Color Your Life With This Faux Carnival Glass Technique

6 Materials
3 Hours

FHave you ever seen carnival glass? It’s amazing! The colors are gorgeous and it has an iridescent shimmer to it. The glass got its name because instead of stuffed animals, people would win ‘carnival’ glass pieces when they went to the carnival. You don’t need to learn the ins and outs of making this glass to win your own prized possession! I have found the perfect way to create a faux carnival glass effect on wood. Follow this step by step tutorial and get started on learning this amazing technique!

Tools and Materials:

  • Dixie Belle white lightning cleaner
  • Bucket and rag
  • Gloves
  • Dixie Belle paint
  • MisterFinnabair gilding wax

Carnival glass furniture

I got this gorgeous, vintage piece from Luxembourg. I know some people are obsessed with antique wood but I couldn’t wait to get started creating a carnival glass masterpiece out of this! 

Clean the wood
Clean the wood

To begin, use your white lightning cleaner and water mixture to wipe down the wood. It’s really important that once you’re finished cleaning, you go over the wood with a rag and clean water. Make sure to remove any soapy residue left over, to avoid adhesion issues later on! 

Paint base coat
Paint a base coat onto the piece

Once your piece is clean and dry, start painting a base coat. I chose this brilliant peacock blue, but feel free to choose a color scheme that works well for your space! 

Vintage carnival glass
Add a metallic shine

In order to create a beautiful moonshine metallic effect on your piece, start with a water mister. Gently spray over the surface but avoid making the piece too wet! This gentle mist helps the paint glide better, creating the desired shine.

Add the shine

When adding the metallic shine, you want to have a very thin coat of paint on your brush. It’s important to use light strokes and not overwork this paint. Once you’ve added your shine to the entire piece, you may want to add a second coat to create an even brighter shimmer. Once you’re done painting, leave the piece to dry. 

Add gilding wax
Create an iridescent glow

The most amazing thing about carnival glass is the blend of colors and their iridescent shine! To create this effect on your piece, use different colored gilding wax and paint it in layers, and in different areas of the piece. You can paint on top of other colors or create a sort of color pattern. I have chosen gorgeous colors that perfectly complement my peacock base coat. I chose to use purple, emerald, denim, and gold and I just love how they look together! Choose colors that will leave your piece looking amazing from every angle! 

Faux carnival glass technique

Gold is such a bold color so I used it to my advantage. I focused on placing the gold on the details of this piece. If your piece has similar detailing you can choose one color to really stand out or keep to the general blend of the different colors. The choice is yours! At the end of the day, this piece will be in your home so you need to love how it looks! 

Smooth it out

Using a wax color similar to your base color, gently begin smoothing out your piece. This helps to slightly tone down the kaleidoscope of colors and blend them beautifully to create the desired effect. 

Faux carnival glass

Now that your piece has been toned down, you are ready to create that gorgeous iridescent look! Take your opal magic wax and smooth it over the entire piece. This will give it the amazing carnival glass look! 

Carnival glass dresser

This faux carnival glass technique can transform any piece! What color scheme would you use to create this effect? Let me know in the comments below! 

Resources for this project:
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Bella Renovare by Crys'Dawna
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  • Kami Kami on Oct 05, 2021

    On my goodness! That piece is absolutely beautiful! All of my favorite colors I would love that in my home!

  • Jen Parsons Jen Parsons on Apr 26, 2024

    I love this, I have an small vanity I was trying to figure out what to do with it. In the end photo it looks darker and shinier than the last step on the video. Did you gloss over it or something else for the final look?