How to make your own mercury glass pumpkin

I really think that when I look back on my life…..I will decide that yesterday was the perfect day in the country.

It was crisp and cool with just a hint of fall in the air.

The swirling leaves hinted at their incredible autumn colors.

The clouds drifted lazily overhead and the sun beams danced across the back pasture.

It was truly beautiful.

So beautiful that I decided to overlook the fact that cows are my next-door-neighbors and there is not a drive-through fountain diet coke or a stop light in the entire county and or a Target within 75 miles…..and instead…..

……rejoice that I live in the country.


Mercury glass pumpkin on the mantel

You see… the country we have cows and sheep and goats and hay and barns.

Old, abandonded barns.

Barns that used to have horses.

Barns with stable doors.


This stable barn door is a great accent piece

They are perfection.

Those stable doors in those old abandoned barns.

Just like this one.

So if you live in the country and wake up and smell the crisp cool country air and decide that you want to decorate your fall mantel with a stable door…..well….

… can.

After all….you live in the country.

Where drive-through diet cokes and Targets are scarce.

But stable doors still attached in an old abandoned barn…..those are a dime a dozen.

This festive mantel is fun and a great accent

So yesterday……we drove the old pick-up truck to one of those abandoned buildings a friend owned and pried off our stable door.

It is magnificent.

I almost asked my barn-owner friend for a feed-trough, too.

But I hesitated because…..somehow…..I thought there might be rules about that in the old-abandoned-barn-stable-door handbook.

Only one abandoned item per customer.

So instead of a feed trough on my fall mantel…..I added faux mercury glass pumpkins.

Not abandoned.

Not rustic.

Not even found in a barn.

But easy and fun and “cinchy” to make on a perfect day in the country 🙂

Mercury glass pumpkin how to

Mercury Glass Pumpkin Project


Glass pumpkin

Looking Glass Spray Paint

Spray bottle with water

painters tape

plastic bag

Start with a glass pumpkin for the project

Step 1:  Purchase a glass pumpkin.

It MUST be clear glass.

Not orange glass or red glass or brown glass.

And definitely not styrofoam.

Do not buy a pumpkin from the dollar store and attempt to turn it into mercury glass pumpkin when it is really just orange styrofoam.

This will not work.

You will have an orange bubbly remotely silver pumpkin with little bits of styrofoam peeking through.

Not that you or I would ever do that.

We would know better.

Tape the outside of the glass pumpkin to paint the inside

Step 2:  Tape the outside of the pumpkin with a plastic bag and painter’s tape

You don’t want the looking glass spray paint getting on the outside of the pumpkin.

Completely cover the exterior of the pumpkin.

Mist the inside of the pumpkin with water.

Lightly mist.

Not too much water.

Spray inside the glass pumpkin with spray paint

Step 3:  Shake the spray paint can for 3 to 5 minutes


3 to 5 minutes.

It works so much better if you shake it up for a long time.

Then spray the looking glass paint inside the pumpkin in short little bursts.

The paint mixes with the water creating a really runny consistency.

This is good.

Pick up the pumpkin and roll it around so the water/paint mixture spreads out all over the inside of the pumpkin until it creates the “faux mercury” effect you want.

Shake out any excess.


Repeat the process with the top of the pumpkin

4. Repeat process with top

Make sure you coat the entire inside of the top with the runny water/spray paint mixture.

Let both pieces dry according to the directions on the spray paint.

Replace the lid and pat yourself on the back.

Your pumpkin is now ready for it’s curtain call.
The finished pumpkin on the mantel

Step 5: Move to the country and make friends with a barn/stable door owner

Decide you don’t really need a fountain diet coke and that Target and stop lights are a little overrated and you like the sound a cow makes when it moos.

And that a cool crisp autumn day excursion to an old abandoned barn for a stable door turned mantel decoration…..

……is the stuff dreams are made of 🙂

DIY Mercury glass pumpkin

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  1. Image for Kerryanne @ Shabby Art Boutique Kerryanne @ Shabby Art Boutique

    From one country girl to another. . . there's a lot to be said for living in the country and I'll never move back to the city!! But I don't have a barn door yet. I love yours on the mantel and that pumpkin is the perfect addition for your fall vignette.

  2. Image for Maureen Maureen

    I WISH I lived in the country! I would read your blog just for your wonderful writing, but the fact that we get eye candy and great tutorials to boot just is the cherry on top! Thanks for making my day, now if I can only find a glass pumpkin. . .

  3. Image for adrienne adrienne

    I love making my own mercury glass too. So fun! I also love your lovely large flowers! Whatever are they?? Can I make those too? Love your blog--I subscribed a few weeks ago!

