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Antiquing Glass Ornaments

This simple technique lends new, shiny glass ornaments the muted, authentic appearance of antique mercury glass in just minutes. (As mercury glass ages, it loses some of its luster and tends to darken in spots.) All you need is a little paint and small sponges with which to apply it.

Source: Martha Stewart


Resources: Gouache paint in zinc white (No. 00801-1032) and ivory black (No. 00801-2252), by Winsor Newton, from Blick Art Materials. Similar silver balls on wire, from B&J Florist Supply, 212-564-6086


  • 1 small tube of white gouache paint

  • 1 small tube of black gouache paint

  • 2 small bowls

  • Silver-ball ornaments

  • 2 small natural sponges

  • Tissues


  1. Place 1 teaspoon each of white and black paint in separate bowls. Dilute each with water, a few drops at a time, until paint has the consistency of heavy cream.

  2. Working with 1 ornament at a time, dab entire surface with sponge dipped in white gouache mixture. While ornament is still wet, use tissues to gently dab ornament, creating a mottled look.

  3. Using the other sponge, lightly and sparingly dab the ornament in a few places with black gouache. Use clean tissues to lighten and blur the black spots, creating the appearance of flaked mercury glass. Let dry for at least 1 hour.

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