Mercury Effect a Vintage Leaded Glass Window

Gary Hardman
by Gary Hardman
7 Materials
8 Hours

The junk man commeth...and I’m always glad to see what treasures he has on the back of his truck. This time it is a 100 year old leaded glass window. I picked out one of the best and have pondered what I want to do with it for the past year.

It obviously sat in a barn for 50 years so the first task was to clean it. I used soap and water then windex on the glass.

I sanded the wood and then taped off the lead and the wood frame.

There was lots of taping and then I used an exacto knife to trim the tape. I used packing paper to cover the frame.

Making sure the glass surface was clean, I used Rustoleum Mirror Effect Paint and a spray bottle with two parts white vinegar and one part water. The window needs to be level. I then sprayed the glass with the vinegar and water solution making sure each pane had sufficient water drops.

I then sprayed four light coats of paint onto the window. I let each coat dry for two minutes before applying the next coat.

I then lightly dabbed the water/vinegar drops off using a napkin. Do not rub unless you want a streaked effect.

I finished the project by staining the wood and then applying a coat of polyurethane.

This was my first go round in creating mercury effect glass. I found that there are dozens of different ways to create this effect so pick one and go for it.

I enjoyed this learning process and my new window. This window now has a home above my fireplace.

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  3 questions
  • Jaswan Jaswan on Mar 23, 2019

    Could you have painted the back thereby deleting the masking of the lead lines?

  • Mica Mica on Mar 31, 2019

    Was the tape removed from the leading when you completed the project ?

  • Jodi Jodi on Apr 10, 2019

    I just came across a mirror that I bought a couple years ago. Not sure how I was going to display it, obviously heavy. One spot has a crack in the glass, didn't really want to pay to replace it, it is still awesome. Your idea put that light bulb on. I have the paint and everything. I'm in Minnesota and having an April blizzard that is putting travel to a "don't even think about it" level. I guess I picked a good day to look, and wasn't even looking for the window.

    Did you do the paint on both sides? Jodi

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4 of 26 comments
  • Mariangeles Mariangeles on Jul 25, 2019

    Beautiful! Can you see through at all? wondering if I can do this in a "cloudy" glass door and still get some light through.

  • Elizabeth Haire Elizabeth Haire on Apr 19, 2020

    I have a glass top coffee table. I am considering the mercury glass technique to give it a new lease on life. If I do the technique on the back side Would it still look right?

    • Gary Hardman Gary Hardman on Apr 19, 2020

      From what I have heard you can. I know people do it on the inside of jars. You might want to test on a piece of glass.