Have you heard of mercury glass before? It's gorgeous.
The first thing I did was read 1,001+ tutorials online. I found plenty that turned regular glass into mercury glass using Looking Glass spray paint (HERE and HERE are two examples). I even found some that antiqued mirrors (HERE and HERE). But I didn't really like the blackish finish that many of them had.
So I did what I always do... just started working with no clue what I was doing or how it would turn out.
I removed the grey paint and copper layers from the mirror using spray-on paint remover. This stuff was majorly toxic, so tread carefully here, people. It ate through my rubber gloves and started burning my skin. Luckily there was a garden hose nearby and I washed my hands like a crazy lady while thinking about that scene from Who Framed Roger Rabbit where the toons get "dipped." Anyone know what I'm talking about?
After the paint and copper layers were gone, I was left with just the reflective silver layer of the mirror. I tried sanding it, but you could see every little scratch and it wasn't pretty. I tried spraying it with bleach. That made it turn black, which was not the look I was going for. I eventually used fine steel wool and tried to make natural looking holes in the silver finish. This was incredibly hard to do and it just didn't look quite right.
So I sprayed the glass side of the mirror (not the silver side that I had previously been working on) with water, then did the finest layer of metallic silver spray paint possible. I immediately blotted it with an old rag, removing a lot of the paint and giving it an uneven finish.
I didn't think I liked how this project turned out until I put the mirror in it's navy blue frame and hung it above my piano.
Splotchy, aged, interesting, image-obscuring but still reflective? Just what I was hoping for!
I am so glad to finally have something in that poor frame that's been sitting empty for so long.
This project is totally impossible to photograph, just so you know. Here's a close-up of the finish to give you a better idea of what it really looks like.
Once again, my hairbrained persistence paid off. I love the finished product!