  4. Image for Yvonne @ StoneGable Yvonne @ StoneGable

    KariAnne, We live in the country too.. and I can so relate to what you are saying... and you say it so artfully! Your pumpkin turned out stunning... as well as your whole fall mantle! Putting your mercury glass pumpkin on the pedestal made it the center of attention! Always creative at Thistlewood!

  5. Image for Kelly @ Eclectically Vintage Kelly @ Eclectically Vintage

    Hmmmmm, a drive-thru or a barn door? It's a tough one - can I just come for the day, swing by McDonald's where I'll pick you up a Diet Coke, pick you up, and we'll drive into the country where we'll spend the day raiding every barn we see. For extra fun, we can even tip of few of those cows! What a find - you've got friends in high (barn loft) places. And it's the perfect backdrop for that pumpkin- you know how I'm attracted to shiny objects. Kelly

  6. Image for Debbie Debbie

    Love your tutorial. I too live in the S. California...but not close to malls, Target, anything. We have no stop light in town, we do have one drive through (Dairy queen)... But we love the country, and wouldn't trade this for anything. Yes we drive to the mall, etc...but the country calls us. Love your blog. Found you off of Pinterest. I will be back! Blessings, Debbie

  7. Image for shirley@housepitalitydesigns shirley@housepitalitydesigns

    I was watching an episode of American Pickers....They were driving through the countryside of Kentucky, saying that in Kentucky, it is not unusual to find great things just sitting on the roadside... I was thinking that in the next scene, there would be you, loading a window or a door, or a I am glad that you were one step ahead of Mike and Frank and have friends that did not put that beautiful stable door on the roadside! Gorgeous mantel Kari!! Great, pumpkin the tutorial.

  8. Image for Kim Kim

    Gosh, Kari, your mantel looks fabulous. Hey, we have cows, horses, barns and stuff around us and Walmart at the end of our road, but I drive to Target that is only 12 minutes away and a huge mall. I have all the conveniences and am in the country. lol

  9. Image for Linda Linda

    From one country girl to another, I love your whole mantle. Not just the pumpkin. Those urns are full of what materials. Please share. Who cares if the nearest mall is an hour away we have the fresh air, cow manure perfumes, the crowing roosters........ Now where do I find a glass pumpkin???? Yes you are so right. Spray paint on styrofoam makes it all so volcanic looking... Linda

  10. Image for Ann Ann

    I never thought I would say this but I think I would enjoy living in the country. As I have grown older, and wiser, my needs have changed. I don't need traffic, noise, 18 different discount stores in a 1/2 mile stretch on a 4 lane road. The country sounds delightful. I have wanted to try this mercury glass idea since last fall. Maybe I should get the lead out...have a wonderful week. Oh...I've been voting for you every day at CL. I so hope you win.

  11. Image for Jordan@the2seasons Jordan@the2seasons

    I was not ready for fall I was trying to hold on to summer for as long as I can but it happened. Fall happened here in Upstate NY on Sunday. So now I am thinking about fall decorating and I love this pumpkin. Let the adventure begin as I drive all around town in search of the glass pumpkin. Do you think Prince Charming had to do a lot of searching to find the glass slipper for Cinderella?

  12. Image for Peggy Peggy

    From one girl who used to live in the country (and misses it something fierce) to another who does live in the country.... yes there are definitely benefits to living in such a truly bucolic setting. One that I do miss and can hardly wait to move back to but it will be a few years down the road, in fact all our children will have graduated by that time... but maybe, just maybe we will be able to spend our summers back on the farm before the youngest graduates! Or at least part of each summer. :) And you fall mantel with the abandoned barn door and stunning pumpkin, well they are just that stunning!! (nothing of use abandoned in our neck of the woods.... lots of thrifty folks abound here! haha!)

  13. Image for Penny @ The Comforts of Home & Flea Market Makeovers Penny @ The Comforts of Home & Flea Market Makeovers

    Love the pumpkin and tutorial...thanks! That piece from the old barn is amazing!

  14. Image for Rita@thissortaoldlife Rita@thissortaoldlife

    A year ago I moved from the mountains to the 'burbs. After 20 years. I now live minutes from Fred Meyer (one-stop shopping!), Winco, and several kinds of drive-through. I so much wish I could have trees and water and hills all around AND all those conveniences! Because for a domestically-challenged person such as myself, having a grocery store within minutes is such a blessing! (Last night drove to the store at 8:30 to get supplies for today's school lunches. Came home with all kinds of thing, but forgot the snack bars that were the primary reason for the trip. Argghhh....)

  15. Image for Claudia Claudia

    Umm call me greedy, but I would have asked for the trough too...I mean if it was just out there, just saying... I used to live in a town (a town with newer houses) with fields right across the road from us, then moved to the country and now live in another town (but with old homes). They each have their advantages, but Fall is Fall and it is great everywhere! Now I need to go find my glass pumpkin, thanks for such creative ideas!

  16. Image for Brandy Brandy

    Oh my how beautiful. The country is so much better than any drive-thru. Barn doors over pop anyday for me. Your mantle looks outstanding. Thanks for sharing your country home with us.

  17. Image for Rhonda ~ Ramblings of a Southern Girl Rhonda ~ Ramblings of a Southern Girl

    Love the country, too! We live in town now, but have plans to sell and move to my husband's family's old home place and renovate the 100 year old house on the farm day! :) Nothing like the country! ...Now about your mantel arrangement ...Gorgeous and so elegant! The pumpkin turned out great! Thanks for the tutorial! Want to try one of these!

  18. Image for Bliss Bliss

    I have that pumpkin. Do you think I can still put candy in it after I make it all awesome or is raw candy touching spray paint not good? ~Bliss~

  19. Image for Betsy(@coastal-colors) Betsy(@coastal-colors)

    I love your mantel! It's gorgeous! Everything looks so wonderful! The pumpkin is on my list to try! Thanks for sharing a great tutorial!

  20. Image for Deneen Deneen

    Love this! Your mantel is beautiful! I want a barn door wahhhhhh!!! I keep eying the ones on the abandoned barns in TN. Might have to try to get one!

  21. Image for Becca Becca

    Beautiful mantel, Karianne! I love that you put a barn door up there ... such a cool focal point! And, the mercury pumpkin is the perfect pop, too! Now, if I only lived near a barn. :(

  22. Image for Upscale Downhome Upscale Downhome

    First of all, gorgeous mantel. Nothing better than classic black with a little shimmery silver! Second of all, I live in a small town but I do have a McDonald's with a drive thru where I get my Diet Coke on ice everyday. (And it has to be from the drive thru because the fountain on the inside of the store isn't as bubbly. I'm a connoisseur.)

  23. Image for Debbie Debbie

    I love your mantel vignette and the! To have a screen like yours...the whole effect is just beautiful. Love your story and the way you have of telling it. I often wonder what the owners would say if I asked for some of their tumbling down barns... Debbie :)

  24. Image for Kimberly from Serendipity Refined Kimberly from Serendipity Refined

    Fabulous mantel and I LOVE your mercury glass pumpkin but the "dime a dozen" barn door is what did it for me. Please, oh PLEASE, find me a farm in your neighborhood to move to! Seriously, mentioned that I'm looking for a new home, (I mean OTHER than just moving in with YOU) didn't I? xo

  25. Image for Pat@BPM Pat@BPM

    Fantabulous mantel, barn door, mercury glass! Gorgeous post!! We have reaped the benefits of country living for many many years, I know exactly what you are talking about.:-)

  26. Image for Debbie Debbie

    I've been thinking about the simple pleasures in life lately . . . Thank you for reminding me about fountain sodas. I'll take it from the can if I have too, but the sweet refreshing cool taste of a condensing glass of fountain soda and ice is pure pleasure. And, oh yea, Target is pretty magical too!

  27. Image for Gina Gina

    The black and white ones are gorgeous, too! You must save a lot by being far from Target! I love mercury glass pumpkins, too. Just bought three last week. Maybe that's why I like you. Still voting...hope you win!

  28. Image for Andrea Andrea

    And I just so happen to live in the country. In fact, there are barns and horses all around, and right next door. What I don't have, however, is your amazing, gorgeous, over the top mantel skills. You are the mantel whisperer. oh, and perhaps the mercury glass whisperer as well. Where did you get those large, grey flowers (?) in the urns? Beautiful, KariAnne. Did I tell you lately how glad I am that you are back blogging? You are truely skilled, my friend =)

  29. Image for Shannon Fox Shannon Fox

    I've got a little mix of both. A fountain DC? No problem. Target... 2 hour drive. I'll take it though. Hands down. We've got lots of barns too. But I don't know that they are abandoned. Bet that would miss a door. Darn :( Looks wonderful Karianne. The mantel is spectacular!!

  30. Image for Kathleen Kathleen

    Love this project. Is Looking Glass Paint the brand? If not, what is the brand and where can I find it? I can't wait to do this. My MIL got me some mercury glass candlesticks that I LOVE!!!

