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Milkglass (7 of 7)

Goodness gracious, has it been a whirlwind of a fortnight for the husband-to-be and me! Pre-hubs, as I've become accustomed to calling him now that we're just two months away from our wedding day (Eek!), just started a new position in a city much closer to our friends, family, and wedding venue and vendors. We found a house to rent and moved in a flash, finding ourselves apartment dwellers no more. Just a few days after moving into our new house, my beloved bicycle was stolen then returned a few days later by the power of social media and some super sleuthing. Needless to say, I fell off the wedding planning wagon, but I'm gearing up for a wild ride to the finish!

My first project since getting back into the groove was creating inexpensive milk glass inspired vases for our centerpieces. Milk glass is an opaque glassware usually blown or pressed into molds to create vases, decorative items, and dinnerware. It's been around for centuries, and true vintage pieces are highly collectible.

E.O. Brody Milk Glass Vase (c. 1960s)
E.O. Brody Milk Glass Vase (c. 1960s)


While I was searching for mismatched vases in thrift stores, I came upon a quilted milk glass vase which inspired me to create a more “mismatchy-matchy” look. The only trouble is, these pieces can run a much higher price tag than regular run-of-the-mill clear vases. While most thrift stores sold those for a dollar or less, the milk glass vases were running upwards of five to ten dollars. I quickly realized how expensive my idea was becoming and needed a back up plan. With the clear vases being such blank slates, I decided I could easily spray paint them, saving a good portion of the decor budget for other items.

Milkglass (1 of 7)
Thrift store vases before

Here's how I created the Faux Milk Glass look:


  • Cheap clear thrift or dollar store vases
  • White glossy spray paint
  • Cardboard or newspaper to prevent paint run off


  • Clean the vases thoroughly, and rub the surface with rubbing alcohol. The paint will stick better when the glass is free of debris.
  • Find a well ventilated area, preferably outside, and set your vases upside down.

Milkglass (2 of 7)

  • Spray paint as per the instructions on the can in light, even strokes. Don't worry if it's a little uneven after the first coat. Too much paint, and you'll get drippage. I learned that the hard way with my trial run.
  • Let the vases dry for at least an hour then cover in a second coat.
  • Dry, turn the vases right side up and even out any patchy spots.
Milkglass (5 of 7)
Thrift store vases after
  • Lightly spray the inner rim of the vase, but be careful not to spray too much inside the vase as any water added could cause paint to chip off.
  • Let dry then fill with fresh flowers!
Milkglass (6 of 7)
Sunflowers are part of our wedding floral arrangements, so naturally I tested the freshly painted vases with them. The real milk glass vase is on the far left.

I'm happy with the way these turned out though I'll admit that a few look rough but could easily be angled to hide any blemishes. If you're going for that true milk glass look, I recommend choosing vases with some sort of pattern since the smooth surfaced ones ended up looking a little more like ceramic.

My favorite one, definitely due to the pattern!
My favorite one, definitely due to the pattern


I could also see this project working out nicely with a light mint green or other pastel spray paint. I'd love to see how the community might tweak this tutorial to better suit their wedding's theme!

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About Casey

Hello lovelies! I'm Casey, a 25-year-old farmland transplant and former corporate coffee minion, currently living in Chicago. My fiance, Travis, proposed to me in November 2013 after four years together during our anniversary vacation in Cancun. We're now in the thick of planning our offbeat September wedding at a historical homestead near our hometowns in west central Illinois.

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  • Jemma – You Mean The World To Me

    Ooooh, I love this DIY idea! So simple and the outcome is seriously stylish.

  • !!! I wish I had realized you could do this before! I guess now I know for future projects. Looks gorgeous!

  • Abbey

    I love your vases! I’m currently in the midst of a similar project. I am in love with the look of vintage mercury glass for parts of our wedding center pieces however the cost well exceeds my budget. I’ve been thrift store shopping ( almost daily!) for the dollar and under vases and candle holders. After a lot of research I’ve found a spray paint by Krylon called Looking Glass. I’m going to spray all my thrift store finds with it to tie together all the tables. I hope they turn out as well as yours!!!

    • So cool! Would love to see the results of your project! I *love* mercury glass!

  • These are a dead ringer for the real thing! Great job — and definitely budget savvy!!

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