Enthused by the simplicity of the Victorian and Edwardian silverware she saw during a recent visit to the British Museum, Kit Lee set about creating her own version: an inexpensive, for everyday use with seasonal floral arrangements, or as suitably stylish storage.

‘I often come back from Columbia Road market on a Sunday with armfuls of flowers, only to find that I don’t have a suitable vase,’ says Kit. ‘Rather than spending on shop-bought ones, I wanted to come up with an easy, inexpensive way of personalising some basic storage containers. Using this method, you can transform any shape and size of glass container – vases, jugs, bottles, jars – that you find in the attic, charity shop or thrift sale. Seasoned DIYers can try experimenting with pattern or moulded features to add texture to the containers.’

Kit’s mirrored vase

What you’ll need:

  • A glass vase or jug
  • Spray bottle
  • Water
  • White vinegar
  • Chrome spray paint
  • Sheets of newspaper
  • Cloth or kitchen roll
  • Gloves (optional)

  • 1

    First, clean and dry your container. Then fill a spray bottle with one part water and one part white vinegar.

  • 2

    Shake to combine the mixture. Set the nozzle of the spray bottle to the mist setting.

  • 3

    Place the clean vase onto your work surface (cover it with newspaper first), and gently spray a layer of the water-vinegar solution onto the surface of the vase. You’re looking for tiny droplets of water bead, sitting on the surface – don’t let it run.

  • 4

    Immediately spray a layer of the chrome spray paint over the water/vinegar solution.

  • 5

    Allow the paint to dry for a minute…

  • 6

    …then spray another mist of water-vinegar solution onto the painted surface, and allow to dry for two minutes.

  • 7

    Once dried, gently blot (do not rub) any water beads with a cloth or kitchen paper to achieve your preferred antique/rustic look. Apply more coats if required, and allow the vase to dry for three hours, or until the paint is set and sealed. Now, just add flowers…

Kit’s top tips:

  • I used a plain, wide bottle-shaped vase, which is suitable for beginners. You can use any shape and, once you’re confident with the method, build up to adding pattern and texture using stencils.
  • Try silvering three or four different shapes and heights of vase, and place them next to one other for a modern mantelpiece display, or centrepiece for a dining table.
  • I would always advise that you work outdoors, or in an extremely well ventilated area, and don’t forget to protect your work surface with newspaper.


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