  31. Image for Beverly Beverly

    In order to not break the barn rule, you could have said your friend in North Carolina really wanted a trough. And, I promise I would let you keep it.♥ Great look, KariAnne. You are always an inspiration.

  32. Image for Gee Gee

    Smashing mantle KariAnne. Luv the barn door. Pity I do not live in the country... **great big sigh**. I live in the outskirts of a smallish city . A city with a Target and lots of diet coke fountains. But I'd trade it for a barn door at this very minute!!! Instead I am settling for old multi pane windows and using them instead. All the while however... longing for a barn door!! Cheers, Gee

  33. Image for andrea cammarata andrea cammarata

    how is it my friend that you totally amaze me with each and every project...the pumpkins are amazing and i am going to do this project for sure! but all i have is eyes for that incredibly GORGEOUS perfectly crackled embossed piece on the mantle...oh i am head over heels in love mantle is over the top gorgeous! Applause and appaws ...going to go vote for today! : ) hugs...l

  34. Image for Rhondar Rhondar

    Oh, you've made me homesick for the days of my childhood spent on my grandparents' farm! Seeing (or smelling!) cows is a definite trigger for those sweet memories! I guess that's why I collect cow paintings and prints! Same thing will happen with your kids when they grow up!

  35. Image for Wende Wende

    Love this pumpkin. Have been seeing alot of mercury glass in decor lately and really like the look. What is looking glass paint? Never heard of it. Brand? Store? Thanks for your time.

  36. Image for Laura Laura

    Oh my. You have outdone yourself. Your mantel is drop dead gorgeous. You have found the secret Miss Karianne. It is the little things, the simple things- all tied up with family and our houses and creativity. It doesn't get any better than that. Laura White Spray Paint

  37. Image for Kelly @ JAX does design Kelly @ JAX does design

    I love creating DIY mercury glass - it's so easy, and way cheaper than buying the real thing. I actually spray the looking glass paint on both sides of the glass piece - I find it adds some depth and results in a more realistic look. Your pumpkin came out great, and I'm having serious stable door envy! Wish I could find awesome treasures like that around here! I need to move to the country :-)

  38. Image for Vanessa Vanessa

    OH.MY.WORD. Well, if my mantel wasn't mocking me before, it definitely is now! That is beyond gorgeous girl!!! The mercury pumpkin is fantastic and every single detail looks stunning. you think if I took off one of the doors in my own house and put it on my mantel it would turn out like that? ;-) Love ya you crazy talented lady you! Vanessa P.S. Figured since we already used the 'L' word in private it was ok to say it here too, right? LOL!

  39. Image for Kate Kate

    Girl, thank you so much! Not only am I going to be on the lookout for a glass pumpkin, I am now eyeing my neighbor's old barn. Seriously, staring out the window at it. I just know there is a cool door in there somewhere just longing for me to rescue it. I already stole his feed-trough... Love your entire mantle. (actually make that house!) Have a wonderful fall day today too!

  40. Image for Beth@thedailyparagraph Beth@thedailyparagraph

    Wow! What a mantel! I love the black crackled board that is hanging in the center. Where did you find that? The urns and what's in them are great too.

  41. Image for Tiffini Tiffini

    ok..i am beyond jealous you went on an excursion and got a barn door... i had to pay for you might just have inspired me to sneak into a barn on my drive to warrensburg and take that door i spotted this weekend though? is that a crime if it is abandoned?;) happy monday friend:) xo

  42. Image for Susan Susan

    Do we live in the same neighborhood? I'm in the land of corn, cows and the turkeys are back at one of the farms. I dig country living. I just love your mantel. The pumpkin so awesome I'll have to give it a try. Susan

  43. Image for Michelle Michelle

    Oh how I long to live in the country. I guess you could say I do now. We don't have a drive thru and the closest Target is 20 minutes away but my country is being taken over by developments and convenience stores. Oh how I long to drive down an old country dirt road.Maybe some day. I love the barn door. You have very generous friends you should of asked for the feed through I 'm sure they would have given it to you. Great tutorial.

  44. Image for Angie @ Beneath the Magnolias Angie @ Beneath the Magnolias

    This looks great! Love your barn door. I would love to live in the country. In fact, I dream of it BUT I have to be near drive thrus, fabric stores, Chick Fil As. Where do you buy all of your craft stuff and all of the beautiful things you put in your house? Your mantel looks so good. Are those magnolias? I like to ask a lot of questions. :)

  45. Image for Jo @ To a Pretty Life Jo @ To a Pretty Life

    Your mantel is perfect! I love the door and that pretty black wooden thing, and the mercury glass pumpkin. The layers all work together beautifully. Thanks for the tutorial! I just might have to try it.

