like regular spray paint.   The directions say to shake for 2 minutes before painting and after each spray.    You'll also need a spray bottle with half water, half white vinegar. (I only had white wine vinegar which added a certain je ne said quoi!).  You don't need much - like a 1/4 cup total.

Have everything ready as once you start you'll want to move pretty quickly.   The technique :
     Lightly spray the INSIDE of your lamp with the water/vinegar .  The water/vinegar mixture acts as a resist so you don't want to cover the entire surface - spritz here and there.
    Immediately spray with the Looking Glass paint.
    Here's where it gets tricky - some areas may have no paint, some too much.  So you just need to work it - dab off with a damp paper towel where you have too much.  Re- spritz with water and repaint where you need more coverage.   (Wear gloves - all that spritzing and dabbing is pretty messy).
   Set your lamp on end to dry and so any excess paint drips out.  Bear in mind which end will be up when the lamp is finished so you don't end up with dried drips rising from the base, unless that's what  you're going for.
I did about 4-5 spritz/spray/ dab cycles.   Remember that the look is old, irregular, splotchy - and that's what you'll get.  Some areas of my lamp look very much like a mirror, some have more dribbles and splotches.  I tried to dab away any big, runny drips. And remember the wise words of Ms Austin:

When the lamp was dry, I spray painted the base and top, carefully covering the glass.   I used Rustoleum Hammered Bronze spray paint which has a combination of glossy and matte paint that gives the hammered look.

Finished it off with a burlap shade:

Another "I finally made something I pinned" project !

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