Mirror, mirror

A few exciting things have happened to me recently. First, I found Krylon Looking Glass Spray (a US product) available for sale in Australia (yay) and second, I resigned from the job I’ve had for the last 3.5 years as a PA/secretary to start life as a temp and have a bit of an adventure. As one of those people who doesn’t have a really super specific career direction, I figure temping in lots of different roles will expose me to different industries and ideas and I might find that thing that really gets my motor running (besides being crafty which, at this stage, is not going to bring home the bacon). I’ve kind of thrown myself in the deep end here and I hope this decision pays off but sometimes you just need to take a risk.

Right, now I’ve covered that, let’s get back to the excitement of the Looking Glass Spray…

Krylon Looking Glass Spray is applied to the back of glass and will give it a mirrored look. According to everything I’ve read, there is no other product on the market that will do the same thing so you must get the Krylon brand. I got mine at Caswell Australia.

These are the beautiful Pottery Barn glass hurricane lamps that have inspired many a mercury glass DIY’er!

I am a big mercury glass fan but really only started seeing it when I started reading design and DIY blogs. I have managed to find 3 mercury glass candle holders at my local op-shops but I definitely wanted to try making a replica version of these gorgeous Pottery Barn Hurricane Lamps I’ve spotted a number of times. Lots of other bloggers have done DIY mercury glass tutorials and so after reading many of those I felt ready to tackle my own version.

I also had a gold frame on the fireplace mantle (I’ve changed the mantle AGAIN and both Dave and I are hoping this is it for a while as I seem to have a slight obsesssion with rearranging it every week or so…) that I wanted to turn into an antique mirror. I’m not 100% thrilled with the mirror but it doesn’t look too bad.

For my first attempt at a distressed mercury glass look I used an old coffee jar and began by spraying a light mist of water to the inside of the jar. I then applied about 6 coats of the spray, pausing to wipe some away with damp paper towel while it was still wet. After the five coats I sprayed some black paint over the wipe marks. I used the same method for the mirror. While they both look ok and the mirror is ‘antiqued’ it’s not what I was after so the below instructions are for the hurricane lamp, my second attempt, after reading a few more tutorials.

To make faux mercury glass you will need:

Krylon looking Glass Spray

Spray bottle with white vinegar

Masking tape

Paper towel

Glass Hurricane Lamp (mine was $4 at the reject shop) and/or glass from picture frame, both clean and dry

An old toothbrush

Black spray paint if you are making a mirror

Begin by taping up the outside lip of your hurricane lamp so no paint gets on the outside or rim. I also made a skirt with the paper towel for extra protection.

Spray a very light coat on the inside of the glass as the paint is very thin and will run easily as you can see from the photos. Wait one minute or until the paint has dried (you will know because it will suddenly become mirrored) and then spray some vinegar on a scrunched up paper towel and put on a section of the paint and drag slightly to lift it off the glass. Do this randomly all over the inside of the glass avoiding the ‘lip’ area (having a solid ring of paint around the lip helps recreate the Pottery Barn look). I used a toothbrush sprayed with vinegar for the harder to reach places.

Be careful not to scratch the paint in other areas inside the glass and if you do just use the paper towel technique on the scratch and do the same with drips. Do this spray and paper towel thing about 4 times but remember less is more and you want a decent amount of transparency. And that’s it! Wait for it to really dry for a few hours before putting a candle in there or do what I did and use a battery operated candle until a few hours have passed.

If you are making the antique mirror then leave more solid paint areas and only lift the paint off a small area of the glass. Spray over this with black paint. On my mirror you can see it has a real aged look because I sprayed it with water before applying the paint but in hindsight, I wouldn’t use the water at start because it interferes with the ‘reflectiveness’.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

How to fake an oil painting

This is possibly the most genius thing ever. Yes, ok, they put a man on the moon but did they create a masterpiece with the push of a button? No? Exactly.

I, on the other hand, did. Purely by accident. Or rather, by my warped sense of curiosity which popped up when I was photocopying a document and about to eat a pear. A little voice told me to photocopy the pear. I obeyed and look what I made! Doesn’t it look just like a little antique oil painting? If you squint?

I can’t even give a tutorial for this because it’s too easy. Seriously, the hardest part was trying to photograph it without a reflection of me in the glass.

Choose fruit. Photocopy it. Frame it. Tell a friend.

Here is a slightly dustier version (ooops!):

Moss terrarium in a lolly jar


A few months back I did a post on terrariums using succulents and cacti, mainly due to the fact that I couldn’t find any moss. I’m happy to announce that terrarium is still going strong (although as predicted, the Baby’s Tears died within a week) but I still had not satisfied my terrarium yearnings. Then, when we were out and about in a nature reserve type of place the other day I stumbled upon loads of gorgeous moss right near a waterfall. I’m not going to say where because I don’t think you’re allowed to take things from state forests or similar but I couldn’t help myself and took a few mossy tufts home in my umbrella cover (waterproof – perfect!)

It had been happily sitting in a coffee jar on our kitchen window sill waiting for the perfect home and yesterday I found it – an ‘old fashioned glass treat jar’ at half price. It was just like the ones used for the terrariums Dave and I had been eyeing off in the fancy and oh-so-expensive florist in the city. I was so excited about making my moss terrarium that I insisted on doing in last night when we came home from dinner. There I was in my PJ’s and dressing gown in the front yard trying to look for small rocks in the pitch black with Dave watching me from the bedroom thinking I was crazy. Which I may be. I scored big time when I found a small pile at the side of the driveway and realised a gap in the bottom of our front fence connects to the neighbours stone-filled garden bed. Yesss…!

You can find instructions for a terrarium in my original post but for a moss terrarium, a vessel with a lid works best to keep moisture in so it can act as a mini ecosystem. Also, internet research suggested a layer of dry moss between the layer of stones and the dirt to keep the dirt from falling into the stones which act as the drainage system. At 9pm last night I could not get my hands on any dry moss but I just cut a circle of chux cloth to put between the stones and the dirt that I’m hoping will work just as well as it’s thin and permeable.

To make a moss terrarium you will need

A glass vessel

A few handfuls of small stones

Good soil or potting mix

Dry moss or chux

Moss, ferns or other terrarium-loving plants

A water spray bottle

Some kind of poking and flattening tool like a wooden skewer with a wine cork on the end

In your nice clean glass jar or such, place a layer of small, clean stones, a layer of dry moss or chux (I traced a circle onto my chux using the jar lid to get the right size) and a layer of dirt. Make the stone and dirt layers about 1.5 inches or more each. Then spray the dirt with a water spray bottle so it’s nice and damp. Using a skewer with a cork on the end, pat down the dirt and make any hills or valleys you like to give your terrarium bit of landscaping. Then layer and tuck in the moss and various plants (I am trying my luck with Baby’s Tear’s again) and give it another good drink. As far as I know you don’t need to ‘plant’ the moss etc, just lay in on top and it should take root, or do whatever moss does to keep growing. Pop the lid on and admire the little bitty world you have just created.

Spray with water once a week – this will also ensure you let some fresh air in for the plants to breathe.

It’s common for terrariums to have a figurine of some sort (like Frankie the giraffe in my cactus terrarium) so for my moss terrarium I found a little blue wren called Glen. Yep. Glen the Wren. My imagination knows no bounds.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

%d bloggers like this: