Updated: Oct 20, 2020
It's always disappointing when something doesn't turn out quite as you'd planned. However, sometimes those disappointments can turn into happy accidents, which is exactly what happened with this project.
My initial plan for this DIY was to turn clear glass globe shades into gazing balls for my garden, like the ones pictured below.
I tried three methods in an attempt to achieve this look — two of which used Krylon Looking Glass spray paint — and none of them quite turned out the way I wanted. However, even though none of them were perfect, I still thought they'd make pretty garden decorations, so I decided to move forward with my idea.
As I was trying to find a way to display the homemade gazing balls in my garden, I encountered another problem: finding the perfect stands. Like so many other garden-related accessories, gazing ball stands are quite pricey, and I wasn't about to drop $50+ just to display a glass ball for my neighbours to see, lol.
I tried shopping around my house to see if I could upcycle something into a stand, but I didn't have much luck doing that, either. I was just about ready to put this project on the shelf until next spring, but then a new, more seasonally-appropriate idea entered my mind: crystal balls for my witch-inspired Halloween decor!
So, whether you want to create your own crystal ball for Halloween or you want to know how to make a super inexpensive garden gazing ball, check out my tutorial below.
Clear glass globe shade
Krylon Looking Glass spray paint (optional)
Spray bottle filled with equal parts water and white vinegar (optional)
Paper towel (optional)
Black acrylic paint (optional)
I started off all three gazing ball attempts the same way, so the first four materials I've listed are necessary. The remaining items in the list are optional, and I'll have instructions on how to use them, too.
I've always loved the dark blue/indigo gazing balls, so I tried to recreate that colour for this project. I started by mixing two tablespoons of school glue with one tablespoon of warm water. Next, I added 30 drops of blue food colouring, followed by 15 drops of purple. Using a small whisk, I whipped everything until the mixture was fully combined.
I then poured the watered down glue into my glass globe and swirled it around until the entire thing was coated in a brilliant blue. Using an empty candle jar, I let the excess glue drip out for 5-10 minutes before placing the globe on a foil-covered cookie sheet and baking it at 200°F for one hour.
Tip: I placed the globe+cookie sheet in the oven before heating it. I didn't want to risk breaking the glass, so I thought the safest way to bake it would be to start with a cool oven.
For my first gazing ball attempt, I repeated the coating process five or six times, reusing the leftover glue mixture that had dripped into my candle jar each time.
After the final bake, this is what I ended up with! I thought it was pretty close to what you'd find at a garden centre or home improvement store, minus the expensive price tag.
Even though I was happy with the look of my first gazing ball, I did want to try a couple more ideas, just to see if I could get even closer to the gazing ball look I had in my head.
For my second attempt, I only used one coat of the blue glue mixture. After it had baked and cooled, I took my glass globe outside and started gently spritzing the inside with Krylon Looking Glass spray paint.
Now, the biggest issue I had with this step was that the paint started to pool very quickly because of the shape of the piece I was working with. I tried swishing it around, kind of like what I'd done with the glue mixture, but it wasn't as thick, so it didn't settle as well.
I decided to do a few more coats of the spray paint, allowing each to drip out into an empty candle jar as they dried. This resulted in a lot of drip marks, and, initially, I thought they were going to ruin the globe. However, once the final coat had dried, I noticed the drips actually ended up creating an oil slick effect, which I thought was pretty cool (pictured on the left, below).
For my third and final attempt, I decided to do two coats of the blue glue mixture, and I gave the spray paint another try. However, this time, I chose to create a mercury glass look (pictured on the right, above).
I lightly sprayed the inside of my third globe with the Looking Glass paint and let it dry slightly — not completely. Next, I spritzed a mixture of water and white vinegar into the globe and let it settle for a few seconds. I then used paper towel to blot away the vinegar mixture, which removed both the blue coating (unexpected) and the spray paint (expected).
I repeated this process a few more times until I was happy with the look, and then I let the piece dry.
Finally, for the two globes that I'd used the Krylon in, I sealed the inside with a layer of black acrylic paint. This really brought out the oil slick and mercury glass look for each piece.
Pretty cool, right? I love how each globe is totally unique. And while I don't feel I achieved the initial look I was going for when I was brainstorming this project, I'm still super happy with the results.
Don't they remind you of crystal balls? I think they're perfect as Halloween decor. I've decided to use the first ball I made as part of my decorating plans this year, because I can put a battery-operated tea light inside, which creates a glowing effect.
The black paint inside the other two balls makes it impossible for any light to shine through, so they'll be put away for now and brought out in the spring!
Tip: If you prefer the look of the two gazing balls that utilized the Looking Glass spray paint, and you want to use them as crystal balls for Halloween, you can always skip the final step and not add a layer of black paint. Doing so will allow light to shine through!
If this project inspires you to get crafty, let me know by sharing your creations with me! Leave a comment or use #katiesaracreates on social media. And don't forget to subscribe so you don't miss out on a fun FREEBIE I whipped up.