DIYdiy projects

diy project: antiqued glass votive

by Kate Pruitt

The way antique glass alternates between absorbing and reflecting light always catches my eye, even on a small piece like a votive or a frame. This awesome tutorial from Ashley Brown features a simple, inexpensive way to create an aged-mirror look out of any glass object. If you have old jars lying around, this would be great way to revive them and make them useful again. Thanks for sharing this with us, Ashley! — Kate

Read the full how-to after the jump!


  • Krylon’s Looking Glass Spray Paint (#9033)
  • spray bottle (filled with water)
  • glossy black enamel paint
  • metallic glossy gold enamel paint
  • scrub sponge
  • small paintbrush
  • a glass piece you want to paint
  • optional: painter’s tape and a few magazine scraps


1. Start by covering the outside of the glass with a few magazine pages and painter’s tape to prevent getting spray paint on the
outside. This step is optional, but I did it just in case. If you end up getting a little on the glass, don’t worry. It scratches right off.
Make sure your glass is super clean (especially on the inside). If you leave smudges, it will cause the “mirror” effect to be a little cloudy and not as reflective.

2. Once the glass is sparkling clean, lightly spray the inside of the glass with water — just enough to form some good-sized water

3. Right after you spray the water, lightly coat the inside of the glass with the Looking Glass spray paint. Since you’re probably
going to be spraying inside a relatively small surface, it’s hard to do even sprays, but try to keep things as even as possible. Like any spray paint project, it’s best to do several very fine coats than a few thick coats. After each coat, quickly turn the glass upside down to dry. Note: When you turn it upside down, the paint will run, but that’s okay! That’s part of what gives the finished project an aged-glass look. Make sure you put the glass (upside down) on a drying rack so air can get in there to dry both the paint and the water. If you don’t have a drying rack on hand, balance it on two upside-down paper bowls. This method works really well, and you can just throw away the bowls when you’re finished.

4. Repeat step three until you achieve your desired look. I recommend at least three coats.

5. After the glass is completely dry, it’s time for a little bit of enamel paint. This step was a tad intimidating before I got started, but it ended up being really easy and fun. Start out by using the scrubbing sponge to scratch away some of the Looking Glass spray paint here and there. There’s no science to this, so just do what you think looks good.

6. Once you rough up the inside, apply thin layers of the black and gold enamel paint using your paintbrush. For a more “natural” look, try mixing the two colors. Note: It’s kind of like applying makeup, in that you have to know when to stop. Too much scratching/painting will take away the mirrored aspect. So just be sure not to overdo it. If you’re planning on using your piece as a candle holder, remember not to go too heavy on the enamel paint. You still want the candle light to shine though. Also, If you get to a point where you aren’t sure if you should keep going or not, go ahead and put it down for a few minutes (or even a few hours) and come back to it later. With this project, it’s totally okay if you let it dry and come back to it later. There’s really no right or wrong way to do it!

7. Let your new masterpiece completely dry before putting a candle inside. Depending on how thick your enamel-paint coats are, you may want to wait a full 24 hours.

8. Enjoy your new accessory, and don’t forget to tell people, “I made that!”


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  • This looks SO cool! I’m going to look thru my old glass stuff to see what I can alter. Thanx!

  • I’ve been looking for tutorials on DIY mercury glass for a while, and this is the best one yet. I would love find a way to achieve the look on the exterior of the surface, because I have a couple lamps in dire need of a makeover.

    • You CAN do it on the outside, just clear coat it with acrylic spray paint, several coats!

  • This is so pretty, thank you for putting together the directions for a fun project!

    I wonder how it would look using canning jars with a molded fruit & veg design. (I’ve lost the lids but still like to put them to use). Time to experiment!

  • I remember seeing a tutorial in Blueprint or Domino for mercury glass. A great tip they had was to NOT CLEAN the glass. That way it looks even older. I tried it out and with sparkling glass and dirty glass and preferred the dirty mercury glass.

  • Love this, will burning a candle surrounded all that paint be ok? Not toxic? My only concern.

  • This would make a gorgeous vase for those pink flowers in the photo – because I’m with Sarah, a little worried about a flame near all that paint.

  • Anyone know where to find this color of Krylon? I can’t find it at Home Despot, Lowe’s, or Hobby Lobby…

  • Krista, I found a similar paint from Rust-oleumm called metallic finish which has a mirrorish appearance, but I used it for a diff kind of project (not glass). It may work for this; I’m going to use it and see :-)

    BUT I would like to know where to find the specific mirror effect as I have another project that requires (by me LOL) a mirror finish paint, so, yeah, I’d like to know too ;-)

  • OMG, I forgot to tell you WHERE I found the paint, which was supposed to be the point LOL! I got this @ Ace Hardware.

  • Very cute!! I’ve also seen the mirror paint at Hobby Lobby, and I want to say JoAnns?? I really need to try this. thanks!!

  • Oh very very cute, love the dark artsy look of these votives… Will need to include this in my weekly diy roundup next time :)
    xo meagan

  • Great project! I went to the Candlestick Flea market (in San Francisco) over the weekend and found vintage glasses similar to this – they were charging $15 for each glass! Can’t wait to try this little project myself – thanks for the post!

  • Just finished doing 8 of these as Xmas gifts… With various glass pieces from thrift stores. They turned out really well. Only thing I don’t like is that, when viewed from the top/at an angle (like sitting on a table as opposed to at eye level), the inside doesn’t look so good & detracts from the pretty outside. Its splotchy but I dont want to paint more on thrre because i still wsnt it to be transparent. I think these would look best on a mantle or a higher shelf… But they are definitely cool!!

  • We can’t use them as cases can’t we? I mean won’t the water ruin the paint inside? I’m thinking I’m gonna have to find a smaller vase that will go into the antiqued one. Anyone else try leaving water in there?

  • I love this, but can you make this in a color like blue or amber with the mercury?? Do you think it would have to be colored glass?