  46. Image for Jessie @ Dream & Differ Jessie @ Dream & Differ

    Ever since I saw your gorgeous summer mantel, I've been anticipating what you'd come up with for the fall. You did not disappoint- it's amazing! Love the mix of rustic and glam. And now I have even more reason to wish we still lived in the country!

  47. Image for Karen Karen

    I have a matching set of those pumpkins, thrifted last year. They definitely need a Mercury Glass treatment. I will trade you a drive through Diet Coke and a trip to Target for some of that Barn wood.

  48. Image for Atta Girl Amy Atta Girl Amy

    Don't you just love Looking Glass Spray paint. Coolest stuff ever. Except when you use it on styrofoam. Tee-hee. Would love to see that project. And I'll take you to Target and buy you a fountain drink when you're here in NC. That is, if you bring me a barn door! -- Atta Girl Amy

  49. Image for tara tara

    I love this project.....mercury glass is one of my favorite things. I have picked up several items over the years at tjmaxx, and I love the idea of making more as DIY projects. You're my inspiration, girl.

  50. Image for JuneA** JuneA**

    You are much nicer than I am, I would have asked!! :-) But, I wasn't aware of "the old-abandoned-barn-stable-door handbook" rules! Love your mantel, and LOVE your project!! Its a good thing you said something about the dollar store pumpkins, because I was considering them! lol From one Kentucky country girl to another: HAPPY FALL, Y'ALL!

  51. Image for Honey Honey

    I am delighted that you have shared your beautiful Fall mantel, along with the tutorial on making mercury glass pumpkins at Potpourri Friday! Hope you will make this a week party stop!

  52. Image for Diane Diane

    The mantel is so beautiful!! I love your blog and all your decorating! Like everyone else, I would love to know where you bought the grey flowers?? They are stunning! Diane

  53. Image for Sue Kopp Sue Kopp

    Well, I totally agree with you about how wonderful it is to be back in the country. We live on a farm and enjoy being away from the hustle and bustle business of the city. However, we can still get to a wal-mart in about 45 miles . . any direction. . HA The mercury glass pumpkin is to DIE FOR!!!! Just cannot wait to get the spray paint and get going. Love your beautiful projects!

  54. Image for Paula Paula

    Your mantle is just gorgeous. I am loving all of your pieces. The mercury pumpkin is amazing. Now you know I will be looking high and low and eBay for a glass pumpkin. This is a beautiful and inspirational post. I would love it if you would share it at our WIW Linky Party. I hope you can join us. Paula

  55. Image for Ann Ann

    The barn door is a great backdrop and I love the mercury glass pumpkin. Your unique fall mantel is wonderful--I'm featuring it on my Once Upon a Firefly FB page.

  56. Image for Beth Beth

    Sigh. Big sigh...I grew up on alarm w itch abandoned barn.. If only my 10 year old self knew about rustic barnwoo and doors and awesome old tools.... now I have to go and make friends... But I do have 2 Targets with in 6 miles..... The Targets bring people that tear down said barns to build houses. Hmmmm no gates either... Bt love the pumpkins, awesome. So mercury glass goes on project list.

  57. Image for Suzy @ Worthing Court Suzy @ Worthing Court

    Karianne - This mantle vignette is simply stunning! I just love the grays and silver and black and white mixed together with an old barn door used as a backdrop. I haven't attempted any faux mercury glass projects yet, but this sure makes me want to. Thank you for linking up to the Better Late Than Never Thanksgiving bloghop.

  58. Image for Jessica Cramer Jessica Cramer

    Love, love, love! I completely agree that living in town is soooo over rated! Your mercury pumpkin is awesome! I hope to score a glass one or two on Black Friday. Somebody must have them marked down! I really need to find a buddy with a barn or a junk pile. Happy Thanksgiving! By the way, what are those cool big dried flower things on your mantle? Are they spray painted? Real or fake? Tutorial please!

  59. Image for Marie Marie

    I collect Mercury Glass not because of its worth but because of its beauty so I thank you because I can now make my own what fun it will be, I'm so glad I found you.

  60. Image for Megan Megan

    Thanks for the great tutorial. I did a version of it.. which I'm really happy with!

  61. Image for Sharon H Sharon H

    I am so going to do this. I think I'll have to dig that glass pumpkin out of the "garage sale stuff" box, though.... karianne, I did this to some thrift store vases, as well as Dollar store candle sticks.....really pretty...thanks for the reminder!

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