Learn how to transform a salvaged window into a mercury glass window pane mirror using spray paint and vinegar!

I love the look of mercury glass and antique mirrors, but the real deal can be so pricey.

Love the look of antique mirrors and mercury glass, but not the high price? Click to learn how to make your own faux mercury glass window pane mirror using spray paint and vinegar.

So I figured out how to make my own — easily and cheaply using salvaged windows and specialty mirrored spray paint. And I’m going to show you how to make a faux mercury glass mirror from an old window.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience. I only recommend products I love. Read my full disclosure policy here.

I always find old windows at yard sales, thrift stores , salvage yards and even on the side of the road. Those are my favorite because they’re free. If you don’t luck into a free one, keep looking. You shouldn’t have to pay more than $5 or $10 for an old window to turn into a mirror.

Love the look of antique mirrors and mercury glass, but not the high price? Click to learn how to make your own faux mercury glass window pane mirror using spray paint and vinegar.

I’ve made a lot of these mercury window pane mirrors using this technique, and I’m always thrilled with the result. Maybe that’s why this tutorial is one of the most popular blog posts.

In this tutorial, you’ll see photos of two different mirrors in progress — one made with Krylon Looking Glass Spray Paint and the other with Rustoleum Mirror Effect Spray Paint. Both work equally well, and they’re priced similarly.  You should be able to find them in craft stores, home improvement stores and online.

How to Make a Mercury Glass Window Pane Mirror

Supplies

Instructions:

The first step to making an old weathered mirror is  to clean the old window well, to knock off years of dirt and chipping paint.

Love the look of antique mirrors and mercury glass, but not the high price? Click to learn how to make your own faux mercury glass window pane mirror using spray paint and vinegar.

Be careful with this step, especially if you’re using a pre-1978 window. It may well be painted with lead paint, and you’ll need to be careful that you, your kiddos and animals don’t ingest the paint chips or dust. Before beginning work on your mirror transformation, I recommend using a lead paint test kit to confirm that it’s safe.

If you do find that your window has been painted with lead paint, don’t despair. Miss Mustard Seed had a great post on safety precautions when dealing with lead paint. I encourage you to check it out and follow her tips.

Love the look of antique mirrors and mercury glass, but not the high price? Click to learn how to make your own faux mercury glass window pane mirror using spray paint and vinegar.

Following any necessary safety precautions, sand any loose paint, and use glass cleaner to clean both sides of the window.

Once your window is clean and dry, shake up the Looking Glass or Mirror Effect spray paint for a couple of minutes — until your arms get so tired you can’t shake anymore.

Use Rustoleum Mirror Effect spray paint to transform an old window into a mercury glass window pane mirror.

Now, it’s time to start painting. These mirrored paints have a strong smell, so do this outside or in a well ventilated space. I recommend wearing a mask, too.

Love the look of antique mirrors and mercury glass, but not the high price? Click to learn how to make your own faux mercury glass window pane mirror using spray paint and vinegar.

Apply a coat of the mirror spray paint to the back side of your window/mirror. This is the side you’ll want to be facing the wall. Use a smooth, left to right sweeping motion.

Love the look of antique mirrors and mercury glass, but not the high price? Click to learn how to make your own faux mercury glass window pane mirror using spray paint and vinegar.

Let the first coat dry for about a minute — then grab your spray bottle with the vinegar-water solution.

Love the look of antique mirrors and mercury glass, but not the high price? Click to learn how to make your own faux mercury glass window pane mirror using spray paint and vinegar.

While the paint is still wet, spritz the backside of the glass with the vinegar and water solution and blot gently with a paper towel. This will remove flecks of paint and help to create the mercury glass look of the mirror. Work quickly, as the mirror spray paint dries quickly.

Love the look of antique mirrors and mercury glass, but not the high price? Click to learn how to make your own faux mercury glass window pane mirror using spray paint and vinegar.

Apply a second thin coat of the spray paint, then spray with the vinegar-water solution and blot. Continue layering and removing paint until you have the crackled look you want. Make sure you check how things are looking from the front of the mirror before continuing with the next coat of paint and distressing.

