If you’re fortunate to find a perfect, beautifully aged ornament of Mercury glass, it will cost $40.00 or more. The authentic vintage pieces, with their marbled swirls and mirrored metal look are a rare discovery. We show you how to create that vintage mercury ornament look without the heavy price tag.

Use them as accents in holiday table settings, on the tree, or show them off in a pretty bowl. These are a lovely idea for ornament exchanges or as a hostess gift—don’t forget to make a set for yourself!


Clear glass or plastic ornaments (local craft/hobby store or purchase online)

1 can Krylon Looking Glass spray paint (must be this brand and type)

1 can Metallic spray paint in bronze or gold (optional)

1 16-oz bottle of distilled white vinegar

16-oz. water

Ribbon for hanger (optional)

Spray bottle (32 oz. capacity)

Plastic gloves

Paper towels

Hair dryer

  1. Lay out supplies on a protected surface. Remove metal hanger from each ornament; set aside for later.


  1. Mix equal parts distilled white vinegar and water in spray bottle; set aside for use in step 6.


  1. Wearing gloves, squirt three short sprays of Looking Glass paint on the inside of ornament. Slowly turn the ornament in your hand to evenly coat the inside.


  1. When most of the paint has been dispersed, set the ornament (open end down) onto a paper towel and give it a few shakes to remove extra paint.


  1. Using a hair dryer on low, warm setting, blow into the ornament for 30 seconds while gently turning in your hand. You will see the paint take on a mirrored effect!


  1. With your water bottle (set on fine mist) squirt a couple sprays into ornament, turning in between each squirt. Shake quickly (be gentle!) and let the ornament sit for 30 seconds. You will see droplets of water/vinegar begin to change the look of the mirror paint.


  1. Set ornament (open end down) onto a paper towel and shake out to remove extra water/vinegar.


  1. Let the ornament set for about a minute; then repeat the blow drying step.


  1. Repeat this process (apply mirror paint > dry > apply vinegar/water > dry) at least three times. I did this four or five times to achieve the effect I liked.


  1. When ornament is dry, replace the metal hanger and decorate with ribbon (I finished mine with gray velvet ribbon).



Stop here for a vintage mercury ornament look. Or take it up a notch by adding another layer (same steps as above) with a metallic spray in a bronze or gold shade. Let the darker color fill in some of your spaces to create that beautiful antiqued look.

It’s a fun process that allows you to create a unique, one-of-a-kind ornament for your holiday décor. They really catch the light!

  • Paint dries much faster in a plastic ornament. It’s not as easy to disperse the paint before it dries, but it can be done. And they don’t break!
  • If you use too much water, or feel like too much paint came off, simply respray using the same steps.
  • To do several at the same time, I used the box they came in for drying between steps.