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’.


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Faux antique bust silhouettes

Try saying that 5 times fast.

This week’s projects have been inspired by two things. A gift from Dave and some bargain picture frames.

Dave bought me a beautiful framed vintage print for the lounge room which prompted some slight redecorating. I love how one new thing can make you want to redo an entire room! We finally moved the TV from above the fireplace mantle (the fireplace is now unfortunately a pretty ugly gas heater) so we could use that as a feature in the room, as well as the bookcase. Usually the heart of a room is where the warmth comes from and so I was never happy with the mantel being just a shelf for the TV and sound system (and subsequent power cords – my pet hate!). I decided to look online for fireplace decoration inspiration and Design*Sponge did not disappoint. Check out this Sneak Peek: Best of Fireplaces or search for fireplaces in the Design*Sponge search box for more recent ones. I even Google Imaged (is that a verb yet?) ‘design sponge fireplace’ and some were so gorgeous and chic I almost cried! I did what I could with what I had at home but I have big, big plans for my fireplace. I am even trying to brainstorm a way of temporarily covering the ugly brown brick work – we rent so can’t do anything permanent.

Inspiration number two came from a local homewares/warehouse type place that had lovely thick, black frames for $5.99. While finding my fireplace inspiration I came across a few framed antique bust silhouettes and mentally added them to my ‘Current Obsessions’ list (see below for the list of things I really want and hope to acquire by stumbling across them at a garage sale or junk shop). When I found these frames I decided to remove them from the list and try to make my own faux antique silhouettes.

First I thought about making my own silhouettes from profile photos of us but I couldn’t find any profile photos of me. Then I remembered why – I don’t like my profile! So I scrapped that idea and again sought the help of my trusty friend Google Images. I couldn’t find any royalty-free images that fit the bill so I found some photos that were taken of antique silhouettes and slightly altered them. I’m not sure if I have breached copyright here seeing as the silhouettes are from the 1800’s but the website they came from is not but in any case I’m not selling them so I don’t think it is a huge issue. (If any of my lawyer friends think otherwise – call me!)

Once I altered them I printed them out with a laser printer onto textured paper and then stained then in a mixture of 1 shot of strong coffee with about a cup of water for 30 minutes. As you can see from the photos it made quite a bit of difference to the colour of the paper. I then dabbed off the excess coffee with paper towel and dried the prints with the hairdryer. This caused them to kind of shrink and wrinkle ever so slightly which, I think, added to the ‘antique’ aged look I was going for. Excuse the photos – the lighting after dark is terrible in the house. I blame the energy saving globes.

So there you have it, my very own set of ‘antique’ busts to adorn my newly decorated fireplace mantle for the hefty sum of $11.98.

I bought 4 frames and only used two for this project. Stay tuned to see what I did with the other two. Excited? Me too.

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