If you prefer a solid mirrored surface to the mercury glass effect, you can skip the vinegar-and-water distressing. Just continue adding thin coats until you have the mirrored look you want. (Make sure to check the other side to see how the coverage looks from what will be the front of your mirror.)

Depending on how much character and patina the original window had, you may not need to do anything to the wood frame.

Love the look of antique mirrors and mercury glass, but not the high price? Click to learn how to make your own faux mercury glass window pane mirror using spray paint and vinegar.

This one was perfect, as is. I love the original green paint and the chippiness of it! But the first window pane mirror I made needed some color.

Love the look of antique mirrors and mercury glass, but not the high price? Click to learn how to make your own faux mercury glass window pane mirror using spray paint and vinegar.

So, I painted the wood frame on the front side of my mirror with a couple of coats of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I think I used Provence, but I can’t remember. It may have been Duck Egg Blue, or a mix of both. They’re very close, though Provence tends to be brighter and more vibrant, while Duck Egg Blue is more muted.

Normally, I finish my chalk painted pieces with wax, but I wanted to make sure to encapsulate the old paint, so, I sealed it with polycrylic. You could also use polyurethane.

The final step is to add a sawtooth hanger or hanging wire on the back of your mercury glass window pane mirror.

Love the look of antique mirrors and mercury glass, but not the high price? Click to learn how to make your own faux mercury glass window pane mirror using spray paint and vinegar.

Then stare lovingly at your handiwork.

Love the look of antique mirrors and mercury glass, but not the high price? Click to learn how to make your own faux mercury glass window pane mirror using spray paint and vinegar.

If you make a window pane mirror using this tutorial, please share a photo of it on my Facebook page. I’d love to see it.

Love the look of antique mirrors and mercury glass, but not the high price? Click to learn how to make your own faux mercury glass window pane mirror using spray paint and vinegar.

Be sure to check out these other projects using mercury glass mirrored spray paint and old windows:

Mirrored Mercury Glass Mason Jar Crafts

Mirrored Mason Jars

Transform an old window into patriotic American flag art using vinyl. Click for step-by-step instructions, plus the free cutting file.

American Flag Window Art

Use vinyl that you cut yourself (or buy precut decals) and use them to decorate old windows and cabinet doors for Halloween.

Halloween Window Silhouettes



Comments

  1. Wow..now that is quite a transformation! Love the color and just can’t believe how perfect it looks! great job! thank you so much for linking up again at Uncommon, we are so happy to have you and can’t wait to see what you have been up to this week! :)

    Bonnie @ uncommon

  2. Thanks for the tutorial! I love this look and would like to give it a try. Now I’ll just need to find an old window…
    So glad you linked up @ the Delectable Home!

  3. That came out beautiful – nice job!

  4. It looks beautiful just like I pictured it! lol, you see I have an window just like that, and I’ve been searching for that paint to do the exact same thing, where did you get the paint, I can’t seem to find it.

    • admin
      Twitter:
      says:

      I found my paint at Hobby Lobby and Michael’s. They don’t sell it at Home Depot and Lowe’s, or not that I could find. Online, I believe you can order it from Amazon. Sorry for being so late in replying. Your comment went to spam for some reason.

  5. I was wondering myself how you did that. Fantastic, I love it.

  6. I was wondering how you did this too. Thanks for sharing. It really is neat.

  7. LOVE it – want it – gonna do it. A terrific project.

  8. what a great project. I really love that blue.

  9. I love the looking glass spray. It really creates a great look. Wonderful job on your old window. It looks terrific and I’m loving the blue color on the frame.

  10. Is it possible to do it without glass? Ie on plywood?

  11. perelandra says:

    Important safety note: even if you’ve removed all the lead paint safely from a wood surface and contained the waste properly, the wood itself is still impregnated with lead. I had my recycled front door tested after it was professionally (and very carefully) stripped, and it was still every bit as contaminated as it was before it was stripped. I chose to seal it with another finish and keep it anyway, but I don’t have children at home. If I had crawlers or (ahem) dynamic, kinesthetic children like I was, well … I’d probably have chosen differently.

    Any time the wood is disturbed (by sanding, scraping, damage) the lead is made available again. Make sure you are aware of this risk when recycling old doors and windows, it doesn’t take much lead to contaminate an area the size of a football field (Imagine the contents of a sugar packet in that football field), and there really are no safe levels for lead in the human body. Mirrors are probably safer than doors because they’re not designed to move and therefore don’t suffer the friction of swinging or sliding open on wearing surfaces, but just a public safety announcement for anyone who would like to have this information before they start a project.

    • This is great information. Thank you for sharing. I had no idea that a door could still test positive for lead after the old finish has been encapsulated or sealed. Definitely something to consider. And that sugar packet in a football field example is eye-opening.

      I am always more careful with my kid than myself, but I’m thinking now I need to take better care of myself when working with these old furniture and architectural finds, too.

      Thank you for looking out for me and all the rest of the salvagers out there.

  12. Beautiful, beautiful mirror! I love the old look it has! Great job! Jenna @ Rain on a Tin Roof
    Jenna recently posted..Give Me The Goods Monday Features #10My Profile

  13. SO pretty! Thanks for the hint with lead paint, I certainly wasn’t aware of it. Love the pic with the Easter Eggs as well, very beautiful :)

  14. Hi Amy,
    I’m new to you site and love it! I was in the market for a vintage mirror but wasn’t having any luck so I googled making one. Your site was the first one to pop up and after reading this post, I knew I could do it! I did and I love it! Thank you so much for posting this tutorial, it was perfect! I made my mirror, posted about it and named you as my inspiration! Thanks again!
    Sharlotte
    Sharlotte’s Reflections

    • Atta Girl Amy
      Twitter:
      says:

      I am so happy that I was able to inspire you to make your own mirror. Isn’t that Looking Glass spray paint amazing. Although I’m finding it harder to find in my local stores…

      I commented on your post, but I think your mirror turned out beautifully. It’s perfect for your bedroom.

  15. I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great.

    I do not know who you are but certainly you are going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!
    http://www.boatieblog.com recently posted..http://www.boatieblog.comMy Profile

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  18. I love this! This weekend we hung our “dutch door” that leads from our laundry room to the back yard. I would love to use this paint on the outside window (looking in). I was curious if we would still be able to see through it if we are in laundry room and looking out back, but neighbors can’t see in from the outside if the outside of window is painted?

  19. JaneEllen says:

    I learned about the paint couple years ago. Couldn’t find it anywhere so my local Ace Hardware ordered it for me. I used it on couple of jars first to see how it worked and it was fine. I have worked with old windows I got in KY, now realize had better be much more careful with them. Got windows for free, had to leave several behind when we moved doggone it. Have yet to find any here in Grand Junction, CO area. Sure glad that nice person gave us all that warning about lead paint. Will be much more careful from now on when I work with couple I Have left. Have couple cans of that mirror paint so will be making one of windows left into a mirror. Glad I clicked on your post. Happy weekend

    • Atta Girl Amy
      Twitter:
      says:

      Yes, it’s always wise to test old windows for lead paint before working with them. I think there’s any easy test strip/kit you can pick up at the hardware store. If yours do have lead paint, as long as you encapsulate the paint — such as sealing it with varnish or another paint so it doesn’t chip, it should be fine. But yes, it’s very important to be careful around lead paint, especially if there are young kids in the house.

  20. Great post! There were several old windows in the shop behind our house when we purchased it. I wanted to use one of them over the kitchen sink since it doesn’t have a window over it and it a bit claustrophobic. Can’t wait to give it a try this afternoon!

Trackbacks

  1. […] pillows, homemade dusters, and strawberry baskets and Atta Girl Amy’s hand painted signs, repurposed vintage finds, rolled flower flip-flops and vinyl art. Atta Mama (Amy’s mom) is also contributing some of […]

  2. […] undecided as to whether I’m going to try to scrape the silver leaf off and try a mercury glass technique.  One thing I have decided, however, is I will never buy a decorative mirror again. Mirrors are […]

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